22. Kennedy believed the war in Europe was not about saving democracy
As the Battle of Britain raged, Ambassador Kennedy reiterated his views that the war being fought against the Germans and Italians was not about saving democracy. He believed it was about saving the British Empire and the existing world hegemony. In late 1940 Kennedy granted an interview to two reporters, Ralph Coglan (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and Louis Lyons (Boston Globe). The interview covered a wide variety of subjects, including antisemitism. In it, Kennedy expressed a sense of urgency over the war and Britain’s ability to withstand the German onslaught, claiming it was essential for the United States to buy time.
“As long as she (Britain) is in there, we have time to prepare”, he was quoted as having said, stating that the crux of the issue was the ensuing six months. He added, “It isn’t that she’s fighting for democracy. That’s the bunk. She’s fighting for self-preservation, just as we will if it comes to us…” Kennedy also claimed that the American people were being misled regarding the causes and fighting of the war. “I know more about the European situation than anybody else, and it’s up to me to see that the country gets it”. When he then made the claim that democracy was dead in Britain, Roosevelt had had enough.