President Roosevelt did not tell Congress or the American people the truth behind the Greer incident that led to US involvement in World War II. "I am perfectly willing to mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war," FDR told a friend.
David McCullough [voice-over]: By the middle of 1941, Nazi U-boats had sunk over 1,500 British ships, all but cutting England's lifeline to America. Without telling the American people, Roosevelt issued secret orders to the Navy to escort British convoys and, if necessary, sink Nazi submarines. The President was willing to risk war with Germany.
Newscaster: On the morning of September 4th, the United States destroyer Greer was attacked by a submarine, a German submarine.
Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt: I tell you the blunt fact that the German submarine fired first upon this American destroyer, Greer, without warning and with deliberate design to sink her.
Robert Dallek, Historian: What he hides from the American public is the fact that the Greer had been tracking the German submarine to help a British seaplane which was going to try and sink it with depth charges.
David McCullough [voice-over]: Roosevelt knew that the Greer had deliberately stalked the Nazi U-boat and that the British plane had fired first. "You know, I'm a juggler," he would later tell a friend, "and I never let my right hand know what my left hand does. I am perfectly willing to mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war." Roosevelt did not ask congress for a declaration of war, but he used the Greer incident to justify an undeclared war in the Atlantic where he was sure the real war would soon begin.
Harry Truman was responsible for finding America's place at the start of the Cold War. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The converging forces, circumstances, personalities and events that propelled a group of English men and women west across the Atlantic in 1620.
A nostalgic and humorous look at how old world Chicago lives side by side with the new.
President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger initiated a secret diplomatic breakthrough with Mao Tse-tung that shocked and changed the world.
The six-part story of a frontiersman farmer and a wealthy Confederate slave-owner's daughter.
Football coach Knute Rockne of Notre Dame was a pivotal figure in the sudden rise of sports to a position of power in American culture.
Cuba's Communist leader defied the odds, surviving his Soviet benefactors, the wrath of U.S. presidents, two diplomatic crises and assassination attempts.
American prisoners of war in North Vietnam tell of their experiences at the Hanoi Hilton and other notorious prisons.