Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), who is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary, said that the United States did not formally declare war on Germany in World War II — at least, that’s how it went in his history.
While speaking last week to a local GOP organization in Phoenix, Hayworth was asked by an attendee about America’s failure to formally declare war in our modern conflicts. Hayworth defended the modern-day authorizations for the use of military force. “But I would also point out, that if we want to be sticklers, the war that Dwight Eisenhower led in Europe against the Third Reich was never declared by the United States Congress,” said Hayworth. “Recall, the Congress passed a war resolution against Japan. Germany declared war on us two days later. We never formally declared war on Hitler’s Germany, and yet we fought the war.”
The questioner then responded that he thought the United States did declare on Germany, and he would check it. Hayworth responded: “I think we should check it. Perhaps we made the rationalization — since there was the Axis alliance — that the attack of Japan was tantamount to the attack of the Third Reich. But as I recall in my history, Germany declared war on the United States, not vice-versa.”In fact, the United states did declare war on Germany. The timeline goes as follows: Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The United States declared war against Japan the next day, December 8, 1941. Then on December 11, 1941, Germany declared war against the United States — to which the United States immediately reciprocated by declaring war against Germany that same day.
The video of Hayworth was live-streamed by the local GOP organization. It was then captured and posted online by an anti-Hayworth tracker. We were unable to immediately reach Hayworth’s campaign for comment.
Late Update: Hayworth communications director Mark Sanders gives us this comment:
“In a give and take session with members of an audience, Congressman Hayworth was asked about the current conflicts the U.S. is engaged in. He said that the United States did not declare war on Germany during World War II, and agreed with the gentleman asking the question that additional research might be needed. Hayworth instructed his researcher to look into it and we found that on Dec. 11, 1941, Germany declared war on the United States and President Roosevelt wrote ‘I therefore request the Congress to RECOGNIZE a state of war between the United States and Germany and between the United States and Italy.'”
Congress agreed in resolving “That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared.”