The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War.

by James Bradley

Rarely do I try to write an editorial but this book compelled me to do so.
To most people world history is a story of the good guys and bad buys and, of course, Americans are always the good guys. Not true. This is a book I think everyone should read. It could be useful medicine even if it’s a bitter pill to swallow.


I have just finished reading a book called The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War. I used to teach American History and I have read a lot of history books, but this book changed my perception about Teddy Roosevelt (TR) and American history at the turn of the century. I knew about gun boat diplomacy and the fact that we expanded our interest in the Pacific, but I had no knowledge of the atrocities we committed, and the lies and secret agreements Roosevelt used to expand his concept that the “Aryan” race is the only race capable of developing and maintaining civilization.

His belief was that it was our “manifest destiny” to continue our westward expansion across the Pacific and force the “yellow niggers” to accept our rule until they were developed to the point that they are capable of maintaining a Christian civilization.

Roosevelt told them that it would take at least 100 years or more to attain this level. Therefore, it was accept our rule or die. And, of course, over time, millions died in a futile effort to resist. This sounds like something right out of Hitler’s play book. Hitler also sold the idea that the Aryan race was superior to all other races and committed atrocities on those he considered inferior or subhuman races. I did not realize the extent to which this concept of Aryan superiority was being taught in universities and colleges across our country in the 19th century

When I read of the atrocities we committed in our effort to control the Pacific and Asian countries, it was hard to believe. However, the author was very diligent in documenting his claims with speeches given by Roosevelt and others in his administration, letters from soldiers, congressional records, newspaper articles etc.

One of the worst massacres was in the Philippines. After the guerrilla forces had made an attack on an American base and succeeded in killing a number of American officers, the commanding officer told the soldiers to burn the villages and kill all males over10 years of age and rape the women so they could get some Aryan blood into their race. He said, “the more you kill, the happier you will make me.” Two commanders were brought up for court marital but no real action was taken. Because it was just so hard to believe, I actually searched the internet and was able to find the official report of this incident. (Again, right out of Hitler’s play book.)

When I heard Romney in his debate with Obama denounce Obama for what he called “apologizing to the world” and proclaimed that “America doesn’t dictate to other countries. We help other countries.” I almost choked. The truth is that America has dictated to other countries.

I grew up at a time when I could be proud of America. We helped to defeat Hitler, created the Marshall Plan, created the GI bill, assisted in creating the formation of the UN. But as we expanded our power and influence around the world and replaced the crumbling British Empire, we became the new King of the Hill (a game played by children back in the days when children played games.) Each empire acts as if they believe they are God’s gift to mankind.

I was so proud of President Obama when he had the courage to speak with integrity about our past relationships with other countries of the world. I think he really helped to improve America’s image in the world…. because he told the truth.

I know one person that said he would like to take a bomb up to Mt. Rushmore and blast Teddy Roosevelt off the face of the mountain. However, one must also admit that TR did much to support conservation, to develop our national parks, to control the power of the robber barons of the late 19th century, to establish food and drug acts, and to support labor. It is also true that TR changed his mind about the race issue after he left office. I believe it was in 1910 when he gave a speech at Oxford University that he said publicly, “I was wrong. I no longer hold those beliefs.”

We are all the product of the sum of our experiences. In his younger days, TR was caught up in the popular belief that the Aryan race was the superior race and it was America’s “Manifest Destiny” to bring the civilization of the Aryan race to all people

About the author: James Bradley’s father was one of the men in that famous picture of American soldiers planting the American flag on Iwo Jima. His most famous book, “Flag of our Fathers,” was made into an award winning movie. He always wanted to know more about what created the conditions in the Pacific that led to World War II. He actually took the same cruise himself and was able to find interesting information in other countries.

Read the book and form your own opinion

2 Responses to The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War.

  1. Sonja Bengtson says:

    Ron- Thank you for documenting a very interesting analysis of TR and his perspectives while in office (and following). While it is not especially surprising, it is rather alarming. Fortunately, President Obama has a different perspective in his leadership role both in our country and in the world. I do recall Mr. Romney’s comments during the debate and had the same response that you did. Your commentary was an important one.

  2. Awesome info indeed. We’ve been awaiting for this tips.

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