According to Dr. Kennedy, this was a primitive and futile response to
a prolonged war of attrition that the Japanese could not win. The United
States in turn was using advanced industrial weapons against balloons
- America was, as Dr. Kennedy put it, at the pinnacle of the world.
The floor was then opened up for questions and comments, of which there
were many. The first question asked to Dr. Kennedy was, "What if Hitler
did not declare war on the United States on December 11, 1941?" Dr.
Kennedy answered, saying that it would have made sense for Hitler to
wait because he had no treaty obligations to help Japan. He supposed
that Hitler probably assumed that the United States would become involved
with the Pacific theater to the point where it could not devote as many
resources to fight in Europe.
Next, University of Maryland history professor Jeffrey Herf commented
on Dr. Kennedy's hypothesis, criticizing his America-centric point of
view. Herf stated that most European historians would say the United
States could not have won World War II without Europe. He cited historian
Gerhard Weinberg who argued that the United Nations defeated Germany,
not just the United States. Dr. Kennedy responded saying that he should
have titled his talk, "How the United States Emerged Victorious" not
"How the United States Won" and agreed that Europe had paid the greatest
price in achieving Allied victory. He then said that he meant to show
that the United States fought a very different kind of war than everyone
else. Hearing this Dr. Herf urged Dr.