Gore Vidal always insisted that President Franklin Roosevelt more or less allowed the attack on Pearl Harbor to occur. As Vidal wrote in his September 2001 essay "The End of Liberty":
I have written lately about Pearl Harbor. Now I get the same question over and over: Isn't this exactly like Sunday morning 7 December 1941?
No, it's not, I say. As far as we now know, we had no warning of last Tuesday's attack. Of course, our government has many, many secrets which our enemies always seem to know about in advance but our people are not told of until years later, if at all. President Roosevelt provoked the Japanese to attack us at Pearl Harbor. I describe the various steps he took in a book, The Golden Age. We now know what was on his mind: coming to England's aid against Japan's ally, Hitler, a virtuous plot that ended triumphantly for the human race.
In May of 2001, in the pages of The New York Review of Books, Vidal lays out his case more in depth in an exchange with Ian Buruma about the matter of Pearl Harbor. He summarizes:
Japan looked for a compromise. We looked for war. The Japanese ambassadors to the US, Kurusu and Nomura, were treated to a series of American ultimatums that concluded, November 26, with the following order: “The government of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from China and Indo-China” as well as renounce the tripartite Axis agreement. It was then, as Lincoln once said on a nobler occasion, the war came.