Jump to content


Spartacus

Pearl Harbor Revisited


9 replies to this topic

#1 Douglas Caddy

Douglas Caddy

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,095 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 11 January 2011 - 06:08 PM

Monday, Apr. 01, 1946
Time Magazine

National Affairs: PEARL HARBOR: HENRY STIMSON'S VIEW

In its fifth month of prospecting, the Pearl Harbor Committee at last unearthed a rich find—a broad, deep vein of comment and discussion of the 1941 tragedy by ex-War Secretary Henry L. Stimson, studded with pure history in the form of notes from his diary. Significant excerpts:

Nov. 5. Matters are crystallizing . . . Japan is sending to us someone who, I think, will bring us a proposal impossible of acceptance. . . .

Nov. 6. I left for the White House and had about an hour's talk with the President—on the whole a good talk. . . . We talked about the Far Eastern situation and the approaching conference with the messenger who is coming from Japan. The President outlined what he thought he might say. He was trying to think of something which would give us further time. He suggested he might propose a truce in which there would be no movement or armament for six months. . . .

I told him I frankly saw two great objections: first, that it tied up our hands just at a time when it was vitally important that we should go on completing our reenforcement of the Philippines; and, second, that the Chinese would feel that any such arrangement was a desertion of them.

Nov. 7. Cabinet meeting this afternoon. The President opened with telling the story of Lincoln and his Cabinet—how he polled the Cabinet and found them all polling NO and then he said, "The Ayes have it."

With that he started to have what he said was the first general poll of his Cabinet and it was on the question of the Far East—whether the people would back us up in case we struck at Japan down there and what the tactics should be.

He went around the table—first Hull and then myself, and then around through the whole number and it was unanimous in feeling the country would support us. He said that this time the vote IS unanimous, he feeling the same way. . . .

Nov. 25. General Marshall and I went to the White House, where we were until nearly half past one. At the meeting were Hull, Knox, Marshall, Stark, and myself.

The President brought up the event that we were likely to be attacked, perhaps (as soon as) next Monday, for the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning, and the question was what we should do. The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. . . .

When I got back to the Department I found news from G-2 that a Japanese expedition had started. Five divisions had come down from Shantung and Shansi to Shanghai and there they had embarked on ships—thirty, forty or fifty ships—and have been sighted south of Formosa. I at once called up Hull and told him about it and sent copies to him and to the President. . . .

Nov. 27. The main question has been over the message that we shall send to MacArthur. . . . On talking with the President this morning over the telephone, I suggested and he approved the idea that we should send the final alert; namely, that he should be on the qui vive for any attack. . . .

Nov. 28. G-2 had sent me a summary of the information in regard to the movements of the Japanese in the Far East and it amounted to such a formidable statement of dangerous possibilities that I decided to take it to the President before he got up.

He branched into an analysis of the situation himself as he sat there on his bed, saying there were three alternatives and only three that he could see before us—first, to do nothing; second, to make something in the nature of an ultimatum again, stating a point beyond which we would fight; third, to fight at once.

I told him . . . . I did not think anyone would do nothing in this situation, and he agreed with me. I said of the other two my choice was the latter one. . . .

[At a War Cabinet meeting at noon] it was now the opinion of everyone that if this [Japanese] expedition was allowed to get around the southern point of Indo-China and to go off and land in the Gulf of Siam . . . it would be a terrific blow at all of the three Powers, Britain at Singapore, The Netherlands, and ourselves in the Philippines.

It was the consensus of everybody that this must not be allowed. Then we discussed how to prevent it. It was agreed that if the Japanese got into the Isthmus of Kra, the British would fight. It was also agreed that if the British fought, we would have to fight. . . . If this expedition was allowed to round the southern point of Indo-China, this whole chain of disastrous events would be set on foot. . . .

It became a consensus of views that rather than strike at the Force as it went by without any warning on the one hand, which we didn't think we could do, or sitting still and allowing it to go on, on the other, which we didn't think we could do—that the only thing for us to do was to address it a warning that if it reached a certain place, or a certain line, or a certain point, we should have to fight.*

The President's mind evidently was running towards a special telegram from himself to the Emperor . . . I said there ought to be a message by the President to the people of the United States . . . reporting what we would have to do if the danger happened. I pointed out that he had better send his letter to the Emperor separate as one thing and a secret thing, and then make his speech to Congress as a separate and more understandable thing to the people of the United States. . . .

The President asked Hull and Knox and myself to try to draft such papers. . . .

Dec. 2. The President is still deliberating the possibility of a message to the Emperor, although all the rest of us are rather against it, but in addition to that he is quite settled, I think, that he will make a message to the Congress and will perhaps back that up with a speech to the country. He said that he was going to take the matters right up when he left us.

Dec. 7. Just about 2 o'clock, while I was sitting at lunch, the President called me up on the telephone and in a rather excited voice asked me, "Have you heard the news? . . . They have attacked Hawaii. They are now bombing Hawaii. . . ."

My first feeling was of relief that the indecision was over and that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people.

Re-reading his diary, Henry Stimson summarized:

With the aid of "hindsight," I [have] reached the opinion that the War Plans Division of the General Staff would have placed itself and the safety of the country in a sounder position if it had transmitted to General Short more information than it did. . . .

[Yet] General Short had been told the two essential facts: 1) a war with Japan is threatening, 2) hostile action by Japan is possible at any moment. Given these two facts, both of which were stated without equivocation in the message of Nov. 27, the outpost commander should be on the alert to make his fight. . . .

To cluster his airplanes in such groups and positions that in an emergency they could not take the air for several hours, and to keep his antiaircraft ammunition so stored that it could not be promptly and immediately available, and to use his best reconnaissance system, the radar, only for a very small fraction of the day and night, in my opinion betrayed a misconception of his real duty which was almost beyond belief. . . .

I have tried to review these various responsibilities with fairness to both the outpost commander and the Staff officers at home. I am particularly led to do so because of the difficulty of reproducing now the background and atmosphere under which the entire Army was then working.

Our General Staff officers were working under a terrific pressure in the face of global war which they felt was probably imminent. Yet they were surrounded, outside their offices and almost throughout the country, by a spirit of isolationism and disbelief in danger which now seems incredible. . . .

* The War Cabinet agreed that the U.S. must fight if Japan 1) attacked U.S., British or Dutch territory, or 2) moved her forces in Indo-China west of 100° longitude or south of 10° latitude.

Find this article at:
http://www.time.com/...,792673,00.html

#2 Steve Knight

Steve Knight

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Interests:Reading;
    Astronomy;
    Computers;
    PnP RPGs;
    History.

Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:23 AM

I always thought Short and Kimmel got shafted after the attack, because the information they were given wasn't complete, or stressed as "Immediate" instead of "Important".

It's true, another commander might have done things differently, but you can't really fault them for the actions they did take - based on the information they HAD. They just got really unlucky.

When the smoke cleared, and an assessment made, the fleet didn't really take that much damage - all but two battleships, and a number of smaller ships, repaired and back in battle within a matter of months.
Homer Wallin wrote a fairly good book about his experiences salvaging and repairing the fleet.

#3 Guest_Tom Scully_*

Guest_Tom Scully_*
  • Guests

Posted 13 January 2011 - 12:28 AM

I always thought Short and Kimmel got shafted after the attack, because the information they were given wasn't complete, or stressed as "Immediate" instead of "Important".

It's true, another commander might have done things differently, but you can't really fault them for the actions they did take - based on the information they HAD. They just got really unlucky.

When the smoke cleared, and an assessment made, the fleet didn't really take that much damage - all but two battleships, and a number of smaller ships, repaired and back in battle within a matter of months.
Homer Wallin wrote a fairly good book about his experiences salvaging and repairing the fleet.

Steve, exactly right, the loss of life and the aircraft on the ground were more troubling losses than the loss of the obsolete USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma. The recovery, rehabilitation and rapid return to service of almost all of the other damaged ships of any size resulting from the attack on Pearl Harbor rendered the actual strategic losses as minimal. The resolve the reaction to the attack impressed on U.S. Pacific fighting forces probably the edge needed to win at Midway.

As in the 9/11 controversy, politics will prevent us from finding out whether hawks's agenda merely benefited from the two greatest attacks on American soil in the modern era, or whether there was a Reichstag fire component, followed by a cover up, in either of the attacks.
http://aboutfacts.net/War55.html
Posted Image

Former CNO, Adm. William H. Standley was one of the loudest critics of the Pearl Harbor inquiry and defender of General Short. I suspect his criticism was buoyed by a large dose of political motivation. He was a very prominent supporter of Joseph McCarthy, late in 1954 when most could recognize that McCarthy had gone too far.:

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/506411162.html?dids=506411162:506411162&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Apr+13%2C+1954&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune&desc=Pearl+Harbor+Whitewash+of+Roosevelt+Told&pqatl=google
Pearl Harbor Whitewash of Roosevelt Told
Blocked Congress, Admiral Says
Chicago Daily Tribune
Author: WALTER TROHAN
Date: Apr 13, 1954

Adm. William H. Standley, former chief of navel operations, today identified the first official investigation into the...

Adm. Standley left the Navy in 1937, and he was US Ambassador in Moscow, 1941 to 1943.

#4 Steve Knight

Steve Knight

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Interests:Reading;
    Astronomy;
    Computers;
    PnP RPGs;
    History.

Posted 14 January 2011 - 10:55 PM

lol, yeah, almost a full year before the attack, the Peruvian ambassador warned the Americans, they were plotting against them. Ignored for lack of proof. Same could be said about numerous warnings about the Japanese throughout 1941 the Americans "ignored".

How about the Courts-Martial of Billy Mitchell in 1925 where he warned the same thing and was laughed out of court? :P

#5 William Kelly

William Kelly

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,160 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2011 - 04:06 AM

lol, yeah, almost a full year before the attack, the Peruvian ambassador warned the Americans, they were plotting against them. Ignored for lack of proof. Same could be said about numerous warnings about the Japanese throughout 1941 the Americans "ignored".

How about the Courts-Martial of Billy Mitchell in 1925 where he warned the same thing and was laughed out of court? :P



You know, it was no big secret that the Japs were going to attack Pearl Harbor. Beside the above evidence of prior knowledge many months in advance,
the British MI6 had their spy in the with Germans and reported the Jap's request to the Germans for their knowledge of Pearl Harbor. On the 50th anniversary
I tracked down a number of survivors, one of whom was then a young Navy lad who said he wrote a letter to his girlfriend and later wife, a week before the attack
and told her that the word on the street - the talk of the town was the Japs were going to attack, and he showed me the letter that she had kept.

It wasn't a matter of if, only when.

The codebreakers also had to know.

So how could the commanders on the ground not know they were in danger, and not maintain an alert status, unless it was intentional?

As Billy Mitchell argued, years ahead of his time, the era of the big battleship was over, and the next war would be fought in the air - and indeed, the last
sea battle - between battle frigates at sea - was Coral Sea (where my uncle was killed and burried at sea) - and Mitchell was given his redemption by
being personally selected to lead the air bombardment mission to Tokyo in early 1942 - adapting the B-24 for carrier take off, and that was truely a surprise
attack.

The suspicion that the allied commanders were aware of the timing of the attack rests on the fact that all of the US carriers were at sea, having left Pearl Harbor
a few days before the attack. The destruction of the American carrier fleet would have cripled the navy in the Pacific, but the battleships could be sacraficed,
as they were essentially obsolete.

As a Deep Political Event that has been gone over the coals for decades, its hard to believe that we can learn anything new about it.

BK

#6 Steve Knight

Steve Knight

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Interests:Reading;
    Astronomy;
    Computers;
    PnP RPGs;
    History.

Posted 15 January 2011 - 10:14 AM

Wellllllll, one Carrier, Saratoga, was at San Diego, undergoing a long-needed refit, and had been there some time. One carrier, Lexington, was sent to transfer planes to Midway, in anticipation of attacks there, and Enterprise returned to Pearl DURING the attack, and had to steam south at high speed to get out of range of the Japanese planes, while launching its own planes to help defend.

"Common knowledge" is debatable - Leading wisdom at the time led that the Philippines would be the first major target the Japanese would attack. But yes, many warnings were given from various sources throughout 1941 that the Japanese were up to something, and maybe it involved an attack on American interests, however, as Japanese security on the Pearl Harbor plan was so tight - no radio messages at all : Couriers only, the American SigInt sections had nothing to work with. "They can't attack our fleet, they're not big enough!" was a common refrain. It was really quite comedic : On the one hand, almost at the same time, you had Americans reasoning WHY Japan could not and would not attack them, and on the other hand, the Japanese planning ways around those limitations and blocks.

Unfortunately, I believe, as do many others, the Japanese got the idea of attacking the fleet in harbour due to what we British did to the Italian fleet at Taranto in 1940. 12 WW1 Fairey Swordfish bi-planes attacked, and caused massive damage to the fleet. (Albeit at a high cost in planes and men).

The codebreakers - As I mentioned, the actual attack planning was done under severe communications blackout - everything was done in person, or by the use of military couriers. The Americans only had the diplomatic side to work from, and while they could decode and read the Japanese mail in almost real-time, they had only a few hours after translating the "14-part message" until the attack. (It should be noted that they actually worked faster than the lone Japanese Ambassador in Washington in decoding this message from Japan). Yet, still, the Americans believed the Philippines would bear the brunt of the first attack.

Mitchell - I think you're somewhat confusing things here, to whit : Mitchell resigned his commission not long after his trial, and died in 1936 - long before the events he "prophesised" took place. They named the B-25 Bomber after him, the only US Military plane to bear the name of a person, and indeed, Jimmy Doolittle's raid over Tokyo, in spring 1942, used these planes (although it has to be said, very ineffectively, almost wastefully). Tactically, ineffective. Strategically, overwhelming.

Again, the nature and contents of the American warnings to their bases and commanders were repetitive, and uninformative - "We expect that at some point in the near future, the Japanese will attack some of our forces, somewhere." Expecting the Philippines, and nothing to say otherwise, Short and Kimmel prepared for a saboteur attack from the very high local American-Japanese population.

#7 Len Colby

Len Colby

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 8,313 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brazil

Posted 15 January 2011 - 04:28 PM

One part of the Pearl Harbor CT I never got or saw explained is why FDR and his advisors would want to keep the commanders in the dark. If they had been better prepared and repelled or partially repelled the attack the US would still have had a Casus Belli.

#8 Steve Knight

Steve Knight

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Interests:Reading;
    Astronomy;
    Computers;
    PnP RPGs;
    History.

Posted 15 January 2011 - 05:42 PM

Another part the CTers overlook in stating that proof of conspiracy is the carriers were out of harbour at the attack :

Right up until and immediately after the attack, conventional military wisdom around the WORLD put battleships as capital ships, and carriers as escorts/fast scouts for the battleship fleet. Why protect the escort carriers over the capital ships????

Billy Mitchell argued against this tenet of military faith arduously and to no effect throughout his career and later life. It was only the attack on Pearl that saw the world hurriedly changing their disposition and regarding Battleships obsolete and carriers as Capital ships.

Like most conspiracy theories, once you start looking into their claims, and examine each piece of information in its historical context, the "theories" fall apart rapidly.

Arguably, the cryptographers could have spread their intercepts around a little more (at one point, even the President was removed from the access list of intercepts!!) and the chain-of-command could have included Pearl Harbor in their "WAR WARNING" messages, instead of concentrating their messages on the far east bases - Singapore, Manilla, Philippines, etc. And the two branches, Army and Navy, could have cooperated on breaking, decoding and translating the intercepts, instead of being in direct competition with each other. And the messages too Pearl Harbor could have been more clear, less contradictory, and not told them to avoid rousing the natives in their preparations. The list of "errors and miscalculations" in this saga, that contributed to the Americans unpreparedness is pretty much endless....

#9 William Kelly

William Kelly

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,160 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2011 - 07:31 PM

Wellllllll, one Carrier, Saratoga, was at San Diego, undergoing a long-needed refit, and had been there some time. One carrier, Lexington, was sent to transfer planes to Midway, in anticipation of attacks there, and Enterprise returned to Pearl DURING the attack, and had to steam south at high speed to get out of range of the Japanese planes, while launching its own planes to help defend.

"Common knowledge" is debatable - Leading wisdom at the time led that the Philippines would be the first major target the Japanese would attack. But yes, many warnings were given from various sources throughout 1941 that the Japanese were up to something, and maybe it involved an attack on American interests, however, as Japanese security on the Pearl Harbor plan was so tight - no radio messages at all : Couriers only, the American SigInt sections had nothing to work with. "They can't attack our fleet, they're not big enough!" was a common refrain. It was really quite comedic : On the one hand, almost at the same time, you had Americans reasoning WHY Japan could not and would not attack them, and on the other hand, the Japanese planning ways around those limitations and blocks.

Unfortunately, I believe, as do many others, the Japanese got the idea of attacking the fleet in harbour due to what we British did to the Italian fleet at Taranto in 1940. 12 WW1 Fairey Swordfish bi-planes attacked, and caused massive damage to the fleet. (Albeit at a high cost in planes and men).

The codebreakers - As I mentioned, the actual attack planning was done under severe communications blackout - everything was done in person, or by the use of military couriers. The Americans only had the diplomatic side to work from, and while they could decode and read the Japanese mail in almost real-time, they had only a few hours after translating the "14-part message" until the attack. (It should be noted that they actually worked faster than the lone Japanese Ambassador in Washington in decoding this message from Japan). Yet, still, the Americans believed the Philippines would bear the brunt of the first attack.

Mitchell - I think you're somewhat confusing things here, to whit : Mitchell resigned his commission not long after his trial, and died in 1936 - long before the events he "prophesised" took place. They named the B-25 Bomber after him, the only US Military plane to bear the name of a person, and indeed, Jimmy Doolittle's raid over Tokyo, in spring 1942, used these planes (although it has to be said, very ineffectively, almost wastefully). Tactically, ineffective. Strategically, overwhelming.

Again, the nature and contents of the American warnings to their bases and commanders were repetitive, and uninformative - "We expect that at some point in the near future, the Japanese will attack some of our forces, somewhere." Expecting the Philippines, and nothing to say otherwise, Short and Kimmel prepared for a saboteur attack from the very high local American-Japanese population.


Thanks for the correction Steve,

It was Jimmy Doolittle who led the raid on Tokyo, not Billy Mitchell.

BK

#10 Steve Knight

Steve Knight

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Interests:Reading;
    Astronomy;
    Computers;
    PnP RPGs;
    History.

Posted 15 January 2011 - 09:24 PM

Sorry, couple of corrections : Saratoga was in Puget Sound, Washington State, for the refit, not San Diego.
Enterprise and Lexington were both tasked with transferring planes - one to Wake Island, the other to Midway. Enterprise was scheduled to return to Pearl on the 6th, but bad weather delayed her. She did return during the attack though.

Edit : Correcting the correction. :\

Edited by Steve Knight, 15 January 2011 - 10:54 PM.




Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users