(1) Roosevelt had a plan to provoke the war.
Stimson was keeping a diary at this time and the defenders of Roosevelt's innocence have long been frustrated over the following entry from his diary, dealing with the conference of the 25th:
The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult pro-position.
After discussing the matter, Roosevelt and his closest advisers agreed that:
In spite of the risk involved, however, in letting the Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full support of the American people it was desirable to make sure that the Japanese were the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt in anyone's mind as to who were the aggressors.link
The Administration continued needlessly to provoke the Japanese government throughout the rest of the year, and on November 26, 1941, delivered a diplomatic ultimatum that no government could possibly accept.link
(2) Roosevelt had a plan to engage the warーーeven without Perl harbor attack.
in April 1941 the U.S., British, and Dutch agreed to take joint military action against Japan if the Japanese sent armed forces beyond the line 100 East and 10 North or 6 North and the Davao-Waigeo line, or threatened British or Dutch possessions in the southwest Pacific or independent countries in that region. The agreements were known as ABCD. Thereafter, Admiral Stark said that war with Japan was not a matter of if, but rather when and where. Roosevelt gave his approval to the attendant war plans in May and June. On December 3, 1941, the Dutch invoked the ABCD agreement, after Japanese forces passed the line 100 East and 10 North, and were thought to be headed toward Dutch territory as well as the Kra Peninsula and Thailand. The U.S. military attache in Melbourne, Australia, Colonel Van S. Merle-Smith, was contacted by the Australians, British, and Dutch and informed that the Dutch were expecting the U.S. Navy to offer assistance. Merle-Smith relayed this information to his superiors by coded message. It should have reached Washington in the early evening of December 4.link
On 7 October 1940, Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence, wrote the eight-action memo.
This memo outlined eight different steps the United States could do that he predicted would lead to an attack by Japan on the United States. The day after this memo was giving to Franklin D. Roosevelt, he began to implement these steps. By the time that Japan finally attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, all eight steps had occurred (Willy 1). The eight steps consisted of two main subject areas; the first being a sign of United States military preparedness and threat of attack, the second being a forceful control on Japans trade and economy. The main subject area of the eight-action memo was the sign of United States military preparedness and threat of attack. McCollum called for the United States to make arrangements with both Britain (Action A) and Holland (Action B), for the use of military facilities and acquisition of supplies in both Singapore and Indonesia.
He also suggested for the deployment of a division of long-range heavy cruisers (Action D) and two divisions of submarines (Action E) to the Orient. The last key factor McCollum called for was to keep the United States Fleet in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands (Action F). Roosevelt personally took charge of Action’s D and E; these actions were called “pop up” cruises. Roosevelt had this to say about the cruises, “’I just want them to keep popping up here and there and keep the Japs guessing (Stinnett 9).’link
Japan had some control over China due to a military operation, which took over part of the country. Thanks to the control, Japan took and used many raw goods from China that were not in abundance in their own homeland. The government of Chiang Kai-shek was completely against Japan, and with economic support from the United States, they were able to deny certain possessions from Japan.link
The employment of a boycott against a country engaged in war amounts to a direct participation in the conflict, which may, in fact, prove to be as decisive of the result as if the boycotters were themselves belligerents. It is defiant of the theory of neutrality and of the fundamental obligations that the law of nations still imposes upon non-belligerent Powers.
The economic measures taken by America against Japan as also the factum of ABCD encirclement scheme will thus have important bearings on the question of determining the character of any subsequent action by Japan against any of these countries. Of course, whether or not, any such encirclement scheme, military or economic, did exist in reality is a question of fact to be determined on the evidence adduced in the case.
The prosecution characterized the economic blockade against Japan as aiming only at the diminution of military supplies. According to the defense "the blockade affected all types of civilian goods and trade, even food". The defense says: "This was more than the old fashioned encirclement of a nation by ships of overwhelming superiority and refusing to allow commerce to enter or leave. It was the act of all powerful and greatly superior economic states against a confessedly dependent island nation whose existence and economics were predicated upon world commercial relations." I shall revert to this matter while considering the phase of the case relating to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I believe I have said enough to indicate that in deciding whether or not any particular action of Japan was aggressive we shall have to take into account the antecedent behavior of the other nation concerned including its activity in adverse propaganda and the so-called economic sanction and the likRadhabinod Pal
From the elementary principles of international law it necessarily follows that if a government bans the shipment of arms and munitions of war to one of the parties to an armed conflict and permits it to the other, it intervenes in a conflict in a military sense and makes itself a party to a war, whether declared or undeclared.
The fact that America was helping China in all possible ways during Sino-Japanese hostilities would thus be a pertinent consideration in determining the character of Japan's subsequent action against the USA. The prosecution admits that the United States rendered aid economically and in the form of war materials to China to a degree unprecedented between non-belligerent powers and that some of her nationals fought with the Chinese against the aggression of Japan.Radhabinod Pal
(3) Roosevelt had people provoke the war.
In the October 1962 issue of the United States Naval Institute Proceedings, Rear Admiral Kemp Tolley gave his account of having been the commander of one of the "little ships" hastily ordered out of Manila to monitor the Japanese Navy in early December of 1941.
In the event, neither the Lanikai, nor the other ships ordered out, the Isabel and the Molly Moore, were able to cross the paths of the Japanese. Only after the war did Tolley fully appreciate the role intended for the Lanikai -- that of "live bait."link
Only two of the "small vessels" had been made ready to sail out into the path of the Japanese convoys and invite attack before the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor. To get this baiting stratagem under way promptly, Roosevelt had Stark suggest to Hart that he might use the converted yacht Isabel, which had been made over into the dispatch boat of the Asiatic fleet and the Japanese had been acquainted with its identity for some time. Hart realized that on this assignment the Isabel was to be bait for a Japanese attack, which displeased him since the vessel was very useful to the fleetlink
(4) Roosevelt knew that Japanese were coming to attack, but did nothing to prevent it.
Flynn was under the impression that the British had first broken the Japanese code and supplied Washington with copies of messages between Tokyo and foreign representatives. He underscored the significance of the fact that Washington was aware that Japan had given its diplomats a November 25th deadline to reach an understanding with the U.S.link
eleven days before Pearl Harbor Roosevelt received a "positive war warning" from Churchill that the Japanese would attack the United States at the end of the first week of Decemberlink
the Dutch had passed on information to Washington about the forthcoming attack and that the Office of Naval Intelligence was also aware that a Japanese carrier task force was steaming toward Hawaii. link
(5) Roosevelt had motivation to engage the war.
Roosevelt's most pressing problem: how to overcome the American public's opposition to involvement in the war that had been going on in Europe for the previous sixteen monthslink
Roosevelt was convinced that the U.S. must fight on Britain's side and that the primary objective remained the defeat of Germany. On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan entered into the Tripartite Pact, which provided that each would declare war on any third party that went to war against one of the three (this did not affect Germany and Japan's relations with the U.S.S.R.). From this date, then, war with Japan meant war with Germany and Italy, and this came to play an increasingly important role in Roosevelt's maneuvers.link
On 5 December 1941 at a Cabinet meeting, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said, “Well, you know Mr. President, we know where the Japanese fleet is?” “Yes, I know, …Well, you tell them what it is Frank,” said Roosevelt (Toland 294). Knox became extremely excited with the ok from Roosevelt, and he went to tell the group of where the Japanese were and where they were headed. Just as Knox was about to speak Roosevelt interrupted saying, “ We haven’t got anything like perfect information as to their apparent destination (Toland 294).” link
On 6 December 1941 at a White House dinner Roosevelt was given the first thirteen parts of a fifteen part decoded Japanese diplomatic declaration of war and said, “This means War (Toland 318).”link
He was chiefly concerned with the planning and operation of his New Deal domestic policy down to 1937, even to 1939, but he did not forget armament and possible war, even diverting NRA funds to finance naval expansion, chiefly directed against Japan
Roosevelt's attempt to purge a no longer docile Congress in the election of 1938 proved an ignominious failure, and the New Deal appeared to be in a permanent slump. It obviously had not solved the depression. Nor had the increasing expenditures for armament succeeded in providing full prosperity.
When war broke out in Europe in early September, 1939, this gave Roosevelt an ominous impulse and continuous inspiration. The war had hardly begun when, on September 11th, Roosevelt wrote Churchill, then only First Lord of the Admiralty, suggesting that they work together through a secret system of communication: "What I want you and the Prime Minister to know is that I shall at all times welcome it, if you will keep me in touch personally with anything you want me to know about.link
So far as the economic background of Pearl Harbor is concerned, the responsibility was almost solely that of Roosevelt, whether we consider the effort to save and prolong his political career by creating a military economy to replace the New Deal or his use of economic and financial methods to produce the economic strangulation of Japan and force her into warlink
(Neutrality Acts of 1937
Two Neutrality Acts were passed in 1937 (in January and May) in response to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War - this was not covered under the early legislation, as it applied only to conflicts between nations rather than within them. Sponsored by the isolationist Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, it tightened the restrictions on US businesses and private individuals assisting belligerents, even prohibiting travel by U.S. citizens on ships of belligerents. When Japan invaded China in July 1937, starting the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), President Roosevelt chose not to invoke the Neutrality Acts by declining to identify the fighting as a state of war. In so doing, he ensured that China's efforts to defend itself would not be hindered by the legislation.Neutrality Acts of 1937/wiki
Wohlstetter was not interested in assigning blame for the disaster. Rather, it was her thesis that "The United States was not caught napping... We just expected wrong." Pearl Harbor was "a failure of strategic analysis" and "a failure to anticipate effectively." Yes, in retrospect, the record indicated that Washington might well have warned Kimmel and Short. But what we had here was a "national failure to anticipate" that the Japanese would actually attack Hawaii, instead of some other targetlink
Supposing FDR had the plan, it is not clear that he could have executed the plan as described, and it is not clear that he could have select the right sources to judge the situation out of enoumous amount of imformation he received.
Besides, granted this theory is correct, it does not follow Japanese attack at Peral Harbor is justified.
However, this revisionist views at least shows that Pearl Harbor is not as simple as average people tend to think.
(TPR’s Simple History of the Attack on Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941)
Sonagi from United States
Posted December 9, 2006 at 6:26 am | Permalink
Obviously, the last source, NPR, is the most credible and balanced.Marmot
I was wondering why Japanese stupidly attacked Peal harbor, They were stupid. Here is a part of answer.
...Yamamoto Isoroku, ...expressed hope thata shattering opening blow against the Pacific Fleet would render both the U.S. navy and the American people "s o dispirited they will not be able to recover." Coonel Tsuji masanobu, who planned the brilliant assault on Singapore, recalled similarly that "our candid ideas a the time were that the Americans, being merchants, would not continue for long with an unprofitable war, whereas we ourselves if we fught ounly the Anglo-Saxon nations[and not the U.S.S.R. as well] could cary on a protracted war." page 36 War without mercy