Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable

The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable

George Victor

In this book, George Victor addresses the several questions regarding Pearl Harbor: did U.S. Intelligence know beforehand? Did Roosevelt know? If so, why weren’t commanders in Hawaii notified? It is a well-researched and documented volume, complete with hundreds of end-notes and references.

Twelve days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt surprised his advisors by saying that war with Japan was about to begin. Secretary of War Stimson noted in his diary:

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.

Mr. Victor admits he is an admirer of Roosevelt. While he is clear that Roosevelt manipulated the country into war, he does not condemn him for it:

History has recorded many, many rulers’ manipulations of their people into war without their subordinates blowing the whistle. Presidents James Polk, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson did it before [Roosevelt], and others have done it after him.

This is difficult for many to accept, especially the idea that honorable and upright military leaders would allow such a thing to occur. General George Marshall, in testimony to various tribunals after Pearl Harbor was clear, however:

He testified to a congressional committee that withholding vital information from commanders was routine practice.

Roosevelt had warnings of the coming attack. It was fortunate for Roosevelt that his political enemies did not know

…that [intelligence officers] had been reading the most confidential Japanese ciphers even before the attack, and that the Japanese war plans were no secret to American intelligence.

Despite the documented warnings received by administration intelligence (eventually turned over to various committees), the administration took the stand that no warning had come in. Further it seems clear that no warnings were sent to Pearl Harbor on the eve of the attack.

Victor goes into some background of the U.S. involvement in the war well before December 7. He outlines the aid to the allies in Europe. He goes into detail regarding attempts to get Germany to shoot first. When this failed, the U.S. changed its focus to Japan. These actions have been well-documented elsewhere – termination of trade treaties, embargoes of material and the like. The big blow was the oil embargo.

His military advisors were strongly against the embargo, rightly anticipating that this would lead to war with Japan. Yet Roosevelt went ahead with the embargo in the summer of 1941 – abruptly reversing his prior position. At the same time, he took other measures within days of the embargo decision: freezing Japan’s U.S. assets, breaking off diplomatic talks with Japan, and arming the Philippines.

Something happened at this time to get Roosevelt to change so abruptly and go against his military advisors. Victor cites historian Waldo Heinrichs with a “unique idea.”

Roosevelt changed his attitude about pressuring Japan in order to save the Soviet Union. Germany had just invaded Russia, and Japan was contemplating when and how to support its German ally. Roosevelt was aware of these Japanese deliberations and preparations – Japan would make war plans for both the Soviet Union and the United States, but would only fight one of them. Victor believes it is quite credible that Roosevelt abruptly changed his approach and became more provocative with Japan for the purpose of reducing the risk that Japan attacks the Soviets.

Even in the last days of November and early December, Japan is still seen as making overtures for peace. These were rejected by Washington, in fact Japan notes Washington’s provocative tone (from an intercepted message from Tokyo to Berlin):

The conversations…between Tokyo and Washington now stand broken…lately England and the United States have taken a provocative attitude…war may suddenly break out.

In late November, Roosevelt had knowledge that the Japanese fleet was sailing east toward Hawaii, as supported by William Casey of U.S. intelligence. “The British had sent word that a Japanese fleet was steaming east toward Hawaii.” That this information was sent to Washington is confirmed by various British intelligence officers as well.

The U.S. commanders in Hawaii, Kimmel and Short, were not forwarded relevant and important intelligence about the situation. This is confirmed by the intelligence officers both in Washington and in Hawaii. For example,

[I – [Bratton]] never received a definite prohibition on [sending warnings] but every time that I tried to send a message of this sort, and the Navy found out about it, the Chief of Naval operations would call up the Chief of Staff on the telephone and object most vociferously and emphatically. He in turn would call [Miles] and object strenuously, and by the time it got to me…it was disapproval expressed in no uncertain terms…And I in each case would be instructed not to do it again.

Finally, Victor outlines the messages from Tokyo to its Ambassadors in Washington known as #901 and #902. These were sent on December 6. Message #901 is known as the pilot message, outlining the upcoming message #902 (in fourteen parts) and steps to be taken by the diplomats when received. Importantly, message #902 was to be sent in English to ensure there were no delays by Washington to translate the message.

Based on this, a member of the army’s Signal Intelligence Service later wrote, “Shortly after midday on Saturday, December 6, 1941… [we] knew that war was as certain as death” and “it was known in our agency that Japan would surely attack us in the early afternoon the following day…Not an iota of doubt.” Early afternoon in Washington was early morning in Hawaii.

Administration officials claimed message #901 was not delivered to key officers until the next day. Bratton, however, testified that the messages were delivered that evening to most people on their list.

To Victor, there is no doubt that the administration took steps to provoke Japan and knew when and where Japan would attack. As noted, he makes no judgment on this beyond noting that this is what political leaders do.

Events are poorly explained by making assumptions that crucial acts by competent, conscientious leaders were capricious, careless, or negligent. And U.S. leaders who figured in the Pearl Harbor disaster were highly competent and conscientious.

After Roosevelt stationed the fleet at Pearl Harbor, Commander McCollum wrote a memo for him, recommending its use as a lure. Roosevelt implemented the recommendation. Admiral Richardson concluded the administration use of the fleet endangered it gravely, and he argued the point over and over with his superiors. When he took measures to protect his fleet, Roosevelt relieved him. Stark then kept Kimmel uninformed of Japan’s plans to attack it at Pearl Harbor. And Marshall kept Short uninformed.

To most Americans, manipulating one’s nation into war is something done by foreign tyrants – not our own leaders. Since 1942 U.S. history has been distorted by the idea that presidents simply do not do what Roosevelt’s enemies said he did.

These few paragraphs found in the afterword of the book best sum up George Victor’s views regarding the Pearl Harbor myth.


  1. Witnesses can lie; circumstances cannot.
    The best evidence and proof that Washington knew the attack was coming stems from the Navy in Washington ordering Kimmel to "send the four aircraft carriers to Wake to deliver planes during the week prior to 12/7. Wake did not have the capacity for the planes just one carrier had; and by this maneuver the War Dept. carefully saved those ships that were crucial to the U.S., the carriers; while letting the antiquated and not crucial battleships and others take the Jap hit.
    The result: Roosevelt got his war and by inflaming the American public; the Japs got a hollow victory at Pearl, but missed the critical military targets. Three of the carriers, just 6 months later, won the Midway battle.
    Roosevelt wanted war; so did the jewish community which had sway over his naive "thinking". C'st la Vie.

  2. The next question to ask is "why did the United States fight the Germans?" They declared war on the US after the American declaration of war against Japan, but why did the US have to respond at all to Germany? Perhaps there would have never been conflict with Germany.

    1. As was written above "Roosevelt changed his attitude about pressuring Japan in order to save the Soviet Union. Germany had just invaded Russia, and Japan was contemplating when and how to support its German ally."

      The Roosevelt administration was infiltrated by communists, and the majority of them were Jews, as was the case in Stalin's Russia.

      As the Japanese were allied with Nazi Germany, they were obligated to attack any nation that had declared war on Germany. Had Japan attacked Russia from the East, and Germany from the west, this two pronged attack on Russia might have brought her to her knees, ending the Jewish/Communist pogrom.

      The way to prevent that was to goad Japan into attacking the US, giving the US the cover they needed to declare war on Japan, and through the alliance, Germany as well, ending the possibility of Japan attacking Russia.

      Masterful chess game, and as we look at whet the outcome has brought this nation, and the world, one may have serious doubts about the rightness of that plan

    2. Do you mind expounding on this: "Had Japan attacked Russia from the East, and Germany from the west, this two pronged attack on Russia might have brought her to her knees, ending the Jewish/Communist pogrom."

      Please tell me what is implied here, specifically this: "...ending the Jewish/Communist pogrom." Are you saying the US didn't want to end the genocide? or is there more that I don't understand (obviously there is...)

      I am re-learning history and am trying to connect the dots...

  3. Robert Norton CableApril 16, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Read "The People As Enemy" by John Spritzler for a possible answer to your question.

  4. Circa 1980 during a dinner conversation an economist acquaintence mentioned that his father had been a FBI agent who during the early days of WWII spent months scrubbing the records on the west coast at military and federal civilian locations that would show that the US had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack plans.

  5. As to why we fought the Germans, see the above article. "To save the Soviet Union." Imagine if the Russians did not have their Siberian reinforcements in that winter of '41, because the Japanese had opened a Siberian front from the East. With America neutral and not fighting the Germans nor providing Lend Lease to the other Allied combatants, Russia might have lost the war.

  6. What would have been so bad about Russia losing?

    1. Or at least leaving Russia and Germany to deal with each other....

    2. No-one seems to remember a couple of simple undeniable facts:
      1. The UK declared war, and attacked Germany.
      2. The UK initiated the bombing of civilians in cities.

  7. Think long term. Think big picture. The globalists desire for a one world government requires boogie men [in this case the communist threat] to keep the public fearful and willing to accept encroachments to their liberties.

    1. I agree - I hypothesize that this was one purpose of US support of the Soviets in WWII - or at least one of the unexpected benefits.

      And when the wall fell, men in caves in Afghanistan became the replacement "boogie men."

    2. Terrorists became the boogie men, but, as Brezinski pointed out, terror is a strategy, not an enemy.

  8. "Mr. Victor admits he is an admirer of Roosevelt. While he is clear that Roosevelt manipulated the country into war, he does not condemn him for it:"

    That's because he's an idiot.

  9. The definition of treason is the most disregarded section of the constitution.

    1. I play a little game where I read history and try to spot the traitor. There's always at least one significant traitor. My favorite is Robert E. Lee.

    2. Robert E. Less was a traitor to what? Because he fought on the right side? Please explain how Lincoln and the north were holding the moral high ground.

    3. Lee was a traitor to the South evidenced by his disastrous invasion of the North which decimated his army and his surrender to Grant without the approval of Jefferson Davis.

    4. Why do people persist in the gibbering idiocy of the "civil war was fought to abolish slavery" nonsense?

      As Lincoln (a real rabid racist if ever there was one ) said in his First Inaugural Address

      "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

      He directly threatened
      "there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts"

      His "Bloodshed and Violence" was a reaction to the Southern States not delivering the swingeing new taxes and tariffs that he imposed.

      It really is time for the nonsense to stop.

      There's a reason why the First Inaugural address isn't taught in government schools.

      How else would we have a ready supply of morons like you?

    5. Interestingly, slavery was never an "institution" that was enforceable by law in any of the states. It was kept in place by sheer brute force.

  10. War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

  11. This line of thinking perhaps gives Roosevelt too much credit. At the end of the day he was really just an upper class version of Obama. A dilettante of limited intelligence.

  12. Roosevelt was a fan of Communism and Uncle Joe. He wanted to abolish The Bill of Rights, provide everyone with a job, housing and a free education. If it walks like a duck........Roosevelt called in the nations gold and gave it to the Federal Reserve.....A privately owned business formed in 1913. They continue to print money out of nothing. (Owned by Zionist/atheist Jews; Rothschilds, Kuhns,Loebs,Warburgs and the Rockefeller to name a few.). They profit by war.

  13. Very interesting article and comments, especially the ones made by "Anonymous" ! Seeing Roosevelt as "an upper class version of Obama. A dilettante of limited intelligence" is so accurate!.
    No doubt the world would have been a better place if the Soviet Union had been destroyed. But, in contrast to the American emperialism, isn't it ironic that peace today, rests mostly on a Russian man called Vladimir Putin ?

    Looking at what has become of America (I'm not American)

    1. Putin is just as much a puppet as Obama.

  14. Glory ! Glory ! Hallelujah ! Whatever next ? A real witches' brew ! Trouble, trouble ! Boil and bubble ! Thanks for thinking out loud !