Pearl Harbor – Day of Infamy, Day of Deceit

 

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The Attack on Pearl Harbor 75 Years Later

Editorial at the New York Post

It’s the 75th anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy,” the early morning peacetime attack on Pearl Harbor that in just 30 minutes claimed 2,043 American lives — a one-day death toll that would not be exceeded until 9/11 — and unleashed a war in the Pacific that would kill millions more.

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This is likely the last milestone commemoration of Pearl Harbor: The few remaining survivors are all well into their 90s. All too soon, Americans’ last first-hand links to The Greatest Generation will be gone.

But Americans should never forget what happened on that bloody day: the perfidy, the tragedy and, most of all, the bravery and unbelievable heroism.

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America suffered an undeniable military disaster: Japan had hoped to wipe out our naval capability before the war had even begun. That it didn’t is only thanks to the fact that no US aircraft carriers, the prime target, were at Pearl.

Still, the Japanese sank 18 ships — most notably the U.S.S. Arizona, which lost nearly 80 percent of its crew of 1,511. Even today, oil — dubbed “black tears” — still leaks from the ship’s remains, which have been turned into a somber but stirring memorial.

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The treachery of the attack, and the huge losses suffered, stunned Americans — but it also unified and galvanized them into a grim determination to persevere at all costs until total victory was won.

The nation saw much the same immediately after 9/11 — but, unlike Pearl Harbor, that unity was short-lived.

So, as we pay tribute to the heroes of Dec. 7, 1941, let us all remember also how America pulled itself up from that dark day and secured the ultimate revenge: victory.

Pearl Harbor Anniversary

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Day of Deceit

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Robert Stinnett is a former American sailor, later a photographer and author. He earned ten battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. He is the author of Day of Deceit, regarding U.S. government – specifically FDR’s advance knowledge – of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War II.

Stinnett participated in World War II from 1942 to 1946 as a naval photographer in the Pacific theater, serving in the same aerial photo group as George H. W. Bush. After the war he worked as a journalist and photographer for the Oakland, CA Tribune. He resigned from the Tribune in 1986 to research and write.

In 1982 Stinnett read At Dawn We Slept, The Untold Story Of Pearl Harbor by World War II veteran and historian Professor Gordon Prange. Stinnett went to Pearl Harbor to investigate and write a news story. His research continued for 17 years and culminated in Day of Deceit, which challenges the orthodox historiography on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stinnett claimed to have found information showing that the attacking fleet was detected through radio and intelligence intercepts, but that the information was deliberately withheld from Admiral Kimmel, the commander of the base.

First released in December 1999, it received a “nuanced”review in the New York Times, which (not surprisingly) defended FDR. Stinnett makes a compelling case that FDR knew full well that the attack was coming on 7 December and that Roosevelt coldly threw Admiral Kimmell and General Short under the bus, ruining their careers. While there is no doubt that the isolationist U.S. needed to enter the war, after reading Day of Deceit, one is forced to wonder if there wasn’t a way for Roosevelt to get the country engaged in the war without sacrificing 2,043 lives and the careers of the officers in charge at Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt later displayed that same chilling, cynical use of deception at Yalta, deceiving Churchill and setting the stage for the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe at the close of the war. Roosevelt apologists continue to reject the thesis of Stinnett’s book.

7 Comments

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  1. The entry of the US into the war was inevitable. Britain had been eagerly awaiting knowing that they could very well loose the war against Germany.

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill received news of Pearl Harbor at his Sunday night dinner table while entertaining American diplomats at his country home. Knowing that the US would now enter the war and join Britain in its war effort, Churchill would later write, “that night I slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” Soon , the United States would join the effort to defeat Hitler and Germany’s war machine.

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    • I absolutely agree that the U.S. entry into the war was inevitable – and that entry was needed. Even before Stinnett’s book was published, I felt that FDR had enough good will with the public that he could have made the case for entering the war without his cynical and cold sacrifice of 2,000 + Americans at Pearl Harbor. After reading “Day of Deceit,” I was more convinced than ever of that..

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  2. Also, I highly doubt information was deliberately withheld from Admiral Kimmel. That is just another conspiracy theory. Again, entry of the US into the war was inevitable.

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    • I believe that if you read Stinnet’s book – which has been updated as he was able to get more documentation via FOIA requests – that you will change your opinion. Kimmel was deliberately blindsided by FDR.

      (UPDATE)
      First of all, thank you for your many visits to my blog over the last couple of days!

      I hope that my replies to your comments this morning didn’t come across as being argumentative (in the pejorative sense of the term). That wasn’t my intent.
      I’ve read a lot of WWII history and before Stinnett published his book, I sensed that FDR knew more than he let on about the coming Pearl Harbor attack.

      Stinnett’s book convinced me of what I had suspected. U.S. Navy code breakers, led by Joseph Rochefort, had broken the Japanese code. Roosevelt knew almost every detail of the coming attack, and that information was deliberately withheld from Admiral Kimmel. I encourage you to read the book. I think Stinnett makes a strong case that FDR was lethally deceptive.

      I am not arguing that the U.S. should not have gotten into the war. In my opinion, despite the strong isolationism in the country, FDR could have taken his case to the people instead of waffling as he did, and despite a considerable outcry from the hard core isolationists, would have been able to persuade the public to support our entry into the war.

      A very interesting sidebar to all of this is that in the 1920s, a British journalist who covered military matters, Hector Bywater, predicted the Pacific war and how it would be fought, including the attack that would draw the U.S. into the war at Pearl Harbor. Bywater’s book on the subject was read by the Japanese high command and they largely followed Bywater’s map for how the war would be fought. Admiral Nimitz had also read it – and used Bywater’s proposed island-hopping strategy to roll the Japanese back. It is very curious that even though Bywater’s book was required reading in the various branches of the Japanese military, they failed to anticipate that the U.S. would roll them back as Bywater prescribed.

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  3. Gordon F. Kertzel,lll 07/12/2016 — 06:01

    Paul, another interesting piece-The only thing I take exception with is the NY post editorial Statement about the largest loss of American lives in one day! It is true if the statement is added “by a foreign government”, but that figure pales in comparison to the lives lost in MANY battles of the civil war. Of course, the author, unless he/she is of our generation may never have been taught that piece of history by the liberal education system! Gordon

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  4. I agree with Gordon above. I am not convinced FDR would sacrifice lives. The inevitable would have still been history had Kimmel been warned, IMHO. However it is always easier to rewrite history. No I haven’t read the book, and probably won’t. No head in the sand here, just embedded memories I cannot change. And see no reason to.
    I have friends who swear ABE Lincoln did the same. and that the Uncivil war was NEVER ABOUT SLAVERY. I agree with that in part but slavery shared with state’s rights.

    Miscommunication and lack of readiness was also to blame. WE Americans (seems all humans) like to place some blame to feel better from our point of view.

    Thank goodness we all still have a right to our opinions. 😉

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