Which is the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory.
Conspiracy theory nuts usually have at least one of two problems: gross ignorance or dishonesty. Many combine these. I intend to review some of the ignorance of this conspiracy "theory."
The most common claim is that Franklin Roosevelt wished to enter the Second World War and that he therefore "provoked" the Japanese attack. One would think that "the Second World War" was some kind of floating party with multiple venues. While it is true that FDR wished to go to war with Germany, there was no reason to assume that war with Japan would lead that idiot Hitler to declare war on the United States, against all of Germany's best interests. No nation which was not bent on world conquest would willingly got to war on three different continents, two of them separated from the third theater of war by thousands of miles. Although many devotés
of the Pearl Harbor conspiracy BS don't seem to realize is, this claim is pathetically implausible. How does one allege that the United States "provoked" war with Japan? Why would FDR assume that war with Japan would lead to war with Germany, which is what he wanted?
In 1937, Japan began the Second Sin9-Japanese War (i personally consider this to have been the beginning of the Second World War, but the Euro-centric view that that war began in Poland in 1939 prevails). The United Stares, England and France restricted contracts for war materials, but they did so for contracts with Japan and China. Believe it or not, nations have the right to control their foreign trade. Nowhere in international law is there a right to insist on trade under the threat of war. Nevertheless, many conspiracy theorists insist, and the defense briefs of attorneys representing Japanese officer accused of war crimes after the war make this argument. As though any American president could stay in office if he truckled to the demands of another nation who threatened the United States with war if he didn't comply.
In late 1937, during what was then known as the rape of Nanking, the Japanese bombed and sank USS Panay
which was the river in the city, despite the large American flag painted on the deck. The Japanese apologized and paid an indemnity. Wars have been started, however, on far flimsier grounds than that. If Roosevelt had been that eager to go to war, he could not have had a better pretext. The fact of the matter was, though, that the United States was not prepared to go to war, and it wasn't in very much better shape four years later.
The United States did not institute a full embargo of petroleum, steel and scrap metal shipments to Japan until August, 1941. That didn't really matter, though, because Japan needed far more than the United States alone could provide. So it was that in 1938, Imperial General Staff officers (almost all of them army officers) began considering operations to secure the enormous petroleum and metal ore assets of southeast Asia. Some time in 1939, the concept of the "Southern Operation" came together. There was no single plan called the Southern Operation--operational plans were written for each target in French Indo-China, the British colonies on the Malay peninsula, Singapore and the west coast of Borneo, and the huge Netherlands East Indies, with more combined resources than England and France combined, several times over.
Operation M was the plan for the invasion of the Philippine Islands. Esentially, this was the invasion and occupation of Luzon, the island on which Manila is located, and where the overwhelming majority of American military assets were located. As the planners were army officers, they gave scant thought to the consequences of such an attack, providing only for neutralizing or destroying the U. S. Navy's assets stationed at Luzon. However, any intelligent naval officer in Japan (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) knew that the Pacific Fleet could steam from their advance base in San Diego in under three weeks. Operation M envisioned taking Luzon in five weeks (in the event, it took five months
The idea of an air attack on an enemy fleet had been kicking around Japanese naval circles since the 1920s. The combined fleet exercises in late 1939 and early 1940 focused on air attacks on an enemy fleet, with a particular emphasis on attacking ships in harbort. Yamamoto, as commander of the combined fleet, knew well that the planners for the southern operations were ignoring a potentially fatal flaw, in that the Pacific Fleet could interfere in the operations in less than a month, even if their operations went entirely according to plan (which did not happen). We don't have any documentary evidence other than a letter which Yamamoto wrote saying that war in southeast Asia would inevitably entail war with the United States. The hard-line militarists took this as evidence that Yamamoto was in favor of war with the United States, which shows that they really didn't know Yamamoto.
But Yamamoto was a career naval officer who knew his duty. He understood that something more than attacking the handful of ships in the Philippines would have to be done. Even with the Pacific Fleet based on San Diego, it would be necessary to assemble the fleet in Hawaii before proceeding--he knew that it would be necessary to attack Hawaii. In the spring of 1941, the Pacific Fleet's advance base was moved from San Diego to Hawaii, which, although it made the situation more crucial, just made the task easier.
Because Yamamoto was already planning for an attack on Hawaii. On the night of November 11-12, 1940, air forces of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto. It was a poorly planned and executed operation, carried out with obsolete, open-cockpit biplanes, and yet they managed to damage three Italian battleships, sinking one of them (one of the others limped to the quays and the other was saved when the quick-thinking officer of the watch ran her aground). A few days later, Yamamoto ordered his chief of staff to begin planning for an air attack on the United States Navy. Upon the return to Japan of Lt. Commander Genda in early 1941, Yamamoto appointed him plans and operations officer, and told him to begin planning an air attack on Hawaii. This took place before
the Pacific Fleet moved from San Diego to Hawaii.
Certainly the Japanese thought they had good reason to go to war with the United States, but it is absurd to claim that the Japanese were provoked. I'd like to know how anyone claims you can provoke someone into war if you don't actually attack them.
As i've already pointed out, FDR wanted to go to war with Germany, and there was no good reason to assume that war with Japan would lead to war with Germany. Furthermore, this idiot conspiracy theory is based on the most hilarious claim that FDR knew about the Japanese attack but didn't warn anyone. Any high-ranking military man in the world in 1941, with two brain cells to rub together knew that the United States and Japan would soon go to war. There were just two questions: where and when. The best answer Roosevelt and his advisers could come up with in 1941 were "soon" and "somewhere in the Pacific." So the administration DID
warn commanders in the Pacific:
Nov. 24, 1941
FROM: Chief of Naval Operations
ACTION: CinCAF, CinCPAC, Com 11, Com 12, Com 13, Com 15
INFO: Spenavo London Cinclant
Chances of favorable outcome of negotiations with Japan very doubtful. This situation coupled with statements of Japanese Government and movements their naval and military forces indicate in our opinion that a surprise aggressive movement in any direction including attack on Philippines or Guam is a possibility. Chief of Staff has seen this dispatch concurs and requests action adees [addressees] to inform senior Army officers their areas. Utmost secrecy necessary in order not to complicate an already tense situation or precipitate Japanese action. Guam will be informed separately.
Copy to WPD, War Dept. and Op-12 but no other distribution.
This was two weeks before the attack
War Warning Message from Chief of Naval Operations
Nov. 27, 1941
FROM: Chief of Naval Operations
ACTION: CinCAF, CinCPAC
INFO: Cinclant, Spenavo
This dispatch is to be considered a war warning. Negotiations with Japan looking toward stabilization of conditions in the Pacific have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days. The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of naval task forces indicates an amphibious expedition against either the Philippines, Thai or Kra Peninsula or possibly Borneo. Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL 46. Inform district and Army authorities. A similar warning is being sent by War Department.
Spenavo inform British. Continental districts Guam, Samoa directed take appropriate measures against sabotage.
Copy to WPD, War Dept.
This was eleven days before the attack.
Army Alert Sent by Chief of Naval Operations:
Nov. 28, 1941
FROM: Chief of Naval Operations
ACTION: Com Pnncf, Com Psncf
INFO: Cincpac Com Pncf
Refer to my 272338. Army has sent following to commander western defense command.
Negotiations with Japan appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot repeat not be avoided the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act. This policy should not repeat not be construed as restricting you to a course of action that might jeopardize your defense. Prior to hostile Japanese action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary but these measure should be carried out so as not repeat not to alarm civil population or disclose intent. Report measures taken. A separate message in being sent to G-2, Ninth Corps Area re subversive activities in the United States. Should hostilities occur you will carry out the tasks assigned in Rainbow five so far as they pertain to Japan. Limit dissemination of this highly secret information to minimum essential officers. Unquote. WPL 52 is not applicable to Pacific area and will not be placed in effect in that area except as now in force in southeast Pacific sub area and Panama naval coastal frontier. Undertake no offensive action until Japan has committed an overt act. Be prepared to carry out tasks assigned in WPL-46, so far as they apply to Japan in case hostilities occur.
This was sent out ten days before the attack.
It's rather absurd to claim that FDR knew, but kept it a secret when messages of this kind were sent out with his prior knowledge and consent. The message to army commanders is significant because at that time, there was no air force. The air defenses of American territory, possessions and bases was in the hands of the Army Air Force.
That Kimmel (Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet), Short (commaner of the Army's Hawaii Department) and MacArthur (American commander in the Philippines) sat around for two weeks and did nothing can hardly be laid at Roosevelt's door. That's not entirely fair, though. General Walter Short did do something. He was obsessed with fifth columnists, with saboteurs. So he had all the fighter aircraft pushed to middle of the airfields, away from the perimeter fences, and had the antiaircraft artillery ammunition locked up so that saboteurs could not use it to blow up his planes. You can imagine what it was like on the USAAF airfields on the morning of the attack.
Personally, i think there were two initial motives for the Pearl Harbor hysteria and the accusations against FDR. The first is obvious: politics. Every right-thinking, red-blooded American conservative knew that Roosevelt was a dangerous socialist who would sell the country down the road to forward his own ambitions.
The other is racist. The American stereotype of the Japanese was bandy-legged, buck-toothed, myopic little runts with pop-bottle glasses-- little better than monkeys' The First Air Fleet had pulled off one of the greatest operations in naval history, and had gotten away almost scott free. Obviously, those nasty little yellow monkeys could not have done this on their own, so FDR must have colluded with the literally thousands of military officers involved to make it possible. (The mere idea of such a vast conspiracy would be hilarious, were it not for how seriously people take this.)
Yamamoto, Genda and Fuchida planned, trained for and carried out the greatest military operation in Japanese history. Kimmel and MacArthur did nothing, and Short descended into obsessive madness. I guess the conspiracy theorists think FDR should have flown to Hawaii and held everyone's hands.