December 7, 2016


Pearl Harbor Hype (Thomas Fleming, 7/05/02, History News Network)

Stop for a moment and ponder the meaning of these two statements. They reveal some startling facts about Pearl Harbor that you will not find in the movie or in the hype that is gushing from the TV screen. The first reveals that FDR knew the Japanese were going to attack the United States somewhere. But he did not think they would inflict serious damage. The second makes it clear that Franklin D. Roosevelt could have averted or at least delayed a war with Japan.

Perhaps more disturbing, what the president told Admiral Hart was a lie. In November 1941, the top commanders of the U.S. Army and Navy had begged FDR to keep negotiating with the Japanese for at least another three months to give them time to complete a buildup of air and ground forces in the Philippines. He chose to ignore these pleas, which were couched in unmistakably serious language.

Until November 26, 1941, Roosevelt had been negotiating with two Japanese diplomats who had come to Washington to try to resolve a crisis with the United States which began in August 1941. At that time, with no warning, the United States embargoed all shipments of oil to Japan. The Japanese were baffled and infuriated by this decision. For three previous years, the United States had supplied fifty percent of Japan's oil, while her army conquered much of China. Why had Roosevelt chosen this moment to cut off the oil?

The answer, it is now apparent, was FDR's desperate desire to start a war with Japan that would get America into the war he wanted to fight -- with Nazi Germany. Roosevelt had tried hard to start a war with Germany. He had flaunted documents fabricated by British intelligence, supposedly proving Berlin was planning to invade South America. He ordered the Navy to attack German U-boats on sight, in effect fighting an undeclared war in the Atlantic.

A U-boat put a torpedo into the magazine of the USS Reuben James. One hundred and fifteen American sailors died in the freezing Atlantic. The public reaction? Robert Sherwood, FDR's speechwriter, summed it up: people were more interested in who was going to win the Army-Notre Dame football game.

Until the day before Pearl Harbor, polls showed eighty percent of the American people did not want to fight either Germany or Japan. They approved Roosevelt's policy of all aid short of war to the nations fighting the Axis powers. But they trusted FDR's 1940 promise that he would not send their sons to fight in a foreign war. That promise was another lie -- whereby the president had painted himself into an agonizing political corner.

Posted by at December 7, 2016 4:05 PM