Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Dpalme01, Nov 2, 2004.

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  1. Dpalme01

    Dpalme01 Member

    Did the US have any hints that pearl harbor was coming or was it complete surprise?
    Also, Could the US see Japans task force ( as in on radar) but thought it was US's?
    Is it true that the US actually planned an attack on pearl harbor 10 years earlier?
    Any other info would be appreciated.
     
  2. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Dpalme01@Nov 2 2004, 02:21 PM
    Did the US have any hints that pearl harbor was coming or was it complete surprise?

    The cracking of the purple code gave America access to top level Japanese Comms

    As for hints

    "Tokyo sent Circular 2353 to Washington on November 19:
    Regarding the broadcast of a special message in an emergency.
    In case of emergency (danger of cutting off our diplomatic relations), and the cutting off of international communications, the following warning will be added in the middle of the daily Japanese language short-wave news broadcast :
    1) In case of Japan-U.S. relations in danger: HIGASHI NO KAZE AME ("east wind rain")
    2) Japan-U.S.S.R. relations: KITA NO KAZE KUMORI ("north wind cloudy")
    3) Japan-British relations: NISHI NO KAZE HARE ("west wind clear") This signal will be given in the middle and at the end as a weather forecast and each sentence will be repeated twice. When this is heard please destroy all code papers, etc. This is as yet to be a completely secret arrangement.
    Forward as urgent intelligence."

    Kahn David., The Codebreakers, Weidenfeld, London, 1966 P32

    This is an example od the sort of stuff obtained by Purple.


    "Also, Could the US see Japans task force ( as in on radar) but thought it was US's?"

    The Janpanese Fleet was outside of Radar range. I think what you may be thinking of was the arrival of the flight of unarmed B17s.



    Is it true that the US actually planned an attack on pearl harbor 10 years earlier?
    Any other info would be appreciated.
    [post=29101]Quoted post[/post]

    Yes they did. Like most military staff colleges, courses did carryout planing for attacks on various targets in order to findout any weakness in their forces.

    Billy Mitchell actully wrote a fictionalised account which turned out to almost a perfect description of what actually happened.

    in 1926, the Military Staff College in India carried out a war game based upon an enemy attack on Singapore. The conclusions reached by the war game was that, Singapore could not be defended from attack. One of the participants was the later Gen Percival the commander of singapre garrison when it fell.
     
  3. Dpalme01

    Dpalme01 Member

    Thanks
    exuse my ignorance but, who was billy mitchel?
     
  4. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Dpalme01@Nov 5 2004, 07:13 AM
    Thanks
    exuse my ignorance but, who was billy mitchel?
    [post=29164]Quoted post[/post]

    Billy Mitchell was the first head of the US Air Service, leading it in World War I and after. He demonstrated the power of bombers by plastering and sinking a captured German battleship, the Ostfriesland, off Chesapeake Bay, and promoted the idea of strategic air power, the bomber getting through, and so on. However, his statements were considered insubordinate, so he was court-martialed, with Pershing heading the court-martial, and convicted.

    A number of folks pointed out Pearl Harbor's vulnerabilities, but its distance from live enemies and the limited development of carrier-based aviation negated those assertions. People often forget that the Pearl Harbor strike force was the largest carrier task force yet assembled, and the first multi-carrier task force in history. The Shokaku and Zuikaku were so new, they were on their shakedown cruises when they sailed for Hawaii.

    It often bothers me that the studies of Pearl Harbor are more about the American mistakes than the Japanese planning. I agree with Jim Dunnigan's assessment, that Pearl Harbor was a success for the Japanese because they planned it well and got a little luck in the execution.
     
  5. Dpalme01

    Dpalme01 Member

    Thanks alot
    DP
     
  6. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    The extent of prior knowledge of Japanese intentions by the US authorities can be a hotly disputed question.

    There are certainly some who believe that the US authorities had it all worked out and did not try to stop it. See, for instance, John Tolland: "Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath", 1982 (in print in a Penguin Classic edition). This book certainly contains much factual information, but a great many people disagree with Tolland's interpretation and conclusions, in whole or in part.

    My view is that the US authorities - and the British - thought that a Japanese attack somewhere was imminent and, of course, near simultaneous attacks on the Phillipines and Malaya did take place. I do not think anyone really foresaw though the possibility of the attack which took place on Pearl Harbor. That is my opinion anyway.
     
  7. Dog_Father

    Dog_Father Member

    Who do you all think was to blame for Peral Harbor? I think somebody
    should have thought about an air attack, from carriers. After what
    the Brits did to the Italian Navy at Taranto, measures should have
    been taken to guard against an air attack. The US should have had a well trained and staffed, 24 hr radar station, as well as other defences!
     
  8. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I think you can pin the responsibility squarely on human nature. Complacency, conceit, a lack of imagination, boredom, attitudes, policies, politics and a myriad of other basic human qualities make Pearl Harbour stand with 911, the 1940 Fall of France, Singapore, Hong Kong and a long list of other historical events where someone should have but didn't see it coming or refused to believe it could happen.
     
  9. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Senior Member

    There are certainly some who believe that the US authorities had it all worked out and did not try to stop it. See, for instance, John Tolland: "Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath", 1982 (in print in a Penguin Classic edition). This book certainly contains much factual information, but a great many people disagree with Tolland's interpretation and conclusions, in whole or in part.



    In other words, Roosevelt let it happen to get us into the war.

    This is pretty much regarded as revisionistic history nowadays.

    This would have been impossible for Roosevelt to have pulled off because too many people would have had to have been involved in the conspiracy.
     
  10. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    The biggest problem with that particular revisionist idea (PH being an inside job) is that the US would only be at war with Japan, and not with Germany and Italy. That would'nt help Britain in their struggle in Europe at all.
     
  11. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Billy Mitchell presented a 324-page report that predicted future war with Japan after his trip there in 1924, including the attack on Pearl Harbor. His report was mostly ignored.

    As was said previously regarding Europe, Pearl Harbor only allowed Roosevelt to declare war on Japan. Adolf cut his own throat by declaring war on the United States and played right into Roosevelts hand.

    Poor Adolf - The only time he ever declared war on any country and it had to be the US right after Pearl Harbor.
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Billy Mitchell presented a 324-page report that predicted future war with Japan after his trip there in 1924, including the attack on Pearl Harbor. His report was mostly ignored.

    As was said previously regarding Europe, Pearl Harbor only allowed Roosevelt to declare war on Japan. Adolf cut his own throat by declaring war on the United States and played right into Roosevelts hand.

    Poor Adolf - The only time he ever declared war on any country and it had to be the US right after Pearl Harbor.
    Yes, we were in a pretty bad mood already, so when Adolph started throwing rocks at us, it was like "oh yeah, well we'll kick yer a$$ too, just wait until we get back up and THEN we'll show you." Of course we had to let Britain cover us until we got back on our feet, sort of like the getting the standing 8 count in boxing, but after that, well, the rest was history they say....
     
  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Poor Adolf - The only time he ever declared war on any country and it had to be the US right after Pearl Harbor.

    Yeah, that was not one of his finer diplomatic coups.;)
     
  14. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Senior Member

    The biggest problem with that particular revisionist idea (PH being an inside job) is that the US would only be at war with Japan, and not with Germany and Italy. That would'nt help Britain in their struggle in Europe at all.

    I don't think so.

    Pearl Harbor changed us overnight from isolationists to nonisolationists. It was then a foregone conclusion that eventually we were going to go to war against German.

    Once the door was open and we had our foot in it, that was it!

    And almost immediately, hitler declared war on us which totally debunks your premise.
     
  15. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Senior Member

    Of course we had to let Britain cover us until we got back on our feet

    I don't think so. Britain did not even have the resources to take care of herself. That was the whole reason for "lend lease" which was initiated before Pearl Harbor.

    We had no cover initially!
     
  16. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Senior Member

    However, his statements were considered insubordinate, so he was court-martialed, with Pershing heading the court-martial, and convicted.



    What statements did he make that were construed as being insubordinate?

    What was he convicted of?

    Insubordination is the act of a subordinate deliberately disobeying a lawful order from someone in charge of them. Refusing to perform an action which is unethical or illegal is not insubordination; neither is refusing to perform an action which is not within the scope of authority of the person issuing the order.

    What order did he disobey?
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    However, his statements were considered insubordinate, so he was court-martialed, with Pershing heading the court-martial, and convicted.


    What statements did he make that were construed as being insubordinate?

    What was he convicted of?

    Insubordination is the act of a subordinate deliberately disobeying a lawful order from someone in charge of them. Refusing to perform an action which is unethical or illegal is not insubordination; neither is refusing to perform an action which is not within the scope of authority of the person issuing the order.

    What order did he disobey?

    That question was asked in 2004. Kiwiwriter no longer posts here.

    Defendant: Brigadier General William Mitchell
    Crime Charged: Insubordination and "conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the military service"
    Chief Defense Lawyers: Frank G. Plain, Frank Reid, and Colonel Herbert A. White
    Chief Prosecutors: Major Allen W. Gullion, Lieutenant Joseph L. McMullen, and Colonel Sherman Moreland
    Judges: Major General Charles P. Summerall, Chief of the U.S. Army General Staff; Major Generals William S. Graves, Robert L. Howze, Douglas MacArthur, Benjamin A. Poore, and Fred W. Sladen; Brigadier Generals Ewing E. Booth, Albert L. Bowley, George Irwin, Edward K. King, Frank R. McCoy, and Edwin B. Winans; and Colonel Blanton Winship
    Place: Washington, D.C.
    Dates of Court-Martial: October 28-December 17, 1925
    Verdict: Guilty
    Sentence: Suspension from rank, command, and duty with forfeiture of all pay and allowances for five years

    Billy Mitchell Court-Martial: 1925


    Gen John Pershing was not involved in the trial in an official capacity. But you will notice one name pertinent to the trial, Douglas MacArthur.
     
  18. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    Yeah, that was not one of his finer diplomatic coups.;)

    I thought Hitler was more of a sedan man
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Senior Member

    I thought Hitler was more of a sedan man

    Cute, but don't confuse a coup with a coupe.
     
  20. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Senior Member

    I don't think so.

    Pearl Harbor changed us overnight from isolationists to nonisolationists. It was then a foregone conclusion that eventually we were going to go to war against German.

    It wasn’t "overnight" really here Bob G.; it had started much earlier. The isolationist position had peaked in about 1937, but after the conspicuous failure of the "Munich Agreement", and silliness of appeasement appeared, it began to seriously wane. Then at least one nation they had held up as an example of the soundness of their position; a"neutral non-involvement" stance (Belgium) was over-run by an even more aggressive Germany. Then they pinned their hopes on the defensive stance of a strong (military) as in France, it too fell to Nazi aggression.

    So the ambivalence of the public mood in the late thirties clear into 1941, became more and more evident as the Nazis overran western Europe and Scandinavia; signed "non-aggression pacts" with Stalin’s Soviet, drove the BEF off the continent, and then attacked Britain by air. In one of the last pre-war polls during the last weeks preceding Pearl Harbor, Gallup’s interviews concluded (less than a week before the Japanese attack) that while about one-quarter thought war was avoidable and could be forestalled if not eliminated, slightly more than one-half of Americans expected that "the United States will go to war against Japan sometime in the near future."

    Earlier a similar percentage had expressed a "willingness to risk war with Nazi Germany in favor of Great Britain." This was shortly after that lying snake (apologies to snakes) Hitler had once again ignored a treaty and or pact and invaded the USSR in mid-41! In short order Hitler had made and broken "non-aggression pacts" with Poland and the USSR, promised to observe Belgian neutrality, and over-run it, invaded both neutral Denmark and Norway, and defeated France.

    In short, from a historical point of view using both hindsight and then existing public opinion, it appears probable that (even if the Japanese had not taken the initiative), the American public would soon have endorsed the U.S. entering the war anyway. Thus, in the period directly preceding Pearl Harbor, Americans were shifting gradually, but more and more rapidly away from their prior mood of introversion/isolation to the mood of extroversion/intervention.

    As an amusing aside, those polled in the land-locked mid-west and mountain states were the staunchest "isolationists". Likely feeling safe so far from the ocean shores. Those polled on the coast-lines had a more realistic and pragmatic approach, in that they favored building up our defensive forces (conscription and weapons purchase), but only for self-defense. The smaller group of total pacifist isolationists were against any war at any cost, while the greater share were for self-defense, and retaliation if attacked, but not declaring war unilaterally. Those polls are interesting to read, both the Gallup and Roper versions. Sometimes the "wording" of the questions leaves something to be desired, but the "mood" of the American public can still be detected to be shifting away from isolation and toward intervention.

    Gallup Poll #248, Question 3 (mid-Sept 1941), showed 55% of Americans believed that the country was already involved in the war. As shown in Question 5K and 5T of the same poll, a little over 1/2 of all Americans believed FDR was doing the right thing with his actions (that 55%), while about another 20% believed he hadn't gone far enough. A near complete reversal of the numbers from early 1941 when only about 17% favored going to war!

    Furthermore, in Question 6 of Poll #248, 60% of Americans approved of the decision to fire on German submarines. Finally, a great majority of Americans answered in Questions 11K and 11T that American democracy and German fascism could not co-exist. Now, while in that same poll the vast majority answered they did not want to declare or go to war unilateraly at the time, they approved of FDR's actions (you can also check out Gallup Poll #248, Question 13 to see that 2/3 of Americans support FDR's policies in general as well as his foreign policy specifically).

    In Gallup Poll #250, Question 3K (conducted October 7th, 1941), now 66% of Americans believed the US should continue to help the UK even if it risked war in Europe. In Question 3T of that poll, the same 66% ratio of Americans now stated that it was more important to defeat Germany than to stay out of the war.

    The Gallup Poll, #253-K Question #1, mid-Nov., pg. 311:

    Which of these two things do you think is the more important -- that this country keep out of war, or that Germany be defeated?

    Keep out of war........32%
    Defeat Germany.........68%

    Additionally, according to Gallup Poll #254, Question 3 (conducted in late November 1941), 73.58% of Americans now believed the United States should "take steps now to keep Japan from becoming more powerful, even if this means risking a war with Japan."

    I would guess the majority of Americans absolutely knew we would have to deal with the Axis powers militarily before the end of November 1941. And only 32% were in favor of staying out of war (at any cost).

    BTW, our intelligence services were reading the Japanese Purple diplomatic code, and while they didn't ever mention the attack on Pearl Harbor before it happened, the next day they requested that Hitler join them in by declaring war on the US. FDR knew Hitler was considering it before he made his speech in Congress asking for a war declaration, he didn't have to include the Nazis as he knew they were considering doing it first. And Hitler did so.
     

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