Myths of Pearl Harbor Debunked

While some conspiracy theories possess real merit…. the persistent thesis that high-ranking government officials had prior knowledge of the Japanese intention to attack Pearl Harbor warrant little consideration.  Here are some of the worst offenders:

  • The causes of the attack have never been fully investigated… To the contrary, there have been ten separate government inquiries into the events; the earliest in 1941 and the last coming in 1995.  All the findings indicate poor strategic planning, lack of proper intelligence channels, inconsistent code-breaking, and a failure of the Army and Navy to coordinate strategic troop disbursements.  Sadly, no conspiracies were discovered.

Japanese movements in 1941

  • Many people heard Japanese radio traffic discussing the attack…  As American as apple pie, this yarn never seems to get old.  Trouble is, only Americans will swear to it.  Japanese military records indicate strict radio silence was a general order during the journey to Hawaiian waters.  The speculation predictably returns to the discovery that Japanese forces were moving.  American intelligence located strategic Japanese movements throughout 1941.

An attack of rare precision

  • American code-breakers cracked the Japanese codes and knew the attack was coming… What a confusing mess of hearsay, half-truths, and misinformation this theory holds.  Some codes were broken, including the diplomatic code and some minor military codes.  No decoded messages were linked to an attack on Hawaii.  The true controversy can be found in American intelligence channels.

Mr. Roosevelt and his ardent Lieutenant

Winston Churchill knew about the attack, but wanted it to happen…. Pure poppycock.  Churchill wanted America to enter the war sooner rather than later.  He was frustrated with Roosevelt’s hedging, but the Lend-Lease Act  provided more than enough incentive for patience.  Roosevelt did not change his belief that Germany posed the greater threat after Pearl Harbor.  Revisionists drive most of this debate and sadly, Nazi-sympathizer and Holocaust denier David Irving  is the most prominent.  Irving and his cohorts are so desperate to redeem Hitler’s image, they have forged  documentary evidence.

December 7, 1941 lives in infamy… Historical study provides the necessary remembrance as well as an opportunity to learn the lessons of our past.  Conspiracy theories are part of the discourse, but must be held to the same scholarly standards as other research.

Never Forget




Filed under Ephemera, News

12 responses to “Myths of Pearl Harbor Debunked

  1. Conspiracy theories exist for just about every major historical event. Some people just want to believe that some evil force always exists to hope that something bad happens. Why would Americans let an attack like this happen? Logic should dictate that most of it just doesn’t make any sense.

  2. “Why would Americans let an attack like this happen?” There are many reasons, first is that 90% of Americans did not want to go to war and would have voted FDR if they knew his intensions. Pearl Harbor was a perfect motivator. We saw the same with GWB and Iraq and WMDs. Looking back now, what a bunch of BS they fed us.

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  4. I beg to differ. Whereas I have found no conspiracy plots, I have recorded a number of eye-witness quotes by high ranking officials who heard Roosevelt, Marshall and Hull (at different times) mention the war before it happened. FDR was still not out of the Depression as he hoped, Lend-lease he had so far overextended, he could have been brought up on charges I mean the list is endless as to their knowledge of the intelligence they were decoding. (Just for laughs, check the scandal page for FDR in your search engine)

  5. FDR study shows long list of his war preparations kinda snuck in past a reluctant congress. For example my father was in CCC’s as a teen and that military camp like atmosphere gave them a head start as future recruits.

  6. Terry M Gresham

    Reblogged this on okieprogressive.

  7. Ian J Smith

    Betrayal At Pearl Harbour by James Rusbridger and Eric Nave. Available on Amazon and elsewhere. Pub Michael Omara Books 1991. Details British Naval Intelligence with Royal Australian Navy work to break and read Japanese naval codes prior to Pearl Harbor. Not a theory this but a factual testimony by a former officer involved.

  8. Ted Smith

    GCCS with its Japanese section were decripting all Japanese codes throughout the 1930s and with a listening station first located in Hong Kong and moved to Singapore, British Naval Intelligence were reading Japanese Naval code 25 in November 1939. They read the signal ‘climb mount niitaka’ when sent to the fleet enroute to attack Pearl Harbor. I find it hard to believe Churchill would have withheld this information from FDR. What I do find strange is the unavailability of key politicians and the general in Washington until after the deed was done.

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