Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Theory?

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Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:49 pm

I agree that US embargo action essentially forced the Japanese to attack eventually or suffer an unacceptable loss of face. This doesn't make the embargo wrong, just that it had the effect of eventually bringing the US into the war.

If FDR had been found responsible for the huge losses resulting from the PH attack, he would of course have been impeached and put in prison. I simply don't believe he could have justified such a thing, even to himself.

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Pearl harbor and Germany's declaration of war

Post by George Gerolimatos » Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:36 pm

I hope no one will resent my effort to steer this interesting discussion in a new direction, but I was wondering about one of the stranger aspects of the Pearl Harbor attacks namely, Hitler's immediate declaration of war on the United States. I have never been able to understand this move on Hitler's part. Some historians I've read have contended that if Hitler had just sat back and let the Japanese declare war without getting Germany involved, it would have been a clever move on Hitler's part. I think the writers who assert this contend that FDR was basically more concerned about Germany than Japan at this point; but counting on enormous American industrial strength, perhaps FDR was ready to accept a war against Japan if it led to a back door entry to a war with Germany. The question is, had Germany not declared war on the US, would FDR have been able to overcome the anti-war faction in the US, even in light of Pearl Harbor? Was there any causus belli for war against Germany at that point?

I realize there was a pact between Germany and Japan, but I don't think the treaty stipulated that Germany had to enter the war against a nation which hadn't attacked her (i.e. the US). In any case, Hitler's respect for treaties was non-existent. Is there any rational explanantion for Hitler's declaration of war on the US? Hadn't the First World War taught him that the US was basically out of reach of Germany (or Japan, for that matter), but not vice versa?
George G.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 02, 2006 6:41 pm

Dave Saxton
Imperial Japan was a ruthless and brutal militaristic regime. Throughout it's conquests of the 1930's, Japan behaved in the most inhumane and brutal fashion imaginable. Militastistic Japan was just as ruthless and brutal as the hardcore Nazi's, and in someways even more uncivilized. Japan treated many conquered peoples much the same way the SS einsatz groupen treated jews and gypsies in eastern Europe. Imperial Japan was a evil empire that could not be tolerated by the civilized world. By the time of the sanctions imposed in 1941, there had already been the literal enslavement of Korea, the (literal) rape of Nanking, in which over 100,000 inocent civilian men had also been executed, and the take over of Indochina. I have known people from these areas of the world (particulary Vietnam) and the hatred of the Japanese for their behaviour during that time period still burns deeply, after generations. How the Japanese behaved in the Philippines after it's fall, was simply a continuation of how it had been behaving throughout Asia for almost a decade. One could well indict the FDR admistration for not being more harsh (including miltary intervention) in dealing with Japan, rather than in not being tolerant enough.
Dave, I agree 100% with your apreciation about the Japanese WWII regime. As a matter of fact that argument is the footing for my reply when anti US people began talking nonsense about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Togo´s Imperial Japan had it coming: they asked for it.
My previous argument it´s from different nature, more or less were George Gerolimatos asks:
1. First. The Japanese, even the evil WWII regime, would have avoided a war with the US if they could. That´s why they sent Nomura to Washington in first place. (In second place they sent him to win time if conflict was unavoidable). The war broke after many attemps to find a peaceful solution.
2. Second. FDR wanted a war against Nazi Germany. Why? I don´t know. Some believed that communist agents were placed around him; others that he was a radical pro british; that Eleanor hated Hitler as much as she loved Stalin... That he was convinced that the Nazi Evil, if it wins the war, will eventually destroy humanity, I don´t know. The important issue here is that FDR wanted to fight Germany. And the Pearl Harbor raid give him the tools to go to war against Nazi Germany. But to give him the tools doesn´t mean that the attack, by itself, detonated the war against Hitler. I don´t believe that FDR feelings against the Japanese were so intense as his´against the Nazis. As I pointed before, I don´t believe that a "conspiracy" (in Oliver Stone´s definition at least) was real: FDR and Churchill were inteligent and able politicians but were not magicians. If Mr. Hitler did what George says and doesn´t declare war against US, then what? Probably in a war with Japan the US might look for an excuse to go to war against Hitler, but that was not a certain issue though.
So:
a. The WWII Japanese were evil. R/ Yes
b. The US embargo and sanctions triggered the Japanese into attacking Pearl? R/Yes
c. The Pearl attack by itself put US in war against Nazi Germany? R/No.
Hitler declared war against US later. If he had restrained from that very stupid course of action maybe (only maybe) the US would had never be in a state of war against Nazi Germany.

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Post by Dave Saxton » Wed May 03, 2006 5:06 am

Allow me to make a few comments. FDR knew the Nazi's could not be allowed to prevail. Ultimately the US would have to throw their weight into it, if Hilter was to be defeated. This fact was made clear by the summer of 1940. This might not sound politically correct, but going to war against Nazi Germany was the right and good thing to do. FDR knew it was too.

One aspect of the Pearl Harbor strike was that it was one part of an alternative strategy formulated by Yamamoto for fighting the USA. Japanese war plans in the advent of war with the USA had been based on a "decisive massive naval battle" vs the US Pacific fleet as the the USN came to the rescue the US's far Pacific outposts. Then what? .....However, Yamamoto had lived in America and understood that Japan could not fight a prolonged war vs the USA and ultimately win.

Yamamoto felt strongly that Japan must force the US to negotiate a peace, within one year of the start of hostilities. Yamamoto's grand stategy was therefore to solidify Japan's gains so strongly, and inflict such casulties on US forces, that the American people would decide that a defeating Japan would be too expensive in terms of blood and material, and demand a negotiated peace of their learders. It was a gamble, but one Yamamoto felt he had to make. This was the reasoning behind Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea and Midway. He lost the gamble. There were many among the Japanese leadership, that felt the US, particularly the common people, didn't have the stomach for the required sacrafices of winning a long term war in Asia. You can see peices of this line of thinking from Guadalcanal right up to the final planned for defense of the home islands.

Although it's easy to see some kind of vindication for dropping the A bombs on Japan in revenge for Pearl Harbor, and Japan's general evilness, Truman looked at these weapons as just a better way to hopefully end the war. Had the bombs not been dropped, a bloody and costly invasion(s) would have to be made. This would of cost hundreds of thousands of allied lives and many more Japanese lives. The A bombs being used, ultimately saved more lives than they took. The regular B29 fire bombing raids were taking lives in these numbers by the spring and summer of 45 anyway. Another factor that you have touched on is the USSR.

A long term invasion and take over of the Japanese home islands would have involved Stalin and Stalin's troops. Truman wanted to end the war against Japan before the USSR could get heavily into it.

Perhaps FDR, also feared an eventual USSR solo defeat of Nazi Germany and a complete take over of western Europe by Stalin? The implications of the US and Britian not prevailing in part vs Nazi Germany were great. Either Hitler or Stalin come out of it the big winner. Some choice for the future of the world huh?

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed May 03, 2006 3:33 pm

Yep, Dave. Now, in the 21 st Century we tend to forget all about the Cold War Days and the war that originated it. People today saw what happened at Hisroshima and Nagasaki and stand back in horror forgetting everything that happened before: not only Pearl, but the Bataan, Corregidor, the Death March, Singapur, the atrocities in Indochina, etc. MacArthur´s invasion of Japan´s home island would have degenerated in a butchery: the US forces estimated 500,000 casualties (1/3 of them fatal) and for the Japanese above the million. The A bombing was the lesser of evils. And the adequate practical aplication of von Clausewitz premise to bring the war to a swift end with all available means.

Dave said
A long term invasion and take over of the Japanese home islands would have involved Stalin and Stalin's troops. Truman wanted to end the war against Japan before the USSR could get heavily into it.

Perhaps FDR, also feared an eventual USSR solo defeat of Nazi Germany and a complete take over of western Europe by Stalin? The implications of the US and Britian not prevailing in part vs Nazi Germany were great. Either Hitler or Stalin come out of it the big winner. Some choice for the future of the world huh?
Agreed. I believe that, after Stalingrad and Kursk in the summer of 1943, the German war effort was lost. Eventually the Russians would have vanquished the Nazis. In this case Churchill would have been paranoic about the outcome of such a conflict: a Nazi or a Soviet Empire on the other side of the Channel (the only good thing about that was that De Gaulle would have never been president of anything). And Churchill and Roosevelt were big pals. FDR, as you said, would have foresighted the imposibility of the Judeo Christian civilization to allow the Nazis to win, or of the Russian to win over the Nazis alone and by themselves. The US intervention stopped a greater expansion of the Soviet Empire. In this case I can understand (and support) George S. Patton´s posture at the end of the war. But to that moment FDR was dead and Truman (no FDR whatsoever) was the president.
Nevertheless the issue here is not a political dilema but the fact that, even on those circumstances, the Pearl attack was not hidden by the US goverment as a part of some big conspiracy. And that because, in November-December 1941, no one could have foresighted that Hitler would declare war against the US. As George Gerolimatos said:
The question is, had Germany not declared war on the US, would FDR have been able to overcome the anti-war faction in the US, even in light of Pearl Harbor? Was there any causus belli for war against Germany at that point?

I realize there was a pact between Germany and Japan, but I don't think the treaty stipulated that Germany had to enter the war against a nation which hadn't attacked her (i.e. the US). In any case, Hitler's respect for treaties was non-existent. Is there any rational explanantion for Hitler's declaration of war on the US? Hadn't the First World War taught him that the US was basically out of reach of Germany (or Japan, for that matter), but not vice versa?

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Post by Russ » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:05 pm

Radar on the northwest of Ohau detected the Japanese a full HOUR before they had arrived. The sad part is that Radar was brand new and not taken as seriously, thoughts of the B-17's in flight from the west coast, or a large group of pelicans/birds!...

If given an hour to fully prepare, the US forces may - stress may - have not suffered the casualties on the scale that they did.

Could some of the fleet made it out of port and into the open sea? One will never know, but as far as conspiracy? nah, call it complacency (sp) and ignorance + stupidity.

Sometimes arrogance pays a price....

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Post by foeth » Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:51 pm

Hmm, it took much more time to arm and fuel enough planes to offer any resistance. Also, I doubt that the few ships that COULD have escaped to open sea would be as easy to refloat as the ones on the bottom of the harbor. I suppose casualties would be much worse if some ships would have put out to sea.

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Post by Bgile » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:38 pm

foeth wrote:Hmm, it took much more time to arm and fuel enough planes to offer any resistance. Also, I doubt that the few ships that COULD have escaped to open sea would be as easy to refloat as the ones on the bottom of the harbor. I suppose casualties would be much worse if some ships would have put out to sea.
There was some fighter opposition. There would have been more if there had been an hour to prepare. The major difference though would have been that the ships would have been able to open fire at the attacking aircraft as soon as they came in sight. As it was, many of them opened fire soon after the attack began and an hour warning would have increased readiness substantially, especially with regard to damage control organization readiness including watertight subdivision, etc.

If the Japanese had launched a followup attack their losses would have been much heavier.

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Post by Russ » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:43 pm

foeth wrote:Hmm, it took much more time to arm and fuel enough planes to offer any resistance. Also, I doubt that the few ships that COULD have escaped to open sea would be as easy to refloat as the ones on the bottom of the harbor. I suppose casualties would be much worse if some ships would have put out to sea.
Foeth,

I am just thinking that with an HOUR of notice:

1. the planes surely would not have been parked next to each other like they were. Some movement would had to have taken place in that hour? Surely???

2. I feel some ships would have immediatly started preps to "go to sea to meet the enemy" because if Planes were coming, the natural thought is, wouldnt the entire fleet be coming next for an invasion? I believe that the dry docked Pennsylvania had her 14 in guns turned toward the harbor entrance after the air attack.

3. the "second" wave of planes was met with much more resitance than the 1st wave. Oddly, the 2nd wave came about 1 1/2 hours after the 1st wave?

Good discussion! Thanks...

I would like to hear all thoughts about this.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:09 pm

Russ wrote:
I am just thinking that with an HOUR of notice:

1. the planes surely would not have been parked next to each other like they were. Some movement would had to have taken place in that hour? Surely???

2. I feel some ships would have immediatly started preps to "go to sea to meet the enemy" because if Planes were coming, the natural thought is, wouldnt the entire fleet be coming next for an invasion? I believe that the dry docked Pennsylvania had her 14 in guns turned toward the harbor entrance after the air attack.

3. the "second" wave of planes was met with much more resitance than the 1st wave. Oddly, the 2nd wave came about 1 1/2 hours after the 1st wave?
and Bgile:
There was some fighter opposition. There would have been more if there had been an hour to prepare. The major difference though would have been that the ships would have been able to open fire at the attacking aircraft as soon as they came in sight. As it was, many of them opened fire soon after the attack began and an hour warning would have increased readiness substantially, especially with regard to damage control organization readiness including watertight subdivision, etc.

If the Japanese had launched a followup attack their losses would have been much heavier.
I agree with both of them. An hour early warning would have put a lot of fighters in the air. If we remember only two P-40s got up and shot down some enemy planes without being downed, so we must assume that one whole squadron (or more) in the air BEFORE the attack begins would have had a great effect in the defense of Oahu. Also, the Battleship Row would had time to close watertight doors, warm the boilers, prepare damage control crews and man the AA batteries. Remember, if some of the BBs could had went to open sea they would not be like Force Z because they´ll had fighter air cover.
Moreover, Pearl could had warned Adm. Halsey and his carrier battlegroup to look for the enemy. If in the actual surprise attack US forces downed 25+ enemy planes, what would have been the enemy casualties with that hour?

But...

... the problem is that the US HAD that hour warning: the USS Ward did spot and attacked a midget sub trying to sneak inside Pearl. That was a bold act of war from the Japanese that, properly taken into account, would had triggered the general alarm in the Pacific. But again, quoting Russ
complacency (sp) and ignorance + stupidity.
:shock:

As far as I know a captain in charge of the comunication center asked for confirmation of the Ward action before warning all battle stations. The confirmation got (as seen in the movie Tora, Tora, Tora) with the attack itself. I wonder if that captain was shot for incomptence after the raid?

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An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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foeth
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Post by foeth » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:12 pm

I agree with both of them. An hour early warning would have put a lot of fighters in the air.
From a documentary I understand that is not the case. The fueling and preparing would not put that many into the air. Also, Japanese naval aviaters were quite good pilots. Perhaps a few more US kills, but nothing to swing the balance. So I do not think there would be any appreciable aircover.

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Post by marcelo_malara » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:14 pm

Besides the P-40 was not match for the Zero.

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Post by Russ » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:14 pm

marcelo_malara wrote:Besides the P-40 was not match for the Zero.
Vaild! No question, altho the 2 USA P-40's that did make it into the air from the training field may have had up to 5-7 (?) confirmed kills?

The one thing an hour of prep would have probably guaranteed? The training blanks loaded in the AA guns of most ships would have presumably been changed over to real live ammo, much like the blanet of fire the 2nd wave faced.

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Post by Tiornu » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:31 pm

The P-40 was a good match for the Zeke.
I was severely bummed-out the other day to learn of the death of Phil Jacobsen. Phil was a veteran of the intelligence war in the Pacific during WWII. In recent years, he had taken it upon himself to dissect the assertions by charlatans like Stinnett regarding codebreaking and direction-finding. I loved watching him shoot holes in the conspiracy theories. He was widely published in The International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Intelligence and National Security, Cryptologia, and Naval History.

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Post by Bgile » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:47 pm

Tiornu wrote:The P-40 was a good match for the Zeke.
Absolutely! The Flying Tigers had an excellent kill ratio. You just have to learn the right tactics - go in fast, shoot something down, and dive away. Do not under any circumstances try to dogfight them because you will be shot down.

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