Hello my fellow Timeghost Army friends!
First of all I commend the team again on recognizing questions and issues and spending (also my ) money on answering some very in depth questions.
However I really have to disagree on your topic about FDR not knowing that he was about to be attacked (be it Pearl Harbour or anywhere else). I stated earlier in one of my topics ( pretty popular, I might add) that, in accordance with secret agreements made with Churchill in the Atlantic, along with the Landlease Act, Roosevelt was already engaged to wage war and was obliged to outmanouvre the isolationist movement in his own country and economically sanctioned the Japanese Empire so harshly that they had no other choice then to pick up the glove that FDR threw in their face!
Hello my fellow Timeghost Army friends!
Hi Harry, I guess I could cut and paste my counter presentation from that old string, but I won’t and just ask others to read that string.
The Axis diplomatic situation did no favors.
You can post it here. I’d love to read it.
I’ve listened to the argument for most of my adult life-‘Washington saw Pearl Harbor coming and let it happen’ H Norman Schwartzkopf may have said it best: In an era before satellite images, GPS and global instant communication, it was the commanders in the field that made the difference whether surprise attack was successful or detected and thwarted. The best Washington could do in 1941 is make the local commanders aware of the diplomatic circumstances and ask them to be ready for war. If they failed, they are held accountable.
Notices were issued to all US bases in the Pacific in late November.
The notice from Washington to Peal Harbor of November 27, 1941, to Admiral Kimmel, began, “This dispatch is to be considered a war warning.” It then went on to say that negotiations had ceased. Then directed the admiral to “execute an appropriate defensive deployment.” Kimmel was ordered to undertake reconnaissance and any other measures he deemed necessary. In addition, a communication to General Short the same day declared that hostile action was possible at any moment. He was also urged measures of reconnaissance.
The warning has not adequately heeded and no one could have predicted the catastrophic event that motivated a nation for total war. When 2000 soldiers die in a peace time attack, on Dec 8, the buck had to stop at those field commanders, rightly or wrongly as we gauge the topic 80 years on. Although we can say, probably not fair as we all know, how the Navy didn’t have enough PBY’s, etc. etc.
One thing for sure, you can’t look at those warnings with a 1941 mindset and assert that Roosevelt was malicious on the matter and could have possibly intended to orchestrated the outcome.
A surprise attack on Dec 7 and the massive losses at Peal Harbor traumatized and motivated the US citizens and Govt. to end the aggressive Empire of Japan unconditionally-FDR simply could not have planned that.
I can understand why such a dastardly act that backfire so completely, could be contemplated many years later as an internal ploy in which FDR was active. In the end, the US had significant political influence and a robust economy. However the gent that struggled with his own congress and New Deal was not the architect of that ‘grand strategy’. Evidence of such a pre-planned masterstroke has remained illusive all these years.
First of all I appreciate you and I understand and respect your opinion on the matter. Moreover, I truly do believe that there is no plot, pretext or conspiracy. My only point is that FDR made deliberate political choices, binding his biggest ally economicaly and strategically who was at his weakest at the time, fighting the Nazi’s, knowing he would prosper from the help he could provide to the UK. On the other hand, FDR was well aware of the dangers that same ally was facing in the east and, again, the most effective way to envoke the Japanese into war was by the economic sanctions he took, imho…
So FDR forced the Japanese to go to war with us because we would not give them what they needed to continue their near decade old war? That is an interesting take on it. So if we had not cut off supplies, does that make us enemies of China?
It’s not like we blockaded Japan, we simply refused to be a supplier for their evil war. We saw them expanding the war. Imho, we were morally obliged to act in the name of decency. We told Japan what it would take to get us to trade again. It was up to them.
That doesn’t make FDR culpable in the Pearl Harbor attack. It does make Kimmel and MacArthur, both warned, rather suspect in misunderstanding Japanese capabilities.
Outside of the economic reaction, how else could have the US faced what Japan was doing in China? Keep selling them stuff so that they can take over China and continue to commit crimes against humanity for people living there?
What other options did anyone have WRT Japan? Seems that any other reaction would have lead to war much quicker than cutting them off from supplies.
If FDR wanted a war with Germany (which I agree that he did) wouldn’t it be more efficient to just engage them and not Japan? Someone could be creative to make Hiter to react than going the long way around the world and do it via Japan. Let alone just fighting Germany would be a whole lot easier than both.
So, with 100% hindsight, what would a better reaction to Japan have been that would have avoided a war?
Also, to think that Pearl Harbor WAS the target would have taken some imagination- all the US territory in the Philippines was more than enough to assume that they would be the only target at the time. From a US perspective, who could have anticipated that Pearl Harbor would have been part of the attack? Let alone such a primary target? For that, you would have had to gone into the head of Yamamoto to see that he understood that debilitating the US for 6 months was the best they could do to secure SE Asia and resources. Again, with 100% hindsight- where was any indication that Pearl Harbor was even a target up until the subs were sighted and the planes were “seen” on radar?
I totally agree, my friend, the only issue is that FDR’s hands were bound behind the back by his own countrymen, keeping their heads down ( I won’t swear) being isolationist and refusing to acknowledge the reality of Japan waging war against China and Manchuria and Korea since the early 1930’s.
Hard to blame them for not being aware of the evil. Out of work, out of home in some cases and judging by the music a very depressing time. Summers in the 30’s were ungodly hot. And the dust bowl was a thing.
I wonder how future generations will judge us.
Why assume that Pearl was a target? No particular reason but I will say that from reading Shattered sword and judging by how the Japanese screwed up. What they said is you don’t plan based on an enemies intentions but by their capabilities.
Our commanders misunderstood what Japan was capable of. It seems this is a maxim somewhere and a very common mistake.
But by going by the flawed view of both the Army and Navy at the time, there was pretty much nobody who would have really suggested to FDR that Hawaii was a target. So I can’t see how FDR could be blamed or conspired over Pearl Harbor. FDR would have had to come up with that on his own for a conspiracy to have been even remotely true.
Outside of bringing arms into the situation, how could have FDR dealt with what Japan was doing other than stop selling stuff to Japan? I really question what alternative there was which would have prevented a war with Japan AND gotten them out of the rest of Asia.
The only way I could see that happening is having a military they could not compete with. We didn’t have it. We were already helping China.
Pearl Harbour as a major target is a no brainer, imo. The major issue is that FDR himself played into the game of war through putting on the thumbscrews on the economics of Japan, issuing in sanctions for oil and food. Why people still not accept this for a fact, I don’t understand, because it is almost common knowledge
But that’s what countries do. Sanctions are an acceptable diplomatic tool to express your displeasure. There was no UN, not that it matters, there was no third party to go to. What would another solution have been?
There was a UN, Leage of Nations, but Japan walked out after being punished for their invasion of Manchuria and China, after which the USA started a campaign of isolating Japan economicaly through blockade of essential resources. FDR knew that Japan would be forced to expand their empire
Or maybe they would decide to trade peacefully rather than have bayonet parties in Nanking. The United States wasn’t a world cop and was not a signatory to the League of Nations either but it was the foremost export economy in the world and has the right to trade with whom it feel necessary. Japan did not have to do business with us or maybe didn’t have to murder their way across Asia and do it in front of foreigners who duly reported it. Americans were not happy to read those stories and were just fine with economic pressures.
I respect what your saying but no way do I fault FDR for not trading with that lot. I doubt you will find much outcry in public against the embargo either.
By that logic when OPEC boycotted oil sales in 1973, we would have been justified in occupying Saudi Arabia and it would have been the Saudis fault for not anticipating that response.
As much as I respect you and your opinion, I guess we have to agree to disagree. Again, no hard feelings but I guess, being Dutch and not having any patriotic feelings towards the USA and relying on pure scientific historical knowledge (I am a history teacher) I think I am in the right about how FDR manipulated the way towards war with Japan and Germany, as was begged for by Churchill
a reminder that being a history teacher doesn’t prevent you from making mistake(hence why the authority argument is flawed) and being against the idea that FDR knew about pearl harbour isn’t being some kind of america F yeah patriot and wait are you implying that nazi germany didn’t started the war despite the himmler operation? because the begged for by churccil part kinda mean that to me