Events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour
Perspectives have changed over time in regards to the events surrounding Pearl Harbour. In accounts of both American, and Japanese perspectives. Questions still remain unanswered and debated today, as to the U.S knowledge regarding the attack on Pearl Harbour.
That is whether the U.S knew of an attack years, or days before Pearl Harbour, as stated by ‘A Lesson in Academic Housecleaning’(Gary North). Whether the U.S intentionally provoked the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbour, thus including U.S involvement in the war, as stated by Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (Robert. B Stinnett) A documentary titled ‘Pearl Harbour: Who fired first?’(2005) includes critical analysis on historical perspective and tensions between the U.S and Japanese.U.S and Japanese technology and intelligence regarding Pearl Harbour. FDR and U.S administration and Japanese ideologies surrounding the events of Pearl Harbour. that is Japanese militarism and expansionism in regards to the Pacific, including Pearl Harbour as stated by ‘Scholarly Review: History of the Asia-Pacific War’ (Takashi Yoshida) and ‘A Chronology of Japanese Military Expansionism’ (Dorothy Perkins) . Along with these perspectives include a vast inclusion of journalistic approaches towards the events surrounding Pearl Harbour, these perspectives are dealt with great scrutiny although are proved worthy by historians uncovering the truth and changing perspectives as to the events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Historical perspectives surrounding Pearl Harbour are split three ways. U.S knowledge of an attack. U.S provocation of the Japanese thus waging war. Japanese animosity, and hatred towards the U.S, which reflects their ideologies of militarism. Gary North expresses that the U.S knew that an attack on Pearl Harbour was imminent. North provides an evaluation of the events of Pearl Harbour through analysis of Stinnett’s book ‘Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Peal Harbour.’ North categorizes his evaluation on Stinnett’s in three phases. The story isn’t true. The story is true but so what? We always knew it was the truth. North claims that historians move along the basis of his three phases. He explains that, ‘Pearl Harbor: The Story of a Secret War’ written by George Morgenstern and published by Devin-Adair. Was ridiculed as being a pack of unsubstantiated opinions written by a mere journalist, as was ‘President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War’ (Charles. A. Beard) who was dismissed from Yale University as ‘senile,’ and permanently lost all his reputation. Similarly the diplomatic evaluation of Charles. C. Tansill in ‘Back Door to War’ received equal scrutiny towards his evaluation of Pearl Harbour and Roosevelt’s involvement. North is attempting to convey his first phase in the evaluation of historian’s perspectives on Pearl Harbour that is the story isn’t true. North shows that among the evaluation of Roosevelt by the above historians and his actions in regards to Pearl Harbour came under large scrutiny and were unaccepted during the years of their release (1947/1952)
North continues with his second phase, the story is true but so what? He evaluates that the revisionist accounts of Pearl Harbour nowadays are more widely accepted. He states that Robert B Stinnett discovered “the smoking gun”-an 8 page memo by a lieutenant commander in the navy on how to get Japan to attack the U.S. This memo was formally known as McCollum Memorandum. Stinnett used the memorandum in order to solidify his perspective that the Roosevelt administration attempted to provoke the Japanese to attack the U.S. Stinnett’s view on the provocation of the Japanese by the U.S is further evident in the tensions throughout the Japanese and the U.S in the Pacific. Arrogance and racial discrimination towards the Japanese had plagued Japanese-Western relations since the forced opening of the country in the 1800s, and were again a major factor for the deterioration of relations in the decade’s preceeding World War 2. In 1924, for example, the US Congress passed the Exclusion Act that prohibited further immigration from Japan. This acted as an indirect gesture by the U.S to create animosity among the two nations. Furthermore, McCollum highlights in page three of his memorandum the advantages of the Japanese empire. He states Japan has “Some stocks of raw materials, rigid control of economy on a war basis, and a skillful navy about 2/3 the strength of the U.S. Navy” through these points Stinnett is able to create an evaluation that indeed the U.S to and extend were ‘feared’ by the Japanese empire. Stinnett’s book argues that Roosevelt indeed did the right thing in luring the Japanese into an attack on Pearl Harbour, and that this attack overcame American anti-interventionists, who had 88% of the people behind them in 1940. Stinnett states that “it was Pearl Harbour that got us into the War in Europe” “On Japan’s Innocence: The Truth on Trial” (Tanaka Masaaki) ‘admitted that Japan, to a certain degree had planned and waged and aggressive war’ ‘We always knew it was true’ concludes the third phase of North’s historical evaluation, although he states that “it will be a long time before historians get to this stage. They will not admit how they smeared the reputations of first-rate historians who told the truth early” North highlights the criticism dealt to the historical perspectives of the first phase, and states that the recognition of them being correct would ultimately never happen, thus the third phase will not be reached. North’s critical analysis of a number of historians including Stinnett’s as well as his own evaluation of changing historical perspectives through the use of his three phases has provided sufficient information to the knowledge of the attack regarding Pearl Harbour.
President Franklin. D. Roosevelt and his administration knew of an attack on Pearl Harbour, as stated by John. V. Denson. Denson’s book ‘Reassessing the Presidency’ examines how the intelligence of the U.S was not shown to the public as to the knowledge of an attack on Pearl Harbour. Roosevelt directly intended to enter the war. Although making a promise to the U.S during his presidency campaign ‘not by any means to enter a war’ he attempted to make it as if the U.S were potentially forced by acts of war (from the Japanese), to in fact enter the war. “Roosevelt attempted to provoke the Germans into attacking the U.S first, to uncover a reason for the U.S to enter war, but Hitler avoided war with the U.S as he knew it would be costly”, as stated by Denson. By failing to lure the Germans into firing first, Roosevelt also tried to provoke the Japanese into firing the first shot, and was eventually successful. Denson also interprets Stinnett’s perspective as to the knowledge of the U.S but more so Roosevelt. Denson expresses the eight point memorandum by McCollum during the creation of his book, to uncover the true behind the extended intell of Roosevelt and his administration. Denson states “Japan was finally placed in a position of choosing either to lose the war without even fighting, basically because all of its oil supplies and essentials war materials had been cut off, or gamble that a surprise attack at Pearl Harbour would cripple the U.S naval forces, and cause them to negotiate peace treaties” Denson attempts to show the how Roosevelt provoked the Japanese into forcing a war. Through Roosevelt’s provocation of the Japanese (through embargoes etc) that would cause the Japanese to ‘fire first’ thus entering the U.S the war, which was Roosevelt’s intentions, and would make Roosevelt look like a ‘good president’ in the sense that he kept his word during his campaign ‘not to enter war’ rather to make it look as if he was forced to enter war. “American cryptographers had solved the code of the Japanese… from November 25, 1941 to December 7, 1941 American cryptographers were decoding the military communications and sending them directly to Roosevelt” (Denson) which further shows that Roosevelt had knowledge of Japanese military movement several days before the attack on Pearl Harbour. The information provided shows the perspective of John. V. Denson as to the events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Pearl Harbour: Who Fired First? A documentary expressing the truth behind who fired the first shot of the Pacific War. On the 7th December 1941, 6.00am an hour and a half before the attack on Pearl Harbour, the USS Ward, Lehner. S an ammunition handler states “I was standing there watching everything go on, I saw their submarine out there, I saw when they fired the first shot” an hour and a half before the air raid on Pearl Harbour sighting of a submarine was reported but ignored by the U.S. The documentary states that the U.S froze all Japanese assets and cut off its oil supply. The documentary shows a speech given by Roosevelt to the U.S public a day after the attack on Pearl Harbour. “the congress, declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th 1941, a state of war” the speech given by President Roosevelt is argued by many, due to the words unprovoked, Roosevelt states the attack was unprovoked when, Roosevelt directly followed instructions by McCollum in his memorandum to provoke the Japanese, this involving the U.S in war. The documentary also states that after the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japanese people living in Pearl Harbour were discriminated against, their shops shutdown, and were disowned by the U.S, seen as traitors, some living in the country for over 20 years, and were as patriotic as any American. The documentary also raises question as to the presidency of Roosevelt, and of his knowledge and his administration, by knowing of the attack, days, weeks or years before could he have saved the 2400 American lives which were taken on the day of December 7, 1941? or to a lesser extent save the hardships the Japanese people living in the U.S endured? The information given shows the perspective of Hartung .F as to the events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour
The Japanese viewed the events of Pearl Harbour in a completely different manner as the U.S. Japanese heritage and culture prospers throughout the country and throughout its people. One ideology that lived among Japan, was the respect and honour of the Japanese empire. The Japanese empire followed a strict militaristic approach, thus by the people maintaining their honour towards Japan, militarism became their view. ‘A Chronology of Japanese Military Expansion From the Meiji Era to the Attack on Pearl Harbour’ by Dorothy Perkins, expresses Japanese militaristic ideologies as well as expansionism. “Feb 12. 1895, Japanese destroy the Chinese Peiyang Naval Fleet, March 6, 1895 Japanese troops occupied Yingk’ou, Manchuria” shows the expansionism ideologies of the Japanese Empire and how they span a large history of militarism. Historian Gerhard. K. states “Japan was entered as a unique country forged by the Gods, the emperor himself was divine, destined to rule over all the world, and above all he was destined to liberate Asia” In 1937 Japan invaded China, they called this liberation or as militaristic expansionism, from China the Japanese seized raw materials which would be used in war production and span for more expansionism. As stated by ‘A Chronology of Japanese Military Expansionism’ Yamamoto writes to Navy minister Kojiro in January 1941, regarding an attack on Pearl Harbour, in his writings he explains the plans for after the attack, that is beginning the Pacific War, and his intentions from the attack on Pearl Harbour. This highlights the militaristic nature of those who serve the emperor. It shows the focus and determination of the Japanese in succession, thus honouring their country in fulfilling its worth. Gerhard. K states “You died for the family, you died for your country, and you died for the emperor, who was destined to rule the world” Gerhard evaluation on the ideology of the Japanese is further reinforced by the writing of a suicide pilot Akira Hiroeu, he writes to his parents “ the worth of a person, becomes clear, when he is on the right road, aiming at the right goal, if he does not reach his goal, he has not tried hard enough” suggesting Akira’s road is through service of the emperor, and his goal is that of sacrificing himself at Pearl Harbour for the will of the Japanese empire, militaristic expansionism. Sakanaki, a suicide pilot of the midget submarine, was captured by the U.S as his wreck was washed at the coast of Pearl Harbour. Being captured was considered the ultimate dishonour towards the Emperor. It was seen as not fulfilling the will of the Emperor Burlingare a historian studying in Berlin, states that Sakanaki was “ he was ridden off shunned, it was like he never existed and he kept trying to commit suicide in prison, he asked the guards for permission, and the American guards would say no, and he agreed not to, it severed as a real culture shock for both the U.S and Japanese” this further expresses the loyalty and honour the Japanese had for there Emperor that there loyalty overruled their life, it’s what the Japanese lived for, and examines the militaristic nature of the Japanese. The information shown expresses the perspective of Perkins, as well as Gerhard. K. and Burlingare in regards to Japanese militarism and expansionism, connecting to the events surrounding Pearl Harbour.
Gary North’s ‘A Lesson in Academic Housecleaning,’ Dorothy Perkins’ ‘A Chronology of Japanese Military Expansion From the Meiji Era to the Attack on Pearl Harbour’ and Hartung’s ‘Pearl Harbour: Who fired first?’ shows historical perspectives as to the knowledge and events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour along with extensive critical analysis of other sources and books to reinforce these views. From the attack on Pearl Harbour to now, events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour have not changed, rather different historical perspectives have been evaluated through the study of this historical event. For example North categorises the event in different phases, whereas Hartung reevaluates others perspectives in providing her own. In conclusion the historical perspectives of the events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbour have not changed, rather they have been reevaluated to include the historian’s perspectives on the event.
North, Gary ‘A Lesson in Academic Housecleaning’ http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north26.html
Stinnett, Robert B (1999) ‘Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor’
Beard, Charles .A (1955)‘President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War’
‘Japanese Militarism’ http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2129.html
Stinnett, Robert B (1999)‘Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor’
http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north26.html (Robert B Stinnett)
North, Gary ‘A Lesson in Academic Housecleaning’ http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north26.html