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Old December 5th, 2012, 04:56 PM   #1
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Pearl Harbour-American cottage industry?


As a membr of several History discussion sites over the last decade I have been struck by how there seems to be a mini cottage industry of American posters who argue vehemently that Roosevelt knew before hand about the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941 by the Japanese.
The American conspiracy theorists (whom I strongly suspect vote Republican in contemposray elections) all claim that Roosevelt did know beforehand but didn't let on because he wanted to involve the USA in the war on Great Britain and her allies side.
So the question must be put-especially to American posters-''Is there any compelling historical evidence that Roosevelt and his team knew before hand the exact time nature and locaton of the Japanese attack on Pearl on December 7 1941?
If so, sources please?
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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As a membr of several History discussion sites over the last decade I have been struck by how there seems to be a mini cottage industry of American posters who argue vehemently that Roosevelt knew before hand about the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941 by the Japanese.
The American conspiracy theorists (whom I strongly suspect vote Republican in contemposray elections) all claim that Roosevelt did know beforehand but didn't let on because he wanted to involve the USA in the war on Great Britain and her allies side.
So the question must be put-especially to American posters-''Is there any compelling historical evidence that Roosevelt and his team knew before hand the exact time nature and locaton of the Japanese attack on Pearl on December 7 1941?
If so, sources please?
Way to bait Republicans over a non issue. Conservative Americans are not any more likely to believe this crap as Liberals.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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Sorry Virgil- but I assure you that I am not trying to bait or troll modern American Republican voters/supporters in any way over this question-only trying to establish whether there is a hidden political agenda by some -not all- Republicans in taking up this conspiracy theory-I am posing that as a question not an opinion or allegation by me-I gennuinely do not know the answer to this question. Although your response clearly indicates that many modern Republicans would have no truck witrh this Pearl Harbour/Roosevelt comspiracy theory.
Thank you for answering my question from your viewpoint.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #4
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You sure hold a high opinion of Republicans. What did they ever do to you?
Anyhow, the answer is NO to the conspiracy.
Source: At Dawn We Slept.
Author : Gordon W Prange

Roosevelt might have done more to get America ready for war, but he was also trying to dig America out of a Great Depression. Not to mention some pretty influential people in the Isolationist movement-Charles Lindburgh being but one of them.

If there was a saving grace to the sneak attack, it would be that America was forced to use the aircraft carrier as a captial ship instead of the battleship.
Another possibility would have been if the folks at Pearl would have had adequate warning in order to get their fleet out of the harbor, the ships which had been sunk in the shallow harbor would have been on the bottom of the ocean and unrecoverable. Lots of debate both ways on that notion.....
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:49 PM   #5

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Way to bait Republicans over a non issue. Conservative Americans are not any more likely to believe this crap as Liberals.
Actually, it's entirely possible. We tend not to think of it because it was more then 50 years ago... but elections and opinions were just as partisan in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944 as they are in 2012. I've seen a political cartoon dated back to the New Deal era that essentially compares FDR with Stalin, and compares the New Deal to Stalin's Five Year Plans.

And remember that FDR was elected four times, something no other President was. Considering that FDR broke with the tradition set by Washington, and the fact that his government was largely dominated by Democrats, it is entirely possible that Republicans of the time would look for any possible way to swing votes back in their direction. However, I do not know for sure if the conspiracy that FDR knew Dec 7 was coming was entirely political or not.

And generally, while conspiracies commonly have some element of truth in them, they're usually either half truths or tangential truths that had little real connection to what actually happen. They'll use the documents that support part of their theories, and then claim the documents that supports the rest is being covered up.

And the supposed conspiracy theory that FDR knew the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor on December 7 in the morning was one that was fairly widespread among those that follow conspiracy theories. And there were some signs that supported this:

1) The US had broken the Japanese diplomatic codes prior to the attack, and decrypted a message that essentially said, "diplomacy has failed. Destroy all essential documents. Attack on US immenent." In this, FDR probably did know that an attack on the US was likely, however, the problem with this was the US hadn't yet broken Japan's naval codes, and thus didn't know the exact target. And while General Marshall made attempts to beef up security on Pearl, most expected the likely Japanese attack to be on Guam or the Philippines. Something closer to Japan.

2) FDR was an obvious sympathizer to Britain in its struggle against Nazi Germany, and many of his critics in Congress and elsewhere, most of them Republicans, but also included a fair number of Democrats that saw his policies as a potential "war president" which the Isolationists didn't want. This created a heavy suspicion, that FDR was looking for a way to get around the isolationists and get into the war in Europe. As such, the Pearl Harbor attack is used as an excuse to fight the Nazis and save Britain. The problem with this, is that it also implicates that FDR knew Hitler would be stupid enough to declare war on America after America declared war on Japan.

3) FDR had signed and supported the various economic measures that put tremendous strain on Japan and could potentially provoke an attack. And while not an outright claim of knowledge of an attack, it would give the implication that he was trying to provoke a war with Japan. Though, while this could provoke a war, an embargo and various economic measures were things that the US had tried before to try and avoid a war when it felt a foreign war was threatening American interests. I believe Washington, Adams, and Jefferson all tried embargos on some level against France and Britain during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, though these attempts came back to hurt the US more then it hurt France or Britain... and in the 1930s, in response to Japan's war with China, the only option FDR had to stop the conflict without getting America into it was to use an embargo.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:56 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toomtabard View Post
As a membr of several History discussion sites over the last decade I have been struck by how there seems to be a mini cottage industry of American posters who argue vehemently that Roosevelt knew before hand about the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941 by the Japanese.
The American conspiracy theorists (whom I strongly suspect vote Republican in contemposray elections) all claim that Roosevelt did know beforehand but didn't let on because he wanted to involve the USA in the war on Great Britain and her allies side.
So the question must be put-especially to American posters-''Is there any compelling historical evidence that Roosevelt and his team knew before hand the exact time nature and locaton of the Japanese attack on Pearl on December 7 1941?
If so, sources please?
The short answer is no. There are volumes upon volumes espousing the conpiracy view, but every one that I've read (and there are few topics on which I've read more) fall apart under even the mildest scrutiny. The definitive volume on PH is still At Dawn We Slept by Gordon Prange. One of the last chapters covers the revisionists.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toomtabard View Post
The American conspiracy theorists (whom I strongly suspect vote Republican in contemposray elections) all claim that Roosevelt did know beforehand but didn't let on because he wanted to involve the USA in the war on Great Britain and her allies side.
I don't think one American in a thousand, of any party, has given any significant thought to this question. I've been in a discussion group for six years, and we've devoted at least three full sessions to the War in the Pacific. One of our members was a young officer in the Pacific during the war. The subject's never come up.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:30 PM   #8
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The US was supplying material to Britain, China, and Russia. It took over the occupation of Iceland from Britain. It put embargoes on Japan and demanded Japan leave French Indochina and China. The US also had started conscription.

It is likely that the Roosevelt administration was moving towards war, but could not join the war for domestic and international political reasons and because the US wasn't militarily prepared. It is also possible that the US was trying to stop the Axis from conquering the Allies and Japan from taking over most of Asia, but would rather not get into war.

This doesn't mean that the Roosevelt adminstration had advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor, although it is possible. I think it was clearly best for US interests and for the world that the US enter the war.

I don't think a lot of people are too interested in this question because there is a consensus in the US that it the Roosevelt adminstration was right to get involved in WWII.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:31 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toomtabard View Post
As a membr of several History discussion sites over the last decade I have been struck by how there seems to be a mini cottage industry of American posters who argue vehemently that Roosevelt knew before hand about the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941 by the Japanese.
The American conspiracy theorists (whom I strongly suspect vote Republican in contemposray elections) all claim that Roosevelt did know beforehand but didn't let on because he wanted to involve the USA in the war on Great Britain and her allies side.
So the question must be put-especially to American posters-''Is there any compelling historical evidence that Roosevelt and his team knew before hand the exact time nature and locaton of the Japanese attack on Pearl on December 7 1941?
If so, sources please?
No, there is no compelling evidence that Roosevelt knew how it all was going to go down. True, the US had access to it's own domestic intelligence reports that an attack was imminent, but the quality of analysis was extraordinarily lacking. Where were they going too attack? The Philippines, Hawaii, Midway or Guam, somewhere on the American West coast? No one could really answer that question before the deed was done and they only had a week and half to try and figure it out, when they would more than likely need at least six months time to sort out and decipher all the intelligence intercepts. Roosevelt couldn't have known because his analysts didn't know. And no, not even Churchill's military intelligence crew knew what was coming.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 02:19 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by Toomtabard View Post
The American conspiracy theorists (whom I strongly suspect vote Republican in contemposray elections) all claim that Roosevelt did know beforehand but didn't let on because he wanted to involve the USA in the war on Great Britain and her allies side.
One thing that I find striking is the complete absence of Republican conspiracy agenda at the time. Naturally the Republicans wanted to discredit the Roosevelt administration and took every opportunity to do so in the myriad of Pearl Harbor investigations. They were critical of US planning, policy, preparedness and generally getting caught with our pants down. But NOWHERE in any of the contemporary criticism from the "loyal opposition" was there the slightest mention of any conspiracy.
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