It was not long after the first Japanese bombs fell on the American Naval ships at Pearl Harbor that conspiracy theories began to circulate, charging that Franklin Roosevelt and his chief military advisors knew of the impending attack well in advance. Robert Stinnett, who served in the U.S. Navy with distinction during World War II, examined declassified American documents and concluded that, far more than merely knowing of the Japanese plan to bomb Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt deliberately steered Japan into war with America.
Stinnett's argument draws on both circumstantial and actual evidence. In September, 1940 Roosevelt signed into law a measure providing for a two-ocean Navy that would number 100 aircraft carriers. American governmental documents offer apparent proof that Roosevelt sacrificed American lives in order to enter the war on England's side. Nevertheless, Stinnett concluded that Roosevelt's deception was necessary.
FDR faced opposition from isolationists. The Pearl Harbor attack was "something that had to be endured in order to stop a greater evil - the Nazi invaders in Europe who had begun the Holocaust and were poised to invade England," wrote Stinnett. He researched this subject for 17 years and used documentation obtained using the Freedom of Information Act. In November, 1940, FDR ordered the Red Cross Disaster Relief director to secretly prepare for massive casualties at Pearl Harbor because he was going to let it be attacked.
The plan was outlined in a U.S. Naval Intelligence secret strategy memo of October, 1940. Roosevelt implemented its eight steps, which included deploying U.S. warships in Japanese territorial waters and imposing a total embargo intended to strangle Japan's economy. According to Stinnett, this climaxed in the Japanese attack. Stinnett was a decorated veteran who served with then-Lieutenant George Bush (the future President). He substantiates his charges with a wealth of persuasive documents, including many government and military memos and transcripts. His premise is that strict Japanese radio silence was a myth. He shows that several Japanese naval broadcasts, intercepted by American cryptographers in the 10 days before December 7, confirmed that Japan intended to start the war at Pearl Harbor. Stinnett shows that the top U.S. brass in Hawaii - Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Husband Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter Short - were kept out of the intelligence loop on orders from Washington. They were then blamed for allegedly failing to anticipate the Japanese attack. In May, 1999, the U.S. Senate cleared their names. Kimmel moved his fleet into the north Pacific, actively searching for the suspected Japanese staging area. Naval headquarters ordered him to turn back. Stinnett's research raises ethical questions.
"I sympathize with the agonizing dilemma faced by President Roosevelt," Stinnett continued. "He was forced to find circuitous means to persuade an isolationist America to join in a fight for freedom." Explanation is not an excuse. Aside from sacrificing Americans at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt is responsible for a terrible loss of ships, equipment, supplies, and mostly planes. It put this nation through its greatest day of anguish. While he no doubt did not think the damage would be as bad as it was, this makes his negligence worse. This also does not begin to describe the circumvention of Democratic principles inherent in such a betrayal. It adds to the question of his "dictatorship." Finally, it can be shown that FDR's example may have given another Democrat President, Lyndon Johnson, the precedent he needed to lead an unwitting country into war at the Gulf of Tonkin.
Stinnett established almost beyond question that the U.S. Navy could have at least anticipated the attack. He based his conclusion on archival research and interviews with surviving U.S. Navy cryptographers. Stinnett determined that FDR actually received the advice to "allow" the attack from his own Naval advisors. There are Roosevelt haters, past and present, who have enjoyed nothing more than to put forth the proposition that the man was somewhere between a traitor, a derelict, and a dictator. The evidence seems to conclude that the man wanted the U.S. to enter World War II, did not trust the Democratic process, and was caught off guard. There is no evidence that he was a traitor in the true sense of the word. FDR wanted what was best for America and the world. He knew that in that time and place, going to war was the best thing. His actions were colored by his political worldview.
Republicans were the ones who mostly absolved Kimmel and Short when the U.S. Senate posthumously cleared them. FDR had held them responsible for the Pearl Harbor debacle. There are academic historians and FDR supporters who are not convinced of the charges. Unquestionably, any historical assessment of Franklin Roosevelt is rife with political baggage.
It is also important to consider that despite the Freedom of Information Act, data is still not complete because official secrecy still exists regarding certain decryptions of Japanese radio communications. Stinnett reported that 13 messages from the Japanese commander, Admiral Yamamoto, to his attack force are missing from the American archive of decrypts. Stinnett interviewed radio intelligence officers who recalled locating the force as it crossed the Pacific, contrary to the conventional wisdom that it sailed undetected. Two weeks prior to the attack, the Naval base commander was ordered to stop patrolling waters north of Oahu.
Stinnett also declared that the Atlantic was a "vacant sea'' just weeks prior to the attack, with patrols forbidden in this area. Stinnett quoted a policy memo written by Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCullum. It listed eight actions designed to incite a military action by Japan, including such actions as the blocking of the sale of oil to the Japanese, maintaining a heavy U.S. Naval presence in the Pacific, and supporting Chiang Kai-shek in China.
With the Presidential election of 1940 at stake, Roosevelt's policy towards the war in Europe in 1939 was that of isolationism. He called Congress into special session and asked for the repeal of the embargo on the sale of arms to belligerent powers. This was part of the existing neutrality legislation. He based his appeal on the argument that this move would help to keep the United States at peace.
"Let no group assume the exclusive label of the 'peace bloc,'" he said. "We all belong to it ...I give you my deep and unalterable conviction, based on years of experience as a worker in the field of international peace, that by the repeal of the embargo the United States will more probably remain at peace than if the law remains as it stands today ...Our acts must be guided by one single, hardheaded thought - keeping America out of the war."
The President had opened up secret correspondence with Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty and later Prime Minister in the British government. Churchill's own memoirs inspire doubt as to whether its main purpose was keeping America out of the war.
Roosevelt painted himself as a champion of peace even after France had fallen. At this point, it was obvious that Great Britain could not win without the involvement of the United States and probably the Soviet Union.
"I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars," Roosevelt said at Boston on October 30, 1940 just before the election with Wilkie.
"I am fighting to keep our people out of foreign wars," he said at Brooklyn on November 1. "And I will keep on fighting."
At Rochester, New York, on November 2, he said, "Your national government ...is equally a government of peace - a government that intends to retain peace for the American people."
On the same day in Buffalo he said, "Your President says this country is not going to war."
At Cleveland on November 3 he declared, "The first purpose of our foreign policy is to keep our country out of war."
American involvement in war with Germany, however, differed from his campaign promises. He exchanged American destroyers for British bases in the Caribbean and in Newfoundland in September, 1940. This was a departure from the requirements of neutrality and a violation of some American laws. Government lawyers at the time decided that the destroyer deal put America into the war, legally and morally.
He enactment the Lend-Lease Act in March, 1941, contradicting the Neutrality Act, making the United States an unlimited partner in the economic war against the Axis Powers all over the world. The Americans and British staff spoke in Washington in January-March, 1941 with great care taken to hide this from Congress. Despite implications, the Lend-Lease Act was not meant to promote U.S. involvement in the war. But a staff conference used the revealing phrase, "when the United States becomes involved in war with Germany." Naval patrols, the purpose of which was to report the presence of German submarines to British warships, began in the Atlantic in April, 1941.
American laborers went to Northern Ireland to build a Naval base, preparing for an American expeditionary force.
The U.S. occupied Iceland in July, 1941. Roosevelt and Churchill engaged in the Atlantic Conference of August 9-12, 1941. The conference considered the presentation of an ultimatum to Japan and the occupation of the Cape Verde Islands, a Portuguese possession, by United States troops. American warships were ordered to shoot at sight at German submarines on September 11, 1941. This symbolic date, 60 years to the day prior to the World Trade Center attack, may be the real opening day of America's involvement in the war. Authorization for the arming of merchant ships and the sending of these ships into war zones began in November, 1941. The freezing of Japanese assets in the United States began on July 25, 1941. This step was followed by similar action on the part of Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies, amounting to a commercial blockade of Japan. Roosevelt very likely knew that it would push Japan into war.
"It was very essential, from our own selfish point of view of defense, to prevent a war from starting in the South Pacific," Roosevelt said. "So our foreign policy was trying to stop a war from breaking out down there....Now, if we cut the oil off, they [the Japanese] probably would have gone down to the Netherlands East Indies a year ago, and we would have had war."
Japanese Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye appealed for a personal meeting with Roosevelt to discuss an amicable settlement in the Pacific. This appeal was rejected, despite the strong favorable recommendations of the American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew. Secretary of State Cordell Hull's note to the Japanese government of November 26 came on the heels of consideration of a proposed compromise formula. It would have relaxed the blockade of Japan in return for withdrawal from southern Indochina and a limitation of forces in northern Indochina.
Hull dropped the idea after pressure from British and Chinese sources. He made an ultimatum on November 26, demanding unconditional Japanese withdrawal from China and from Indochina. This insisted that there should be "no support of any government in China other than the national government" (Chiang Kai-shek). Hull admitted that this made the Japanese-American relationship a military, not diplomatic, one.
Japan's negative reply was delivered almost simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor. General Short and Admiral Kimmel, commanders on the spot, were not aware of it despite the fact that it was expected and the clear picture of danger it painted. Secretary of War Henry Stimson said it was to maneuver the Japanese into firing the first shot. If Kimmel and Short had made major preparations, it may have scared off the impending attack by the Japanese task force, which was known to be on its way to some American outpost.
"Franklin Roosevelt repeatedly deceived the American people during the period before Pearl Harbor," said former Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce. "He was like the physician who must tell the patient lies for the patient's own good ...The country was overwhelmingly noninterventionist to the very day of Pearl Harbor, and an overt attempt to lead the people into war would have resulted in certain failure and an almost certain ousting of Roosevelt in 1940, with a complete defeat of his ultimate aims."
The justification for Roosevelt's lies are that the "masses" were not able to grasp global political politics and diplomacy. It sounds like the Roman Senate's disdain for the "mob." This is a view that has been attributed to the Democrat elite for years. They think they are so smart, so educated, so intelligent and informed, that it is they and only they who are capable of making decisions for the rest of us. As despicable as I find this notion to be (which is one of the top reasons among hundreds I am a Republican, not a Democrat), I still find that given the events of his time, there is some justification for FDR's deceits. I think, given all I know, I would not endorse it at the time. I cannot say this with 100 percent confidence.
Roosevelt's apologists point out that events were fluid. Much happened between November, 1940 and December, 1941 which justified a change in policy. The fact that the U.S. won the war certainly works out in FDR's favor.
The British Isles were not invaded in 1940, at the height of Hitler's military power. By 1941, England was far more secure. Secretary Stimson, Navy Secretary Frank Knox, and General George C. Marshall all had warned of the impending invasion of Britain in the first months of 1941. Winston Churchill wrote in his memoirs, "I did not regard invasion as a serious danger in April, 1941, since proper preparations had been made against it."
The American and British governments knew by then that Hitler was obsessed with the Soviet Union in 1941. However, as late as May 27, Roosevelt asserted, "The war is approaching the brink of the Western Hemisphere itself. It is coming very close to home." The President spoke of the Nazi "book of world conquest" and declared there was a Nazi plan to treat the Latin American countries as they had treated the Balkans. Then Canada and the United States would be "strangled." No evidence of this exists in the Nazi archives. Nazi invasion of the Americas seems only to be something that would have occurred after Europe was secure.
All official Japanese communications were in code. Diplomatic messages were sent in the Purple, Tsu, or Oite codes; naval communications in one of 29 codes called the Kaigun Ango, the most important of which were the 5-Num (naval operations), SM (naval movement), S (merchant marine), and Yobidashi Fugo (radio call sign) codes.
American cryptologists (codebreakers) had broken all four naval codes by October of 1940. American intelligence had broken Japanese diplomatic codes even before: Tsu in the 1920s, Oite in 1939, and Purple in September, 1940. As a result, cryptologists could intercept, decipher, and translate almost all Japanese diplomatic and military radio traffic within hours of receiving them. The decryption (decoding) and translating was done at three cryptographic centers; Station CAST on Corregidor in the Philippines; Station HYPO on Oahu; and Station U.S. in Washington. The resulting intelligence information was then sent to top U.S. military, Naval, and cabinet officials, including the President (about 36 individuals in all).
In addition to the interception and decryption of Japanese radio transmissions, most of the radio intercept stations were equipped with radio direction finders (RDF) which allowed trained operators to pinpoint the exact location of specific Japanese warships once their distinct radio call sign was identified. By means of RDF, naval intelligence experts were able to track the movement of the Japanese carrier force as it approached Pearl Harbor. Stinnett’s findings confirm the claim made by the Dutch naval attaché to the United States, Captain Johan Ranneft, that while on visits to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington on December 2 and 6 he saw intelligence maps tracking the movement of Japanese carriers toward Hawaii. His findings support the testimony of Robert Ogg who claims that while on assignment to the 12th Naval District in San Francisco he located (by means of RDF intelligence) the Japanese fleet north of Hawaii three days before the attack.
Perhaps the single most important document discovered by Stinnett was an October 7, 1940 memorandum written by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence. McCollum’s memo outlined a strategic policy designed to goad the Japanese into committing "an overt act of war" against the United States. McCollum wrote that such a strategy was necessary because "it is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado."
McCollum suggested eight specific "actions" that the United States should take to bring about this result. The key one is "Action F" which called for keeping "the main strength" of the U.S. Pacific Fleet "in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands." McCollum concluded his memo by stating that "if by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better."
Roosevelt signed a bill authorizing a massive American Naval build up designed to create a two-ocean Navy. He required American companies to obtain a government license before selling any petroleum products or scrap metal to Japan. For the next 12 months, the administration readily granted export permits to American firms selling raw materials to Japan. Japanese oil tankers and merchant vessels could be seen loading up on scrap iron and petroleum at America’s West Coast ports.
Meanwhile, American Naval intelligence, using radio direction finding (RDF), tracked the tankers to the Japanese Naval oil depot at Tokuyama. Roosevelt’s strategists calculated that helping the Japanese build up a two-year supply of reserves would be about right. That way, if war broke out in the second half of 1941, the Japanese would run out of oil in mid to late 1943, just as American wartime industrial production would be at its peak and her carrier fleets would be ready. In July 1941, Roosevelt, together with the British and Dutch, imposed an embargo on the sale of petroleum, iron, and steel to Japan (McCollum’s Action H). The trap had now been laid. The Japanese were not slow to fall for it.
"It was a pretty cheap price to pay for unifying the country," Lieutenant Commander Joseph J. Rochefort, commander of Station HYPO - Pearl, said in his post-war assessment of Roosevelt's "plan."
The fact that Roosevelt had to lie and deceive in order to stop Hitler is a perfect example of how the devil weasels his way into our truths. Paul articulated the Christian's response to this question 2,000 years ago.
"And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’? – as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just." (Romans 3:8). It is with this in mind that we must remind ourselves that while we try to do God's work, we sometimes do the work of Satan. In so doing we are merely pawns in the Great Game.
Hector Bywaterhad had written a novel in 1925 called "The Great Pacific War" (featuring a surprise Japanese assault on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor). War gamers had as early as 1932 predicted the Japanese would attack during that year's Army-Navy football game. They overlooked Commander Minoru Genda, who used the Brits' victorious 1940 carrier raid against the Italian fleet in Taranto in his planning for Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's Pearl attack.
The March, 1941 Martin-Bellinger report showed that with U.S.-Japanese relations so tense by December 7, our carriers were reinforcing Midway Island with fighters. Our radar reports of huge numbers of incoming aircraft were not taken seriously.
Stephen Budiansky, author of "Battle of Wits", wrote that newly discovered "documentary evidence ... decisively refutes the claim that JN-25 or any other high-level Japanese codes were being read in the months leading up to the Japanese attack." David Kahn, author of "The Codebreakers", supports Navy cryptanalyst assertions that "no five-numeral messages were read before Pearl Harbor."
Robert Stinnett wrote, "Seven Japanese Naval broadcasts intercepted between November 28 and December 6 confirmed that Japan intended to start the war and that it would begin at Pearl Harbor." Countering other assertions, two specialists identified for him 129 radio intercepts proving that the Japanese First Air Fleet did not maintain radio silence on the way to its launch point. But when did such messages actually get translated from the Japanese after initial decoding?
When Stinnett requested original documents from U.S. government files, the Navy refused to declassify some. Attorney General Janet Reno denied access to others (still labeled "National Defense Secrets" in 1999) and many released under the Freedom of Information Act had portions removed or entire passages blacked out.
Roosevelt's "failure" to prepare for the Japanese attack can be attributed to politics. Opinion on this matter sways depending on one's discretion. Roosevelt's real "crime" may not be his deceptions, allowing Husband and Short to be caught off-guard in Hawaii. Blaming them for it is a different story. So is his failure to prepare the U.S. for World War II from a material standpoint. His New Deal drained the Federal government, feeding the trough of social programs. In the mean time, World War I vets were forced to beg in the streets. Roosevelt put down the resulting riots using Patton and MacArthur, leaving awful tastes in the mouths of august men.
During FDR's Presidency prior to the war, all services were virtually cannibalized. Promotions were almost non-existent. Officers were often reduced in rank. Enlistment and recruitment were deliberately brought to standstills. FDR wanted civilians joining civilian work forces likes the TVA, not the Army. Training was a joke. Soldiers often had no bullets and had to march using brooms or sticks. Morale reached an all-time low. Officers like Patton were beside themselves. Big programs like air power and tank building were put on hold.
There is little evidence that these conditions improved much even as we got closer to war. FDR did not want to arouse great suspicion. The fact that the military had to go directly into battle so ill-prepared (aside from the damage incurred at Pearl) when we entered combat operations in the Pacific, and met Erwin Rommel at Kasserine Pass, is nothing less than a criminal indictment of Roosevelt.
If this is not enough, Roosevelt had named Joseph P. Kennedy to the position of Ambassador to the Court of Saint James, i.e., Ambassador to England. Kennedy had bought his way in via campaign contributions and election manipulations (one of his specialties). He wanted the imprimatur of such a posting to benefit his children. Kennedy was a Nazi sympathizer who openly said that the U.S. could not defeat the Germans, so we should either join forces with them, or certainly do business with them. To do "business" with them would have been tantamount to allying ourselves with them. He was an embarrassment to Roosevelt. Kennedy never acknowledged that the countries' entrance into the war was the right thing to do. Instead, he just blamed Roosevelt for eventually getting us in the war, which killed his oldest son, Joe, Jr.
It is to the great credit of his children that, for all their faults, they resisted their evil, utterly Machiavellian old man. Joe flew important missions and died flying a secret one in connection with the Manhattan Project. John wrote a Harvard thesis, based on his experiences in England and traveling Europe during his father's ambassadorship. It became a book called "While England Slept". It warned that the U.S. needed to engage the Germans. He joined the Navy and was a decorated hero. Robert Kennedy even did a tour in the Navy before the war ended.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism