Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Theory?

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Karl Heidenreich
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Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Theory?

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:57 pm

I´ve always heard this "conspiracy theory" about the USA Goverment knowing beforehand that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor. As a matter of fact this theory also say that America military knew exactly all the "whats", "whens" and "hows" of Yamamoto´s master plan.
The idea is simple: the attack on USA by the IJN shoot a state of war against Japan and, more important, with Germany. This is a plan deviced to save Great Britain and Soviet Russia from certain Nazi victory.
The pilars for these theory are, also, simple:
1. The USA Navy deciphered the Imperial Japanese Navy code so they (the USA) knew what they were thinking and planing and when.
2. The USA Navy did detect radio traffic from the Combined Fleet on route to Pearl. I don´t know if this is really true. :think:
3. A Soviet vessel saw the Japanese Fleet and pass the word to Stalin who told his "pal" Roossevelt. They decided to wait for the attack... as planned. (This is outrageous incredible) :(
4. The USS Ward did sunk a Japanese mini sub outside Pearl and no one at the base did anything: not even an alert was issued.
5. The radar station at Opana did detect the inbound enemy flight and did report it to a Lt. who did nothing believing that it was the B-17 flight from the mainland.
6. That all this was orchestrated by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill for the purposes stated before.
I´ve always wondered: What would have happened if Mr. Hitler had decided NOT to declare war on the USA and, instead, condemn the Japanese? I know that the first was barely possible and the second very unlikely, but assume that happened. And being Adolf the inconsistent and unpredictale fellow he was all this is, at the end, possible. And Roossevelt and Churchill plenty aware of Adolf´s mental problems, and being the USA people reluctant to fight Germany, then the Pearl attack sinister plot bet on a random answer by random players. It would certainly shoot the war against Tojo but not Hitler (being this the main purpose) because it depends on Hitler, not the USA. Remember, Roossevelt at the "Day of Infamy" speech asked Congress for war against the Japanese, not Germany. It was, at last, Hitler´s dumb decision to declare war on US not vice versa.
The answer, for me, is that the attack at Pearl didn´t guarantee that USA would save Great Britain and Soviet Russia (as a matter of fact I DO know USA saved England but I´m NOT SURE it saved the USSR, because she was saving herself at the spend of 20 million lifes).
That´s it.

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Post by miro777 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:42 pm

hey
hmmm if i understand ur english correctly ur point is that the US, Britain and USSR knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor, but did nothing against it so that the US could go to war with Germany?

If it is so...i must say that the politicians at that time must have been very inresponsible!!!!
basically agreein to a attack on defenceless pearl!

in my opinion very unlikely.
and if why wouldn't they have informed all military units and so that they could have defended themselves and so the number of casulties would have been much less.
In addition to that, why would the US want to loose several battlehsips, whihc they would have had calculated into their strategiy.

on the aspect of Hitler declaring war on the US.
Couldn't the US simply declare war to Japan and ALL its allies (whihc then includes GermanY)?
maybe that's a stupid thought, but wouldn't that have been possibple???

If u take off the calculated losses, it would have made a lot of sense.
ALthough, if the US really needed to help UK, then they don't really need to have the support of the people. (same happened with Canada and WWI, the people did not want to, but the gov't still did it)

i hope my point of view made any sense and helped u...

miro

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Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:31 pm

I've looked into this as an undergraduate, and must conclude that it is simply a conspirasy theory. As tantalizing as as some aspecs may be, FDR didn't simply allow this to happen, so he could justify going to war against Germany. The Pacific war and the war in Europe should really be viewed as two different wars that occured at roughly the same time. Each had it's own causes and complications.

The US military didn't really have Japanese codes totally cracked and still had to infer and speculate about many things. The British had a better grasp on reading and inturputing Japanese military radio traffic.

By monitoring IJN radio traffic and through joint allied ariel recon, the allies were well aware of many of the IJN moves, and fleet dispositions, in the far east and South East Asia. (What happened in the Philippines to the US air and naval forces seems incomprehensible in light of this.) All these warning signs centered on the far east.

Although war with Japan was in the air, and seemed inevitable, every one expected it to start primarily in the far east-nobody really comprehended that Pearl Harbor could be attacked so massively. Unclear warning signs that IJN carriers and other naval forces may be approaching Hawaii occured too close the event, and didn't have time to filter through all the red tape and be inturputed in time. Certianly it was not known in advance in detail by the White House or the War Department in Washington. Peace time lethargy was difficult to over come.

Hilter's declaration of war on the United States was a major boner. It bailed FRD out of justifying a war against Nazi Germany when it was Japan that dilivered a direct attack. FDR knew that the US must join Britain against Nazi Germany sooner or later, and the sooner the better, but public opinion would not allow this. Allowing an attack by Japan still didn't clear the way for a Germany first policy in the public minds, although as Commander and Chief, FDR had the constitutional authority to conduct war policy as he saw fit, despite public opinion. That FDR would allow an attack by Japan to justify going to war against Hitler defies logic, in my opinion.

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Post by Monitor » Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:08 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: That FDR would allow an attack by Japan to justify going to war against Hitler defies logic, in my opinion.
I agree. If Roosevelt wanted war with Germany right away he could have used better "excuse" such as an incident between a U-boat and a US Coast Guard Cutter in the Atlantic or something like that, rather than allow the Japanese to attack the US. Remember the Lusitania incident in World War I?

But it was Hitler who declared war on the US surprising even his own Admirals and Generals. Admiral Dönitz knew nothing about it and he hadn't positioned his u-boats off the US eastern coast beforehand.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:58 pm

There are several points in the previous messages worth a comment.
miro 777:
Couldn't the US simply declare war to Japan and ALL its allies (whihc then includes GermanY)?
maybe that's a stupid thought, but wouldn't that have been possibple???
I don´t think so because the People (who by the way elected FDR and the Congress) weren´t very supportive to go to war. And I don´t believe that FDR wanted to be kicked out of office. But, furthermore there was another reason, more important, that it´s linked to this other comment by Dave Saxton :
although as Commander and Chief, FDR had the constitutional authority to conduct war policy as he saw fit, despite public opinion
Legally FDR or any US President has the authority to go to war. But it´s not wise to do so (we are living a good example of doing it right now). If you read Carl von Clauswitz "On War" he spoke that for a State to go, succefully, to war there are three elements that the ruler (president, emperor, führer, dictator, etc..) might ensure first:
1. That the political goal (s) must be very clear and in perfect armony with the means avaible to the State.
2. That the military are capable to accomplish the task asked by the political command (because "war is an extension of politics by other means" CvClauswitz.)
3. That the people must agree with the political views, means and goals because the passions of the people must be aroused. The obvious reason of this is because the people do the fighting and have to bear the sacriffices. From the people is were the State draft it´s warriors anyway.
Sun Tzu also was very precise quoting rules for this very purpose: if the people don´t support you in a war bet you are going to lose or, at least, have great problems.
Maybe a US President can go to war without a lot of public support, if the war is very little and easily winnable: like Mexico in 1847 or Phillipines and Cuba, Granada, Panama, etc. But if the war is big enough and requires a lot of support like WWI, WW2, Korea, Vietnam and, probably, Iraq, then the people´s will is vital. No people, no victory (certain victory). In WWI and WW2 Wilson and then FDR HAD the people´s support. In Korea and Vietnam Truman and Kennedy-Johnson didn´t.
The first two are victories, the last two were a draw and a defeat.

Returning to the main argument I still believe, as miro 777 pointed, that allowing the IJN to attack the way it did was suicidal because it let the main Pacific Fleet be put out of action. It´s a fact that FDR was looking for an excuse to be at war against Germany, but he wasn´t Stalin who can certainly could have deviced a plan like this "conspiracy theory".
The idea that the US political and military command would let the Japanese carry out the attack without raising a finger doesn´t seem logical, moral and, very important, practical: Who could guarantee that being that the case the aircraft carriers wouldn´t be destroyed also? Not even Houdini.
But there are a lot of persons and groups who are receptive to the great "conspiracies" of out time, being "Pearl Harbor" one of their bigger exponents.
The

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Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:31 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:....Legally FDR or any US President has the authority to go to war.....
Let me clarify. Under the US constitution, only Congress can authorize going to war, but the President conducts the war policy once it starts, not Congress. Congress can control how the war is funded.

After Vietnam there has been the War Powers Act. This act by Congress authorizes the President to effectively make war if it's required in an emergency...ect.. for finite number of days. Congress must either declare war or extend an authorization there after.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:22 pm

The wars against Mexico in 1847, against Spain, North Korea and Communist Vietnam as Granada and Panama (as many raids at the Mediterranean) were executed by the President USA without prior declaration of war by the Congress. I have to admit that in almost all the cases the President went to Congress to seek some kind of authorization. Even now at Afganistan and Iraq (and eventually Iran) the President is acting with consent of the Congress.
But your point is correct: only the Congress has the legal right to declare war, I stand corrected.
But the point is that the "conspiracy theory" is BS.

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Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:55 pm

Agreed.

There was an element of allowing "the other guy to fire the first shots" involved with the Pacific war, though.

Both Washington and London, went to pains in cautioning area commanders in the far east against pre-emptive action. Pre-emptive action is often wise from a military stand point, but it has all kinds of potential political pitfalls.

As the Japanese invasion convoys aproached Malaya and other points in the far east, the allies should have sortied naval and air forces, and pre-emptively attacked, prior to losing their air cover, and key air bases, and before Japan could land massive numbers of troops at key points. However, once Japan attacked first, the allies were on the moral high ground by comparison.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:59 pm

After reading some articles and seeing the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora" this weekend I think I found the footing for the conspiracy alegations. They are only alegations because no thruth lies behind them
The US military were not intercepting the IJN navy codes but the diplomatic ones, so they were able to study the information between Tokyo and the japanese embassies, not relevant strategic data. This was not enough for the military to predict the japanese offensive with precision. There was a colonel Bratton at Washington that, after studying the decoded messages, finally concluded that the attack on the Pacific was going to take place on November 30th 1941, a week before it really happened. The problem was that he, and his companions, didn´t establised Pearl as the target for the main attack but Phillipines (I wonder why MacArthur was caught with his pants down being the greatest US General of WW2 with Patton). Admiral Kimmel never was warned beforehand of the inminent of the attack (but he was warned weeks before to expect a japanese agression in the Pacific area. A very big area don´t you think?). The same with Army General Short. They were warned in "general" terms but all dismissed the probability of the Pearl raid. They were concerned with sabotage only.
This in very simplistic terms.
So, there was no conspiracy whatsoever but the fusion of incomplete and unprocessed information with the very western perception of what´s possible and what don´t. And Pearl Harbor shallow waters guaranteed to the americans that an attack was imposible. That and the certainity that any fleet traveling 4,000 miles was going to be sighted somewhere.
The incredible aspect is that after Pearl the allies continued belief of "sacred cows" as Singapur or the tragic ending of Repulse and PoW.
The political implication of Pearl were collateral in what Nazi Germany was concerned.

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Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:59 pm

The US was also intercepting military codes, but not to the same extent as the diplomatic codes. The British had given to the US their findings on the IJN military codes. Code named "Magic". The US were reading the military codes from 1939, but during 1941 the IJN changed the code slightly. This code was labaled, iirc, JN25, and it took most of 1942 before it was fully cracked.

The US had known completely the Japanese miltary codes (and many others) through out the 1920's. The project was called "Black Room", and it was done through, and by the authority of the Oval Office. In 1931 a new White House Cheif of Staff was apalled by this inteligence gathering "Eves dropping" and shut the program down. The Army and Navy started a new joint program in the mid 30's, but it was mainly through the help of the British that they had some minor success prior to Pearl Harbor.

In fairness to MacArther, most of air attack early warning equipment, and intercepter aircraft, were obsolete, non funtional, or ofton non-existant, in the Philippines. Although they had B17's, they didn't have any spare parts and most of these aircraft were not in flying condition. In fact, most of fighting equipment of all types in the Philippines, in late 1941 and early 42, were old, in poor shape, and darn thin in numbers. The Philippines never got enough of what it needed in time. The Navy was suppossed to relieve the Philippines, but of course after Pearl Harbor, long laid plans were of no use.

FDR had a Love/Hate relationship with MacArther. MacArther had been essentially exiled to the Philippines to get him out of DC. I used to know a eldery man in the Norfolk Va area that served with Mac's staff in the Pacific. From what I can gather based on this man's experiances (of course he loves the General and is probably a bit biased) Mac was a great military leader, and great leader of men. Mac always worried about casulties, on both sides, and always sought ways to accomplish the mission with the least amount of bloodshed possible.

Admiral Phillips was between a rock and hard place at Singapore. He couldn't very well just sail away and leave Malaya to it's fate. He had to do something, and he had two battleships. He no decent air cover. This whole thing happened within two days of Pearl Harbor, so of course they hadn't time to determine the implications of that yet.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:23 pm

I believe "Magic" was the name for the decoding operation. The codes were given color names like "purple" which was the diplomatic codes.

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Post by RNfanDan » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:38 am

There is an interesting and well-researched book available that covers this topic. It discusses all aspects of what the US knew, who knew it, and provides a great deal of evidence to support the notion that FDR not only knew of the impending attack, but actually fostered and fomented it.

The book is titled: Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett.

http://www.pearlharbor41.com/

Skeptic that I was, it has caused me to re-think my position.
Image

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:50 pm

Well, I must accept that even if the US was unaware of the Pearl attack it´s policy in Asia pushed the Japanese to the war. It was quite obvious: if Japan needs raw material and bases her policy in an expansion in China, and the US cuts her raw material sales to Japan and then begin to stress for the Japanese to get out of China, what happens?
War!
OK. Japan attacked Pearl but the FDR´s policy triggered it.

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Post by marcelo_malara » Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:30 pm

Like in the first Gulf War, the issue was to stop an agressive country of taking a less powerful one, a policy with which I agree. The problem was that the US had some overseas territories as well (Philippines for example), which brings to us the question of the moral right to prevent others doing what we are already doing.

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Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:49 pm

marcelo_malara wrote:Like in the first Gulf War, the issue was to stop an agressive country of taking a less powerful one, a policy with which I agree. The problem was that the US had some overseas territories as well (Philippines for example), which brings to us the question of the moral right to prevent others doing what we are already doing.
I agree somewhat with these points, but must point out that what Japan was up to during this period was not eqivilant to the relatively mild economic and cultural colionalism being practiced by the Eurpoean powers and the US. 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.

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