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Pearl Harbor - Did The U.S. Know About The Attack?  
User currently offlineWorldTraveller From Germany, joined Jun 1999, 624 posts, RR: 5
Posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5345 times:

Hi everybody

A friend of mine recently told me that there is a serious theory that the U.S. knew about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The U.S. government and military appearently needed a "reason" to get involved in WWII, and so they deliberately sacrificed over 2000 lives to swing public opinion which opposed a U.S. entry into WWII.

One day after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt declared war to Japan...

Is this true? I've never heard about it before.

Best regards
the WorldTraveller

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5304 times:

Yeah, I´ve read that too. A day before the attack, all new and expensive ships were withdrawn from Pearl Harbor, just the old soon to be scrapped ones stayed there.
I´ll try to find that article, I might post more from it then.

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5304 times:

I haven't heard that conspiracy theory yet, but it does sound intresting. What I do know is that radar was very much experimental during our pre-WWII days, and the Japanese plans were actually picked up by American radar, its just that nobody knew what it meant.

User currently offline767-322ETOPS From United States of America, joined May 2001, 324 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5300 times:

There was also a theory that Churchill knew about it, but neglected to mention it b/c he needed the US in the war full-time.

User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5299 times:

They did not know. There were signs that the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) was up to something, but noone knew what or when it would happen.
The ships that left did so on a planned and routing training exercise.
That same day, all the aircraft were removed from dispersal and placed in the middle of the tarmacs to prevent sabotage attacks. This was of course the most vulnerable place in case of air attack.
The ships that stayed in port were not part of the squadron that did sail (which was centered around carriers instead of battleships) or were ships that were indeed incapable of sailing at that time.

Saying that the USN purposely did nothing to stop a known attack is an insult to the Navy and especially the over 2000 men and women who gave their lives in the attack.

According to stories, there was a Japanese submarine intercepted some days before the attack. It was driven of with depthcharges. This may have been one factor in sending out part of the fleet. It made the harbour easier to patrol by light ASW units in case a sub did make it in (like happened in Scapa Flow).

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5293 times:

Insults aside, it is not so naive to make assumptions about different nations' war strategies-I had also heard a version of the same story-although, as Jwenting has pointed out, the US was not sure just *when*/whether the assault would occur-but the American embassy intelligience in Tokyo definitely smelled something fishy well before the invasion actually occurred.

I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but it is worth bearing in mind that many secrets regarding various nations' activities during the war, are still deemed too "shocking" to be revealed for the moment.

Whilst I am not suggesting the US "allowed" such an invasion, I am sure they -as well as others- recognised the need to get involved in one way or the other.


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5287 times:

OK, I found the article. It says Roosevelt discussed with aides a few days before the attack "a way to get into war with Japan without throwing the first stone". An anonymous admiral is quoted as saying "the Japanese destroyed only a bunch of outdated hardware; they actually did us a favour."

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 43
Reply 7, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5283 times:

Several of my history teachers in High School and College have shared this viewpoint. If you stop and think about it, how could the US NOT have deliberately allowed itself to get into the war?
The US was struggling with the Great Depression. Then President, FDR-a Democrat-was failing badly with his New Deal programs (the forerunner to modern day Public Assistance) and was desperate to jump start the US economy.

It should be noted that the Depression ended almost immediately after the US entry into the War. War, after all, is a big business. Look at how many mining, manufacturing, and service jobs were created almost overnight with airplanes, ships, bombs, etc.

It should also be noted that the entire Pacific fleet was ordered to Pearl Harbor a few days before the attack. What Commander In Chief in his right mind would order an entire fleet to converge on one location at the same time, for no apparent reason-unless-as the evidence suggests that 1) their imminent destruction would provide a great excuse to enter a war and to 2) create a need to replace those ships-as a way to help end the Depression?

One other interesting detail:

Why weren't the fuel tanks at PH destroyed in the Japanese attack? The tank farm was right there, and it wouldn't have been very hard for the Japanese to hit those too. Yet, for reasons that no one can explain, they were left untouched.

User currently offlineAA767Boy From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 101 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5274 times:

The U.S would not kill 2000 people and sacrafice so many ship and a/c just to get involved in a war. That theory is crap! Of course with the U.S. government you never know.


User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 43
Reply 9, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5268 times:


With all due respect, I happen to disagree with you. True, the deaths of 2000 innocent people is a heinous thing indeed. But the government doesn't see it that way. If sacrificing 2000 people means that the other 100 million can get pulled out of a depression, then I guarantee you that I know 2000 people that will be sent to an early grave.

Don't kid yourself pal. The government has always, and always will be guilty of practicing shady and clandestine activities like that.

Just remember to keep this little proverb in the back of your mind:

"Just because YOU'RE not paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get or cajole you."

User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5266 times:


The oil storage tanks, which miraculously were untouched in the attack, were critical. If they had been destroyed, the U.S. Navy would have had to withdraw to the California coast. Japan would have been able to take the Hawaiian Islands in a cakewalk, and without a major refueling base in the middle of the pacific, it would have made the supply lines to Austraila virtually impossible to maintain, providing Japan with the ability to invade Australia, which they were on the point of doing in 1942. That they did not do it was likely the impact of American forces that did actually make it to the south-west pacific (Coral Sea, Guadelcanal, etc), which did not create any decisive battle, but distracted the Japanese long enough to start bleeding them a little, and buy time for the U.S. to start rebuilding.

The U.S. did have good intel that the Japanese would maybe try something. But the warnings came too soon. Several times, war warnings were issued stating that the Japanese would certainly attack on a certain date (which started in October or November 1941). Another warning was given for Dec. 7th, but after so many false alarms, nobody believed it. The U.S. Intel pukes actually intercepted and translated instructions to the Japanese Embassy stating that the attack was about to start, but by the time the dispatch made it through the bureaucracy to the proper authorities, the attack was already underway.

While some people expected an attack, saying that they anticipated the strength and ferocity of the attack (Pearl Harbor was supposed to be immune to ai-launched torpedo attack) is ridiculous. By a simple oversight, the Japanese missed the fuel tanks you mentioned. Had that not happened, The U.S. would have lost their entire Pacific area of influence, and may have sued for peace (which was the Japanese plan).


User currently offlineJetService From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4798 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5263 times:

You're all WAY off. The Japanese and US government were collaborating during the whole war. Months before the attack on Pearl, the US government had taken out full coverage insurance policies on all the old ships that they intended to scrap. The government made a huge claim from Allstate and gave the japs a kickback.

"Shaddap you!"
User currently offline767-322ETOPS From United States of America, joined May 2001, 324 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5263 times:

"American technological skill raised and repaired all but three of the ships sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor (the USS Arizona (BB-39) considered too badly damaged to be salvaged, the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) raised and considered too old to be worth repairing, and the obsolete USS Utah (AG-16) considered not worth the effort)."

Many of these ships went on to pound the Japanese later in the war. So what favor did they do by sinking this "outdated hardware"? The challenge of raising it, taking out the corpses, and repairing it?

Why would the US want to get into the war at that time any way? We were barely ready, and lost of of the Pacific in the process. We knew what the Japanese had - and I think that victory at that point was far from a done deal.

There clearly was an ideological split between FDR and those who knew it was a matter of time before the US did get pulled into the battle, and the isolationists who wanted to avoid it. However, deliberately sacrificing ships, planes and soldiers is an irrational way to get pulled into the war.

But, just for fun, let's assume the leadership knew the Japanese were going to hit Pearl Harbor. They leave the buckets 'o junk in the harbor to act as nice targets, and send the aircraft carriers to sea because they're too valuable.

This begs the questions: If you know the Japanese are coming, and where they're going to hit, why not ambush them? Why didn't we use our carriers to sink the Japanese carriers once the attack was launched? Why did we sit back and take the punch?

Answer: because we didn't know. We knew something was going on, but hadn't broken the military codes yet. Also, Pearl Harbor was a very ballsy thing for the Japanese to do - aside from California it was probably the best place to launch a surprise attack and catch us living in a false sense of security.

User currently offlineWN boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5260 times:

I have heard this theory being floated around in various forms for years. It is, in my opinion, absurd for two reasons: 1) Roosevelt never would have done it; and 2) Roosevelt did not need to do it. First, Roosevelt was a Navy man from a Navy family. He never would knowingly have allowed the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet to be decimated as it was, much less allowed 2000 sailors to be massacred without warning.

Beyond his personal feelings, Roosevelt would not have left the entire Pacific Fleet open to destruction. It is true that the three carriers were on maneuvers during the attack, but in 1941, the fleet was built around battleships, not carriers. Contrary to some assertions on this thread, the battleships damaged or destroyed were neither old nor obsolete. Rather, they were the center of the Pacific Fleet and competitive with any battleships of their day. Fleets built around the aircraft carrier did not come about until after battles such as Pearl Harbor and Midway. At the time, naval theory still dictated the widespread use of the battleship as the lynchpin of navy operations. The aircraft carrier in 1941 was seen as an escort to the battleship. The loss of eight Dreadnaught-Class battleships was as crippling to the Pacific Fleet then as the loss of eight carriers would be today. And noting that three carriers were on maneuvers out of the harbor on December 7 is akin to taking comfort in the survival of three Aegis-class destroyers today.

More importantly, the annihilation of the Pacific Fleet was not necessary to bring the United States into the war. If Roosevelt knew, he could easily have notified the Navy which could then prepare a reception for the bombing force. The fleet could have been ready with the battleships moved out of the harbor. Anti-aircraft guns could have been prepared and fighters scrambled. With proper notice, the United States could have destroyed something more than 29 of nearly 350 Japanese aircraft that took part in the action. What's more, they could have subsequently have engaged in a retaliatory action and struck the Japanese carrier fleet. And, in the end, the result would have been the same. Regardless of the success of the attack, the mere fact that Japan attempted to attack Pearl Harbor would have been sufficient to support a declaration of war. And once in the war, we would have been in a much stronger position with notice of the attack. Therefore, it is not only impossible, but ridiculous to believe that Roosevelt knew of the attack before it occurred.

Now Churchill, on the other hand . . .

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5251 times:

A bit of background reading I found.

From my CD-ROM;

(Dec. 7, 1941), surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Hawaii, by the Japanese that precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II.

The attack climaxed a decade of worsening relations between the United States and an increasingly expansionist and militaristic Japan. Japan's invasion of China in 1937, its subsequent alliance with the Axis powers (Germany and Italy) in 1940, and its occupation of French Indochina in July 1941 prompted the United States to respond that same month by freezing Japanese assets in the United States and declaring an embargo on petroleum shipments and other vital war materials to Japan.

By late 1941 the United States had severed practically all commercial and financial relations with Japan. Though Japan continued to negotiate with the United States up to the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, the government of Prime Minister Tojo Hideki decided on war.

Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the commander in chief of Japan's Combined Fleet, had planned the attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet with great care. Once the U.S. fleet was out of action, the way for the unhindered Japanese conquest of all of Southeast Asia, the Indonesian Archipelago, and the South Pacific would be open. On November 26 a Japanese fleet, under Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi and including 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 11 destroyers, sailed to a point some 275 miles (440 km) north of Hawaii.

From there, a total of about 360 planes was launched.
The first Japanese dive bomber appeared over Pearl Harbor at 7:55 Am (local time). It was followed by a first wave of nearly 200 aircraft, including torpedo planes, bombers, and fighters.

The reconnaissance at Pearl Harbor had been lax; a U.S. Army private who noticed this large flight of planes on his radar screen was told to ignore them, since a flight of B-17s from the United States was expected at that time.

The anchored ships in the harbour made perfect targets for the Japanese bombers, and since it was Sunday morning (a time chosen by the Japanese for maximum surprise) they were not fully manned. Similarly, the U.S. military aircraft were lined up on the airfields of the Naval Air Station on Ford Island and adjoining Wheeler and Hickam Fields to guard against sabotage, and very few became airborne.

Most of the damage to the battleships was inflicted in the first 30 minutes of the assault. The Arizona was completely destroyed and the Oklahoma capsized. The California, Nevada, and West Virginia sank in shallow water. Three other battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, and other vessels were also damaged. More than 180 aircraft were destroyed.

U.S. military casualties totaled more than 3,400, including more than 2,300 killed. The Japanese lost from 29 to 60 planes, five midget submarines, perhaps one or two fleet submarines, and fewer than 100 men.
The Pearl Harbor Attack severely crippled U.S. naval and air strength in the Pacific. However, the three aircraft carriers attached to the Pacific Fleet were not at Pearl Harbor at the time and thus escaped.

Of the eight battleships, all but the Arizona and Oklahoma were eventually repaired and returned to service, and the Japanese failed to destroy the important oil storage facilities on the island. The "date which will live in infamy," as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt termed it, unified the U.S. public and swept away any earlier support for neutrality. On December 8 Congress declared war on Japan with only one dissenting vote (Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, who had also voted against U.S. entry into World War I).

The extent of the disaster and the unpreparedness of the U.S. military provoked considerable criticism. Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short, the Navy and Army commanders on Oahu, were relieved of duty, and official investigations were begun at once. Some historians and others went so far as to accuse President Roosevelt of having invited the attack (or at least done nothing to stop it) in order to bring the United States into the war against the Axis. However, later investigations indicated that, while U.S. officials had been aware that an attack by Japan was probable, they had no knowledge of the time or place at which it would occur.

Copyright © 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5249 times:

Sorry, another article in this month's History Today, published in the UK-for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the invasion;

In my researching my book Pearl Harbor – The Day of Infamy I was struck once again, ten years after I wrote The Pacific Campaign for the fiftieth anniversary, by how deeply the disaster had penetrated the American psyche despite the overwhelming US victory in 1945, and how powerful it remains as a folk-memory, with demonstrable influence on the foreign and defence policy of past and present Washington administrations.

To recount what actually happened blow by blow, as in the exhaustive Tora, Tora, Tora!, is one thing; to use the event as the backdrop to an avowed fiction, as in From Here to Eternity, is equally legitimate. But to play fast and loose with history by presenting fiction as fact is at best confusing and at worse dangerous – especially when the event is still within living memory, affects current policy and needs to be understood by the young if the lessons of history are to be truly learned.

On Roosevelt’s ‘date that will live in infamy’, six Japanese carriers launched 350 aircraft to immobilise the US battlefleet at the very moment talks were due to resume in Washington. The Americans knew Japan’s propensity for surprise attack (Korea in 1895, the Russians’ Chinese enclave at Port Arthur in 1904, Manchuria in 1931, China in 1937). They were forewarned by their Tokyo embassy of the inclusion of Pearl Harbor in Japan’s war-plans, and they intercepted signals exposing its intentions. Yet the Japanese achieved strategic surprise. But their strategic blunder in not bombing repair facilities and fuel dumps spared the US Navy the crippling embarrassment of having to withdraw 2,200 miles eastward to the continental West Coast.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, identified the US battlefleet as the only force capable of obstructing Japan. He wanted to immobilise it for six months, to present the Americans with the fait accompli of a greater Japanese empire by the time they were ready to negotiate. And so it might well have turned out, had the Tokyo junta not been tempted to improve on the perfection of such swift triumphs as the fall of Singapore and Java. In seeking to extend their new perimeter even further they incurred the destruction of their best carriers at Midway, six months after Pearl Harbor almost to the day – the turning point in the Pacific war.
Initial American reaction to Pearl Harbor included not only rage at Japanese duplicity but also incredulity based on racism. Many witnesses insisted they had seen swastikas on the bombers; surely the Germans must have been behind such a sophisticated stroke. Inability to cope with the reality of America’s most spectacular lost battle led to a flourishing conspiracy industry which sprang up within hours of the bombing.
Even today, extreme revisionists claim that British frogmen came in on the midget Japanese submarines that almost gave the game away by trying to attack before the bombers. That at least one batch of intelligence intercepts from 1941 has not yet been released is taken as proof that they must conceal the ‘smoking gun’ the revisionists so stubbornly seek to this day.

A popular song entitled ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ swept the US within weeks. The attack was the first serious assault on American territory since the early years of the republic. The cry of ‘never again’ translated into an abiding fear of pre-emptive strikes (including readiness during the Cold War to carry out a nuclear one of their own to avoid another Pearl Harbor).

The Congressional inquiry into Pearl Harbor castigated, inter alia, intelligence failures in 1941. Among the post-war countermeasures was the foundation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the much more elaborate National Security Agency, forever eavesdropping at home and abroad for whispers of surprise attack by ‘rogue states’ or by a terrorist fifth column within the gates.

The US, always in the vanguard of ideological opposition to Communism, was all the keener to confront it worldwide so as to maintain the territorial inviolability it was determined to have and to hold. Korea (1950-53), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) and then Indo-China, America’s first lost war (1975), ensued.

In the 1980s many Americans stuck to the domino theory, believing that if Communists were allowed to expand outside the Soviet bloc and China, they would soon overrun the White House.


User currently offlineAA767Boy From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 101 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5244 times:

Like I said, with the US Government you never know what they would do. I'm sure they have got lots of crap they arent telling the public. But I still dont think they would sacrifice that many lives to lose more in war.

User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 17, posted (14 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5234 times:

That is not just the US government but any government anywhere.
You're talking about politicians, the third most despicable breed on the planet (right after lawyers and telemarketeers)  Smile

Had there been a secret plot between the US and Japan to get the US into the war, it would have hatched later. The US were woefully illprepared for battle, and the Japanese came close to winning the Pacific for themselves. Had they coordinated better with the Germans (thus drawing more forces into the Atlantic theater) they could have taken Australia and started to hapilly bomb the US west coast (as it is, they did bomb the US, but those were token operations only, like the now famous B-25 raid on Tokyo).

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13605 posts, RR: 76
Reply 18, posted (14 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5212 times:

Since Watergate everything's been a big conspriracy hasn't it?
Sure FDR wanted to confront the Japs, but on his terms. These mess ups happen. If a military dictator like Hitler can plan for years not to go to war with Britain, if that absoutely couldn't be avoided at all, until 1944/45. Yet he ends up at war with us in 1939.
What hope does a democratic goverment have of avoiding similar slip-ups?
FDR knew enough about the Nazi regime to know that a confrontation with Germany was inevitable, wouldn't be much of a 'final solution' to have a huge, angry Jewish community left in the US. So Hitler would have eventually attacked the US, once he had the fleet to do it, Japs or no Japs. But first there was the British and Russians to deal with.
That FDR couldn't get America into war against Germany was his biggest political problem, he had all those highly-influencial anti-semite Nazi fellow-travellers like Lindenburg and Joe Kennedy to contend with. It was Hitler, a few days after Pearl Harbour, who declared war on America. America only declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbour.
FDR had no way of knowing if the American public would go along with a war on two fronts, as it turned out, an irrational Hitler solved his problem for him. Even then, he had to lobby hard to commit forces to the European theatre at all, shows why he's America's greatest 20th century Statesman and President.
If the US knew an Jap attack was imminent, the last thing they would have done was put the carriers to sea on a peacetime training exercise, so vunerable to submarine or surface warship attack, they'd have been in San Diego.
There is not this conspiracy mania over here. We were faced with heavy, sustained air attacks on our actual soil, not on some colony 2000 miles from home, however shocking and tragic Pearl Harbour was.
For the first couple of years, there was the threat of invasion too. Because of this desperate situation, the British pulled some real dodgy stunts. Many are of these are still not offically admitted.
That does not mean that Churchill was involved in some plot to get the Japan into the war, we lost vital bases men and equipment in the Far East, and were far too preoccupied with Hitler to do anything about it, or even have places like Singapore properly defended in the first place.
Goverments are made up of people, who are mortal and make mistakes like we all do. Any remaining wartime secrets are still classified due to habit, sensitivity to allies and official inertia.

User currently offlineWorldTraveller From Germany, joined Jun 1999, 624 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (14 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5190 times:

Thanks for all the input!!
I have been out of town for a couple of days and I think many of you raised interesting points.
From what I read, I find it rather unlikely that the U.S. deliberately let the Pearl Harbor attack happen. After all, many people in the Navy would have known about it yet nobody of them came up "telling the truth" (and making money) so far...

Best regards
the WorldTraveller

User currently offlineLV-7772 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (14 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5184 times:

I don't know about this one. It's hard to believe that the US would it happen, but I wouldn't be totally shocked "if" it was true. We will never know though.

Then again, you know:
-JFK was killed by one bullet, one man.
-M. Monroe overdosed.
-Roswell never happened.
-Area 51, (wether it's a test site or they keep the UFO and alien bodies there, whatever) doesn't exist.
-TWA 800(?) was shot down by a missile.
-US to blame for EgyptAir 990 crash, no wait! it was a suicide, no, no... it's Boeing's fault.

Everybody plays  Innocent

 Big grin

Who knows!


User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (14 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5167 times:

The United States knew an attack was coming. In fact, they knew for a few months that war with Japan was probably inevitable. But I don't think the US knew that Pearl Harbor itself would be the target. The "War Warning" put out by the US War Department a few days befoe the attack stated the possible targets as The Philippines, the Kra Peninsula and Borneo-no mention was made of Pearl, and that was one reason why Admirial Kimmel didn't increase his defenses.

Shortly before the attack, Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Stark, also was advised to telephone Admiral Kimmel in Hawaii, and he never did. Had he done so, the attack may not have been a surprise, and more attention would have been paid to the sub incursion a few hours before the attack, and maybe someone would have paid attention the the blips on the radar-which in fact was the Japanese air raid.

Also, shortly before the attack, Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall issued a statement saying that Japan had issued an ultimatum for 1pm, Wahsington time that day, and that all commands should be on alert accordingly. Unfortunately, that alert didn't reach Admiral Kimmel in Hawaii until AFTER the attack.

Had Kimmell had all this information BEFORE the attack, the Japanese may not have been as successful. To this day, I think Gen. Short and Admirial Kimmell, while they have to bear some of the blame, were made scapegoats for an incredible failure in communication.

User currently offlineIamcanadian From Canada, joined May 2001, 734 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (14 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 5162 times:

I recently did a report on Pearl Harbor. As far as I know, the americans DIDN'T know about the attack. I found out that the attack was a total surprise and the Americans only had 100 ships on-hand.

Shut up and calculate.
User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (14 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5152 times:

Iamacanadian, it wasn't the attack that was the surprise. The Japanese Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu were instructed to deliver the final part of a long message to the Secretary of State Cordell Hull at "precisely 1pm", Washington time.

The United States knew an attack was coming, but the US thought it was more likely the Philippines-far closer to the Japanese homeland, would be under the gun. The debate has always been if the U.S.-more specifically, FDR, knew that the Pacific Fleet would be attacked, and nothing I've ever read suggested that he, or anyone else in the government knew that to be true.

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