At 7:55 am on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. Five battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers were sunk with other ships damaged; 188 aircraft were destroyed on the ground; 2,403 U.S. soldiers, sailors, and civilians were killed with 1,178 wounded.
Why did the Japanese attack?
When we talk about Pearl Harbor, why doesn’t anybody ever ask why the Japanese attacked in the first place? It seems we just accept the Hollywood version of the story—that the Japanese were evil, and that’s what evil people do.
In 1941, (and still today) Japan’s economy was a midget compared to America. America was and is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and is an economic giant, while Japan had almost no iron, oil, and other resources needed for a modern economy except for a small amount of coal, which means that they relied on imports. In 1941, Japan’s chief supplier was the United States of America. Does it make sense that their generals would wake up one morning and say “Let’s go attack the world’s most powerful nation, our chief supplier of everything we need to win the current war we’re fighting against China!”?
I think not. Let’s take a look at some of the events leading up to the attack. But first, a little background. Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum was a top U.S. expert on Japan and was in charge of all intelligence to President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) about Japan. He firmly believed that we needed to get into the war to help fight Japan, but since 88% of all Americans opposed war entry, he came up with an eight point plan to change the American people’s minds through an attack by the Japanese. We don’t know if he worked with Roosevelt to provoke this attack, but his plan and Roosevelt’s actions match up almost exactly. In his plan, he wanted to place U.S. ships on English and Dutch territory (close to the Oil Fields of the Dutch East Indies), give aid to China (Japan’s enemy), move the U.S. fleet from California to Hawaii (more vulnerable), cut off all supplies to Japan, get the British and Dutch to do the same, and send heavy cruisers and submarines to the Orient.
Now, let’s take a look at the actual events leading up to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor compiled by Richard J. Maybury in his book World War II. Pay close attention to the similarities between McCollum’s plan and Roosevelt’s actions.
Apr. 1940 – President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) moves the fleet from California to Pearl Harbor. Admiral Richardson, the fleet’s commander, argues that moving to Hawaii is too dangerous.
Jul. 25, 1940 – FDR reduces supply of oil and metals to Japan.
Sep. 1940 – FDR gives 50 destroyers to Britain for use against Germany
Sep. 26, 1940 – FDR cuts off supply of iron to Japan
Oct. 1940 – Admiral Richardson flies to Washington again to protest to FDR. He wants the fleet back in San Diego where it is safe.
Oct. 4, 1940 – Winston Churchhill gives permission to put U.S. warships in Singapore, which is near the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies
Oct. 31, 1940 – Battle of Britain is won. Threat of German invasion evaporates.
Nov. 13, 1940 – Under pressure from FDR, the Dutch reduce their supply of oil to Japan and allow U.S. warships to base in the Dutch East Indies.
Dec. 17, 1940 – FDR announces the Lend-Lease act which creates an alliance between the U.S. and Britain. Besides violating the Constitution, this violated the Neutrality Act.
Dec. 31, 1940 – U.S. trade restrictions halt U.S. shipments of aviation fuel, metals, machinery and machine tools to Japan.
Jan. 1, 1941 – Twenty-four U.S. submarines have been sent to the Orient.
Jan. 24, 1941 – Navy Secretary Frank Knox is in agreement with Richardson. Pearl Harbor is dangerous.
Feb. 1, 1941 – FDR will not tolerate Richardson any longer. He replaces him with Admiral Kimmel
Mar. 11, 1941 – Congress passes FDR’s Lend-Lease Act which gives money and other resources to Britain and China. Three months later, U.S. aid will go to Stalin and anyone else who will fight Japan or Germany.
Mar. 15, 1941 – FDR begins putting cruisers and destroyers into Japanese home waters including the Bungo Strait. This would be equivalent to Japan sending warships into Chesapeake Bay or Puget Sound. FDR’s orders are secret.
May 31, 1941 – Despite angry protests from Kimmel, FDR removes 26 warships from Pearl Harbor, including three battleships. They will be sorely missed.
Jun. 22, 1941 – Hitler invades Russia. This is the beginning of the end for Germany.
Jun. 24, 1941 – FDR announces he has taken sides with Stalin against Hitler.
Jul. 19, 1941 – Director of War Plans, Admiral Turner, warns FDR that antagonizing the Japanese further will trigger an attack.
Jul. 26, 1941 – FDR freezes all Japanese assets and reduces their oil supply by 90%.
Aug 1941 – FDR has illegally given permission for the creation of the Flying Tigers to help China fight Japan.
Oct. 9, 1941 – The U.S. Government has intercepted a Japanese “bomb plot” message indicating Pearl Harbor is a target for attack by carrier based planes. No one tells Kimmel.
Nov. 25, 1941 – FDR meets with War Council. Secretary of War Stimson notes in his diary that U.S. forces are “likely to be attacked perhaps as soon as next Monday.” The president is concerned about the problem of “how should we maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot.” No one tells Kimmel.
Dec. 1, 1941 – In Hong Kong and Singapore, the British declare a state of emergency in preparation for the Japanese attack.
Dec. 6, 1941 – General Hap Arnold lands in Sacramento, California to warn the air base that war with Japan is imminent. FDR reads an intercepted Japanese message and tells his assistant Harry Hopkins, “This means war.” No one tells Kimmel.
When you know a little bit more about the events leading up to the attack and put those events in order, it becomes more clear what was actually going on. Based on FDR’s actions, he actually wanted the Japanese to attack somewhere in the Pacific. He had already jumped into the war by sending U.S. warships into Japanese Territory and providing support to Britain, China and Russia, but for full involvement, the opinions of 88% of the American people had to be changed.
A seemingly unprovoked attack at Pearl Harbor was the perfect method to change the American’s minds.
What does this mean for us today?
FDR and other top U.S. officials probably wanted to get into the war for various reasons, but here is a thought: After you spend much of your life trying to obtain power in the United States, what can you really do with it? We have a wonderful system for limiting government control—inside of our country—but the bill of rights ends at the border. For a power-seeker, I can imagine that it would be thrilling to command a global military. Give an order and minutes later, your words become the actions of a whole entire army.
There is definitely some incentive here for government officials to become involved in a war. We don’t know what exactly inspired FDR to act the way he did during WWII, but we do know what he did. His actions show that he was leading the Japanese to the attack at Pearl Harbor. Whatever his reason was, the fact that most of the American public went along with entering into the war marked the beginning of a new culture of war in America.
This new culture says that it’s okay for us to meddle with other countries’ affairs because if we don’t, another Hitler might take over the world.
The Founding Fathers saw this coming and offered advice. The constitution tells us to provide for a common defence, not offence. Thomas Jefferson taught, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none” and “they are nations of eternal war.” Likewise, George Washington said, “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow-citizen) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake.”
Since WWII, our offensive forces have increased rapidly. When the 9/11 attacks happened, the U.S. Government had troops in over 100 countries.
This endless warfare is nothing new—the countries of the old world have been at it for centuries. But we are something different. We have a very unique nation which was created by the hand of God. Up until Pearl Harbor, we tried to stay away from the contention of the old world.
If it hadn’t been for the provoked attack at Pearl Harbor, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today. The deceit at Pearl Harbor is the reason so many minds changed so quickly. Besides the fact that FDR let 2,403 people die in Hawaii, this mentality has led to hundreds of thousands more American soldiers dead in wars from WWII forward.
We need to change the mentality of policing the world and revenge sparked by Pearl Harbor to a mentality of peace and preparedness. We should be an example of peace and liberty to the rest of the world.
When we understand true history, we can understand the present better—”hindsight’s 20/20”. If we understand what really happened at Pearl Harbor over half a century ago, we can understand that even today, things may not be what some government leaders and media want us to believe. We can’t “judge the book by its cover”; instead, we need to find and reveal the true history of today.
Endnote – Was U.S. intervention necessary for an Allied Victory?
If you asked for the name of the most evil person who ever lived, most people would respond with “Hitler.” Hitler was definitely very evil—his Nazis murdered over 20 million innocent people. But our ally Stalin and his Soviet Socialists had a body count of over 42 million innocent people.
When Hitler was most powerful, he controlled 4% of the world—although for most of the war, he only controlled 2% of the world. On the other hand, Britain controlled 22% of the world during the war and the U.S.S.R. controlled 16%.
I want to be clear; Hitler was evil, but so were Stalin and many other government officials on both sides of the war. This wasn’t about good vs. evil. This was about young tyranny against old tyranny.
The claim that WWII was something new and unheard of is completely false. This is what the Old World has been doing for centuries. The only difference with WWII is that mechanized war made the murdering much more efficient—on both sides of the war—even more so on the side of the Allies.
Wait a minute… I thought that the Germans had the latest and greatest war technology ever invented. Well, they did, but that’s because Hitler chose quality over quantity.
For example, Germany’s famous V-2 and V-1 rockets were state of the art technology. They cost the Nazis billions of marks and tens of thousands of labourers. An American Bombing Survey estimated that with these resources, they could have built another 24,000 planes. 3,823 of these rocket bombs reached Britain. These same 3,823 bombs could have been dropped in one large aircraft raid—with much higher accuracy. By putting so much effort into this advanced technology, the Germans were essentially robbing themselves of 24,000 aircraft.
Another example is production of heavy bombers. As early as summer of 1940, Britain was already out-producing German heavy bombers—500 vs. 140 per month. By following this pattern of quality over quantity in every aspect of his war production, Hitler was severely handicapping himself. The truth is, Germany had no chance of winning after their invasion of Russia in June 1941. Russia’s strategy was simple: retreat until snowfall, and then attack the unprepared enemy. One of the biggest days of the war was Sept. 12, 1941—the day that snow fell in Russia.
To top it all off, the fact that the Allies controlled 90% of the world’s oil while the Axis only controlled 3% by itself is enough evidence to prove that the Axis had no chance of winning the war.
-  – Economic Geography, by R.H. Whitebeck & V.C. Finch, McGraw-Hill, NY, 1941, p.545-558
-  – Gallup Poll; Day of Deceit, by Robert B. Stinnett, p.17
-  – Day of Deceit, by Robert B. Stinnett, The Free Press (Simon & Schuster), NY, 2000, p.10
-  – And I Was There, by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, William Morrow, NY, 1985, p.121
-  – “One Last Combat Victory”, by Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1991, p.1
-  – And I Was There, by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, William Morrow, NY, 1985, p.158-163
-  – And I Was There, by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, William Morrow, NY, 1985, p.195
-  – Days of Infamy, by Michael Coffey, Hyperion, NY, 1999, p.135
-  – The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor, by Admiral Robert A. Theobald, Devin-Adair, NY, 1954, p.28
-  – Gallup Poll; Day of Deceit, by Robert B. Stinnett, p.17
-  – Thomas Jefferson, 1823
-  – Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796
-  – Times Atlas of World History, Hammond Inc. Maplewood, NJ, 1986, p.272-73
-  – Stephen Leacock, Our British empire; its structure, its history, its strength (1941) pp. 266–75
-  – Times Atlas of World History, Hammond Inc. Maplewood, NJ, 1986, p.244
-  – Why The Allies Won, by Richard Overy, W.W. Norton & Co., NY, 1995, p.240
-  – Days of Infamy, by Michael Coffey, Hyperion, NY, 1999, p.66
-  – Why The Allies Won, by Richard Overy, W.W. Norton & Co., NY, 1995, p.228