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Declassified Memo Hinted of 1941 Hawaii Attack

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by syscom3, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Declassified Memo Hinted of 1941 Hawaii Attack - Washington Whispers (usnews.com)

    Three days before the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt was warned in a memo from naval intelligence that Tokyo's military and spy network was focused on Hawaii, a new and eerie reminder of FDR's failure to act on a basket load of tips that war was near.


    In the newly revealed 20-page memo from FDR's declassified FBI file, the Office of Naval Intelligence on December 4 warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii."


    The memo, published in the new book "December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World"
    went on to say that the Japanese were collecting "detailed technical information" that would be specifically used by its navy. To collect and analyze information, they were building a network of spies through their U.S. embassies and consulates.

    Historian and acclaimed Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of the just released December 1941, doesn't blame FDR for blowing it, but instead tells Whispers that it "does suggest that there were more pieces to the puzzle" that the administration missed. The 70th anniversary of the attack is next month.

    read the above link for the whole story

    A link for the book:

    December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World
     
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  2. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    The missing pieces to a puzzle are always seen in plain sight once the puzzle has been solved. We always marvel at how we could have missed them. There were many events leading up to the attack that we look at now and see that they could have given our leaders cause to alert Pearl that they were a target. The fact is, our leaders were not surprised at all that the Japanese attacked us-they had been expecting it and saw it as inevitable, but they were certain that the attacks would come in the south all our intel pointed to PI and the other areas around the South China Sea. This was actually the case-all the major efforts of the Japanese were pointed to those areas. The PH attack was not a major offensive but simply a hit and run raid carried out by a relatively small number of ships operating at high speed through the stormy North Pacific.
     
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  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    This is a great example of the use of selective wording to distort the facts - and, incidentally, attract more hits to your website and sell more books. The headline and first paragraph imply that the memo singled out Hawaii as a target of Japanese intelligence efforts, but the one sentence actually quoted - from a 20-page memorandum - gives equal weight to "the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii". Presumably out of 20 pages this was the most provocative quote they could find.

    Nor does "building a network of spies through their U.S. embassies and consulates" indicate an emphasis on any one particular place, in fact just the opposite, a widespread effort to collect information on all aspects of their opponent (small point, a nation has only one embassy in another nation, though it may have many consulates).
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Spot on. Japanese military would be interested in the Pearl Harbor base, home for Pacific Fleet. Besides when was the last time a president read a 20 page memo anyway?
     
  5. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    ... Opana's post re: 20-20 Hindsight vs. Historical Analysis comes to mind here.

    This reminds me of connect the dots, where the 20-20 Re-Visionist guy picks out a dozen dots to join A) Japan to B) Attack Pearl Harbour, where there are actually 1,000 dots between A&B. Great "In the Know" reading, sells lots of books, makes for many loudmouthed "Conspiratory Theorist "Experts" wandering around boards like this, begging to be slapped around.
     
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  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The information isn't new, just that document.
     
  7. arthur45

    arthur45 Member

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    Notice that the memo was wrong on two out of three possible areas of attack. FDR,like any President, relies on his military
    chiefs. Even if he had phoned Stark or Marshall directly, they would have told him what they themselves believed - that warnings (the war warning) had already been sent to all Pacific commands. They had a right to assume that the highest ranking naval officer and an Army corps commander possessed common sense and would be on the alert.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    They were on alert. The problem was they were expecting something different than what historically occured. Indeed Short put in place a number of measures that had a significant negative impact on the readiness vs the air strike but which would have been very useful vs the expected sabotage actions.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    And Short notified Washington that he was at Alert Level One. He didn't, however, notify Washington that he had unilaterally inverted the alert system, so "One" was now the lowest level. He did say "alerted against sabotage" as an appendage to that statement, but he was supposed to be alert to sabotage since the last war warning, back in November, so that seemed redundant to the folks in Washington.
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Stalin had also been warned prior to Barbarossa. The thing about Pearl Harbor and Barbarossa is that both offensives seemed so unprobable, the warning probably went unheeded among many dozen other ones.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    We were are aware that the Japanese were moving south, but were not aware that Pearl would be attacked.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed if one really wanted to point out a lack of preparedness where it should have been the Philipines are a rather outstanding example. We knew they would be hit and hit early (probably pre declaration) in a war with Japan.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Six months would have helped there. There would have been over 100 B-17s and the Filipino army would have been better equipped and better trained.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed. But Mac going to sulk in his room for the first 24 hours or so didn't help either. They were ultimately indefenceable at that point but more might have been acomplished if there had been plans in place and/or a timely resoponse.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Unfortunately, the war didn't start when it was supposed to."

    Mac did better than Stalin in the kind of thing.
     
  16. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    If a commander has to be told how to do his job he is not qualified for it. Kimmels defence that he wasnt told information is not an accepted defence and he would not have accepted that excuse from a subordinate. The navy is a cruel boss and failure no matter what the reason generally results in removal from the job. Stark was removed from his job as CNO because of his failures after Pear.l Also,Frank Fletcher after two less then good performances at Coral sea and Midway was removed as task force commander and never got a job again as a TF commander.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Unless you start them they rarely do and sometimes not even then.
    I hadn't even thought to compare them. Would take a fair amount of reading for me to be able to do so. Again from my rather limited reading Mac seemed to have 24 hour recovery period when hit by a surprise. I seem to recall reading that the same thing happened in Korea when the Chinese attaked though.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Life is what happens while you're making other plans."
    Dzugashvili went into seclusion after Barbarossa started and didn't come out until, IIRC, July 9th. The country had to run without the Great Leader during the worst crisis so far in its history.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    What are they playing? Golf? Low score wins.

    Mac lost Manila in less than a month, Stalin never lost Moscow.

    In six months Stalin had stopped the Germans at the gates of Moscow, in 3 and a half months Mac stopped at the gates of Australia.

    Stalin took Berlin in roughly the same amount of time it took for Mac to return to Manila.

    And the "winner" is?


    Seriously, if the United States had not been so desperately in need of a "hero", MacArthur would have been nailed to a cross just as Kimmel & Short were.


    100 B-17s in the Philippines just means that many more destroyed or retreating to the Philippines. The only noteworthy thing the 35 B-17s present in the Philippines accomplished was a figment of American imagination, namely B-17 pilot Colin Kelly flying his crippled B-17 into the Japanese battleship Haruna(which did not arrive in the Philippines area until some weeks after Kelly's death.)

    The Philippine Army needed years of training, not just six months, not to mention a massive upgrade of equipment.
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Takao, I was specifically referring to Dugout Doug's catatonia, not to his overall performance.

    We might need another thread on the state of the Philippines defenses.
     

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