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Pearl Harbor Essay, Research Paper

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the Commander in Chief, of the United States’ Pacific Fleet, was looking forward to a relaxing 9-hole round of golf. His match with General Walter Short was scheduled for 9:30A.M. Hawaii Time. One hour and 45 minutes before he was set to tee off, Kimmel received a phone call from Commander Vincent Murphy reporting the sighting of a Japanese submarine in the Pearl Harbor entry channel. Just as Kimmel was exiting his quarters, the USS Arizona burst into flames. The first wave of Japan’s December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor lasted from 7:53 A.M.-8:25 A.M. First Oahu’s marine airfields were bombed, crippling the island’s air defenses. Commander Mitsuo Fuchida explained the Japanese strategy to first knock out the island’s defense, then temporally disable the United States’ Pacific fleet by “sinking battleships and aircraft carriers.” Battleship Row, consisting of eight battleships, was first hit by torpedo-plane assault at 7:55a.m. At 8:10a.m the forward powder magazine of the USS Arizona exploded; 90% of her crew died. The USS Utah capsized at 8:12a.m. The USS Maryland did the same twenty minutes later. The second raid began at around nine just as Rear Admiral Walter Anderson arrived and began to direct rescues and damage control. It ended at 9:35a.m. The entire course of Battleship row took hits. The USS California, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, and Nevada all were struck by enemy fire. When the Japanese began their return to their carriers, 2,273 Army and Navy were dead, 1,119 were wounded. Sixteen out of the 101 warships anchored at Pearl Harbor were extremely damaged. Five would not fight in the remainder of WWII: Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, Cassin, and Downes. 96 Army Air Force planes were destroyed, as were 92 of the Navy ad Marine air bases. Japan also captured 1,951 prisoners of war from the military and civilian populations of Guam and Wake Island. Fifteen civilians were killed, and many more were injured. The entire population of the Hawaii Islands, 400,000, was put in serious risk. Six carriers of the First Air Fleet, who were carrying 414 aircraft, delivered this colossal damage. The United States had now been formally invited into WWII. In retrospect, many people have wondered if the U.S. was aware of the invitation before it was delivered. Not only did the United States know Japan was going to stage a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, they purposely provoked it. Franklin D. Roosevelt needed a way to rally the American public to go to war. His answer was Pearl Harbor. In the summer of 1940 opinion polls showed the American people did not wish to enter in the European wars. America’s government was busy trying to find a way to change their mind. Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Naval Intelligence found that way. McCollum wrote a memorandum containing eight actions he believed would provoke Japan into an act of war against The United States, specifically in Hawaii. Once Japan attacked America, the people would certainly thing war was in order. The eight-action memo, dated October 7, 1940 called for these acts: A. Convince Britain to allow America’s use of bases in the Pacific. B. Convince Holland for America’s use of bases in the Dutch East Indies. C. Aid the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek in any possible manner. D. Send a group of heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore. E. Send two groups of submarines to the Orient. F. Maintain the presence of the US Fleet in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands. G. Demand that the Dutch not grant oil to the Japanese. H. Stop all trade with Japan. This memo was then sent to two of Roosevelt’s best military advisors: Navy captains Walter S. Anderson and Dudley W. Knox. From this point on, McCollum’s suggestions were made a reality. Throughout 1941, this memorandum seemed to be the principle motivations behind Roosevelt’s policies. Roosevelt, during a secret White House meeting, labeled Action D “pop-up” cruises, “I just want them to keep popping up here and there and keep the Japs guessing. I don’t mind losing one or two carriers….” Roosevelt then moved on to Action F. On October 8, 1940, the day after the eight-action memo was sent out, Roosevelt had a meeting with Admiral James O. Richardson. Richardson exploded at the President’s suggestion to keep the US fleet in Hawaii. This cost him his naval career. On February 1, 1941 he was relieved of his command. This same day Roosevelt approved a two Ocean Navy. He picked Kimmel as the new commander of the Pacific Fleet. Roosevelt took special care to place officers in fleet command positions that would not object to his provocation policy. Before Richardson was relieved he placed many objection to the president about keeping the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. After one disappointing meeting with the president Richardson remarked, “I came away with the impression that, despite his spoken word, the President was fully determined to put the United States into the war.” In early September 1940 the President had already taken four steps to bring America to war. He sent America’s first peacetime Draft Act to Congress, he called up the National Guard to active duty, he traded fifty US Navy destroyers to Britain for the lease of bases in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and British Guiana, and he created a two-ocean Navy. Republicans were outraged. “The destroyer trade is an outright declaration of war,” said Senator Gerald Nye. By the new years, three of McCollum’s eight proposals were already enacted, Actions E, F, and G. Intern, Japan-American Diplomatic Relations were deteriorating. Japan’s new attitude towards America was evident in an intercepted radio message sent by Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsouka on January 30, 1941; “In view of the critical situation between the two countries we must be prepared for the worst.” Japan began planing for their surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1940. Admiral Yamamoto, by mid-January 1941, had secretly drawn out his Pearl Harbor Attack plan. Commander Arthur H. McCollum’s memorandum, and Roosevelt’s plan was working. If you care to dismiss this evidence and not concede that the United States intentionally provoked Japan to an overt act of war, it is virtually impossible to discount the copious amount of proof that the United States was at least well aware of Japan’s impending Pearl Harbor attack. After Admiral Yamamoto laid out his attack plan of Pearl Harbor, he soon began to circulate it among trusted Japanese naval officers. Eventually the scheme was leaked to the US embassy in Tokyo. Max W. Bishop, third secretary of the embassy, was waiting in line to exchange some US money for some Yen, when he was tapped on the shoulder by Peruvian minister to Japan, Dr. Ricardo Rivera Schreiber. Shreiber told Bishop, “Japanese military forces were planning, in the event of trouble with the United States, to attempt a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor using all their military resources.” Bishop hurried back to the embassy, and had a message draft approved by State Department Ambassador Joseph Grew. MYPERUVIAN COLLEAGUE TOLD A MEMBER OF MY STAFF THAT HE HAD HEARD FROM MANY SOURCES INCLUDING A JAPANESE SOURCE THAT THE JAPANESE MILITARY FORCES PLANNED IN THE EVENT OF TROUBLE WITH THE UNITED STATES, TO ATTEMPT A SURPRISE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR USING ALL OF THEIR MILITARY FACILITIES. HE ADDED THAT ALTHOUGH THE PROJECT SEEMED FANTASTIC THE FACT THAT HE HAD HEARD IT FROM MANY SOURCES PROMPED HIM TO PASS THE INFORMATION. GREW The next morning, January 27, Secretary of State Cordell Hull read the message. Hull, then sent the message to Army Intelligence and the Office. McCollum received the message as proof that his insight policy had worked. Yet, rather than warning the Pacific Fleet, McCollum sent his take on what he called “rumors” to the newly appointed Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, “The division of Naval Intelligence places no credence in these rumors. Furthermore, based on known data regarding the present disposition and employment of the Japanese naval and army forces, no move against Pearl Harbor appears imminent or planned for in the foreseeable future.” This tip was far from the only hint of Pearl Harbor that the Americans got. The Japanese Foreign Ministry sent two messages on December 5, which stated that War between America and Japan would begin on December 7. United State’s Interception stations US, CAST, and FIVE all intercepted the messages and decoded them in a matter of hours. Yet, there is no evidence that either message was forwarded to Hawaii. America’s policy of avoiding hindering of Japan’s first plain act of war is even more apparent in four diplomatic intercepts intercepted December 6 and 7. The first message sent by Tokyo to Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura in Washington was a pilot message saying that Japan would reply to American-Japanese negotiations. The second message contained 13 parts of the reply, while the third message contained the 14th part. The last intercept set a deadline of 1:00 P.M. December 7th, for the Ambassador to sever Japanese relations with America. Washington’s senior military leaders realized that 1:00 P.M. EST was 7:30 a.m. in Hawaii. President Roosevelt received all four translated intercepts over a twelve hour period from 9:30 P.M. Saturday December 6, and 10:A.M., December 7. Suspiciously delivery of these messages to Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall was delayed for fifteen hours. Yet, American knowledge of the upcoming Pearl Harbor Attack does not end here. Ensign Takeo Yoshikawa, a Japanese naval spy who went under the name Tadashi Morimura, on August 21, drew a bomb-map message of Pearl Harbor. This map had a detailed layout of where the ships at Pearl Harbor were located. The Intercept station US in Washington received this message and successfully decoded it. Captain Theodore Wilkinson Director of Naval Intelligence commented, “We were cognizant of the fact that espionage on the fleet was underway….” Later, on September 24, Tokyo made a request for a more detailed and precise bomb-map of Pearl Harbor. Yoshikawa completed this second map on Monday, September 29. Four United States spy stations; SAIL, CAST, Station TWO, and Station SEVEN intercepted both the request and map. The Pearl Harbor investigations have shown that this knowledge was treated with indifference. It continues. On Tuesday, December 2, Yoshikawa sent a message to Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, leader of the air attack at Pearl Harbor: NO CHANGES OBSERVED BY AFTERNOON OF 2 DECEMBER, SO FAR THE DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN ALERTED. SHORE LEAVE AS USUAL. This message was intercepted Friday afternoon, December 5. This message and another more specific dispatch sent by Yoshikawa were both intercepted and decoded before December 6, yet they failed to reach the person who needed them most: Admiral Kimmel. A RCA office in Honolulu intercepted a total of 23 messages between December 1 and December 6. Nine of these were routine “business type” messages, the others were spy messages. Every routine message was decoded and translated prior to the attack. Strangely enough though, none of the spy messages were solved until after Pearl Harbor, even though they were in the same code system. Even if there was no intercepts to draw from, United States still had a vivid picture of Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack from their actions before hand. Stepping back and examining a more expansive array of evidence we see that a many clues of upcoming war with Japan were quite apparent. By July 1941 President Roosevelt had enacted all of McCollum’s proposals. After this task was complete a clear change in Japanese war preparations manifested itself. Japan took three hostile steps that clearly showed war was approaching. They drafted 500,000 males into their armed forces, merchant vessels usually take orders from civilians were now under military control, and Japanese warships and planes were recalled from bases in China. The United States responded to this by pushing the Japanese even farther. America closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping and seized Japanese assets in America. Also the United States placed an effective petroleum product embargo on Japan, the previous one of 1940 did little to prevent Japan from getting all the oil it wanted from America. However America did allow Japan to be provided with just enough oil to stage an attack. In the early morning of December 7, 1941, America still had chances to prepare for the 7:53 A.M. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Crewmen of the minesweeper USS Condor sighted a Japanese submarine about one and three-quarters off the Pearl Harbor entrance, the time was 3:42 A.M. The Condor sent a message to the destroyer USS Ward but when the Ward made a sonar search for the sub it turned up nothing. At 6:30 A.M. a large supply ship, the Antares, sighted the sub again and again asked the Ward to investigate. This time the Ward sighted the sub, and finished it off with some depth charges. Surely one would think this would put the Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor at a ready alert, but it did not. America now had one last chance to prevent the Pearl Harbor catastrophe. Between 6:30 A.M. and 7:15 A.M., two Army radar operators spotted the first wave of Japanese craft closing in on Oahu. As the two large blips moved closer, they became alarmed and radioed Army’s Aircraft Warning Service, saying, “it was the largest group of planes I ever saw on a oscilloscope.” The two operators, privates Joseph Lockard and George Elliot, were told to “forget it” by Lieutenant Kermit Tyler. As the blips moved closer Lockard tried again to alarm Tyler, but Tyler would not get on the phone until 7:20 A.M. Even then he wrote the sightings off as “nothing.” The Pearl Harbor debacle is one of the most disturbing stories in America’s history. Many pieces of evidence presented above alone should have been enough to prevent the victims at Pearl Harbor from being caught so off-guard. All of this documentation together surely should have. Yet, Franklin D. Roosevelt along with many others in Washington provoked Japan into an attack as a way in which to unify the country for war. Although their motive of fighting for freedom is honorable, were the sacrifices they made in order to join the crusade worth it?


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