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John T. Flynn blames Pearl Harbor catastrophe on FDR

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by DogFather, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. OpanaPointer

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

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    That might have worked, except people like Flynn were fighting the expansion of the US military, and he was one of the people who urged Wheeler to insist on the embargoes as part of the deal that got the Two Ocean Navy Act passed. So, in effect, you can say that the attack on Pearl Harbor could be blamed on the people who refused to allow a credible pre-war military establishment when it would have done the most good.
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    On the wisdom of the attack on Pearl Harbor I would say a few things,

    The Japanese decision to go to war with the west was of course a political one as much as a military one. Granted Military men who controlled the government made the decision to expand the war. It is not however totally uncommon for nations to underestimate or mis-perceive the cost or win-ability of a war when they first embark on them. as examble As an example Britain's attempt to hold her American colonies, France in Algeria and Indochina, The US in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afganistan. Nations tend to repeat battle tactics which have worked in the past until they are shown to no longer work.

    The PH attack was very much a carbon copy of the Japanese attack on the Russian Pacific Fleet in 1905, followed by the destruction of the Russian Baltic Fleet, who had to make a long and difficult cruise, in a classic naval battle. It was a stategy that worked before, and was hoped to do so again.
    The stategy was to disrupt the USN's ability to strike back long enough to construct enough defence's to make an American attack too costly to be pursued. Considering Japan's resources, perhaps the only strategy that had any hope to work.

    Had the PH attack gone as planned, and yes no battleplan survives contact with the enemy, there would have been a DoW before the attack helping to negate the 'sneak attack' impression. At least 1 CV would have been caught in the attack. A third or fourth wave could have desrtoyed the tank farm, dry docks and more ships. Had this happened the US counterattack would have been slowed considerably.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

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

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    You have a source for this?
     
  4. Mark4

    Mark4 Ace

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    The economical situation in Japan should also be noted as well the Japanese was in desperate need of scrapmetal and oil after the US trade embargo after the Japanese attacks in China. If I remember correctly they only had enough fuel to last from 6 months to a year also they needed other natural resources like Rubber now all of these resorces could be found in southeast Asia and the Dutch east indies respectively. But now they had to secure a proper and safe trade route to take these precious resources to Japan which promted the invasion of Singapore after a brilliant victory thier and the sinking of the British war ships they now had to turn to America. Now due to strong isolationist movement in America (which I dispise) I doubt FDR would declare war on Japan but overconfidence clouded thier judgement and they attacked pearlharbor so they can prevent American reinforcements to the Philipeanes and with victory thier they had the resources and safepasage they wanted which they will enjoy for only for a few months and the down fall of Japan was only a matter of time.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    No specific source, but the desire to 'officialy' declare war before the attack unlike 1905 seems to indicate that there was some understanding on Japan's part that how a true sneak attack would be perceived.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

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

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    I am unaware of any desire to declare war before the attack. That's why I asked you for a source, in case I'd missed something. I know there was a desire to not tip off the attack before hand, which is why Yamamoto insisted that the 14-part Message be delivered no sooner than 1/2 hour before the attack. This would make it impossible for Washington to notify Pacific commands before the attack hit T. H.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

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

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    You can get a very good feel for the Japanese thinking as it leads them to war by reading the Monographs: http://ibiblio.org/pha/monos/
     
    rkline56 likes this.
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In many ways the attack went off better than expected. They expected to loose at least one of thier carriers I believe and perahps several. I think that they also sank more battleships than they expected to. They also did a much more through job of destroying the air strength of the USAAF than they expected. In spite of all that third or forth wave would probably have produced prohibitive losses to their best air crews.

    I think it's been pointed out perhaps even in this thread that a DoW prior to or even during the attack was not even part of the plan.
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    IMO absolving the military for "not knowing the IJN had the capability to refuel at sea" is like holding Gamelin blameless for what happened in May 1940 because "he didn't know the Germans could get to the Meuse in 3 days", having a good grasp of what an opponent can do is part of the job description, I'm not an expert on this but AFAIK there were plenty of simulations and wargames pointing to the fact that it was possible if the Japanese were willing to gamble.
    The "we can't do it so we assume they can't as well" mentality was one of the main reason for the initial defeats, German and Japanese military were risk takers to a degree that took the allied comanders by surprise time and again, looking at relative strength tthey could never win an attrition was so it should have been pretty obvious that they were going to the high risk rouad in the hope of a short war.

    Were the fuel and aviation stores on the japanese CVs up to a third and fourth strike? IIRC the amounts of bombs and avgas they carried was limited. Pilot fatigue would also play a role, they had been running on adrenalin for days.

    And finally why were the philippines "indefensible" against an enemy that was at the same time facing huge commitments against the Chinese and British Empire forces (leaving aside the need to garrison the Siberian border) ? That the same enemy that couldn't possibly raid PH was considered capable of irresistible operations against the Philippines doesn't make much sense.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

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

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    T.O.S., the military was guilty of a fair share of things, but failing to be a foreteller was not one of them. The exercises you refer to didn't take into account whether or not the Japanese could actually reach the T.H., as far as we knew they couldn't. They were more to critique our defense of this kind of installation than an actual threat assessment.

    As for the IJN planes, the decision to not launch a second attack was Nagumo's, and based on "don't push your luck" foremost. He had his instructions from Yamamoto, "bring the carriers BACK!"
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I agree Japan did not intend to allow the US to act before the attack occured, only to go though the motions. By our standards not a fair warning, but by theirs something of a concession.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

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

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    In principle, I agree. The declaration of war was delivered to our Ambassador Grew as detailed in the following document:

    269
     
  13. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    From OP
    I worked with the Japanese for 23 years and lived there for three. This is a very good read. They have a very different thought process than Westerners. I still like to study Kurosawa films (especially his 40-50's work) to learn their philosophies and culture today - enlightening to say the least. I really abhor the callous way they prosecuted their war in Nanking, Manchuria, P.I. etc. but could not see any of that fanaticism in any of my friends and co-workers and I studied them (looking for a hint). It was like it is all buried away deep, indoctrinated out of them. Thank you for your always useful posts.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

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

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    Hai! (Not, "Hi!", btw.) I was there for two-three years in the early 80s and never met anyone I wouldn't introduce to my parents. I think they learned a lot from the war, and have taken it to heart.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    From when I've seen this discussed on other boards I don't think munitions of fuel would have been a major constraint. However it is very likely that they wouldn't have been able to launch and land another wave before dark on the 7th so that would have meant waiting around to lauch a third and possibly 4th raid until the next day if weather permitted. They also had quite a few planes with combat damage mostly from the 2nd attack when US forces were still not full functional. An attack the next day would have seen stronger ground and air defenses which would have meant more casualties and less effect than the first two waves plus a much greater chance the US would find and attack the carriers.
     
  16. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    I dug Adm J O Richardson's Memoirs out of the main public library, in the city were I live. The reference librarian had never
    heard of Richardson, or his book. He looked it up for me, it was in the goverment archives and he was not sure it circulated. I went to goverment archives section and was able to check the book out.

    When I asked about Prange's ADWS, oh he had heard of that. Public knowledge of an event like Pearl Harbor seems, at
    least to some extent, on how well books about the subject have been marketed and how much publicity they have rec'd.

    Richardson's Memoirs say "Department of the Navy, United States of America", on the cover. Apparantly the book was never designed or marketed, to the general public, like some other better known books on the Pearl Harbor Attack. I don't know why this would be, other than that is the way the media sometimes works.

    Anyway, as far as calling Richardson a lier, in the Perface of the book, is a 1958 statement by Richardson, "when the
    manuscript of On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor neared completion". Richardson had kept a diary, which contained "frank"
    and "highly critical" info and opinions of officers of the Navy and goverment officials of the 1939-1941 period.

    Richardson chose to burn his diary along with letters and naval communications, after WW2 ended. He then says " I regret
    the burning" and it would have been of big help in writing my memoirs. He was clearly a man conflicted about what to tell about the period prior to Dec 7, 1941 and what should not. I can see why, it was just a very sticky situation.

    I really think his main concern, was the best interest of the US Navy and our nation in general, and just not sure how much should get out.
     
  17. OpanaPointer

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

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    Loving your weak innuendos, Dogfather. Ever heard of the GPO?
     
  18. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    Well I have not heard of it as an acronym before no. But the US Government Printing Office, sure I have heard of that.
    Did they somehow recover the diary Adm Richardson burned, after WW2 ended and then print it?
     
  19. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    If the innuendo you are referring to is a CT, which has been your history, on this forum. When you run
    out of ammo, you call me names. I perfer Pearl Harbor cover-up reality explainer, to CTer. This would make you a Pearl Harbor cover-up reality denier. Maybe I could think of an acronym, for that phrase, make things
    a little easier. :D
     
  20. OpanaPointer

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

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    I was just pointing out that you are, as usual, pretending to be a detached observer while spieling CT wildly. If doesn't work.
     

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