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Was FDR to blame for Pearl Harbor?

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by DogFather, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    That's the conclusion I have come to; he was commander & chief after all.
    He took actions that would likely led to war with Japan, despite the reality
    that our military was not ready. Admiral Richardson, who warned about the vunerablity of PH was removed from command, for doing so. In one
    account I read, he was told he "hurt the presidents feelings".

    I understand others were also at fault. The Brits used radar to help win the BoB, in 1940. So, it was clear, radar was effective and a working, well
    staffed radar station, with the abilty to warn the air fields and harbor,
    should have been in place. All communications should have been synchronized, between Army & Navy. These things should have gotten
    done by Short & Kimmel.

    I also question moving the fleet to Pearl, in the first place. The older
    battleships should have been protecting the US coast, at 21 nt, that's
    about all they were able to accomplish.
     
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  2. OpanaPointer

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

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    Sigh, oh sigh.

    First, FDR was trying to avoid war with Japan. The oil embargo was a demand by the Republicans in Congress, and something FDR reluctantly agreed to.

    Second, Adm. J.O. Richardson did NOT worry about an attack on Pearl. His problem was centered around logistics.

    Third, the radar setup at Oahu was just getting started. They still didn't have a way to communicate the results of radar searches to the pilots. And the radars only ran 3 hours a day, Opana Point was just killing time waiting for the chow truck. If they had following SOP they would never have seen the blip.

    As for communications, what problems do you have with the SOP of the time?

    Fourth, the Fleet was sent to Pearl as a DETERRENT. It was the best option we had at the time.
     
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  3. KMDjr

    KMDjr Member

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    Hello,

    Yes, this absurd conspiracy theory stuff never dies...:rolleyes:

    But, I guess one could therefore make the same accusation against the rightwing Republican, GEN Douglas MacArthur, in the Philippines...when he "allowed" his air force to be destroyed on the ground on December 8th, with more foreknowledge than FDR in WAshington or USN & USA commanders in Pearl ever had. A far more devastating blow, as it turned out, to the Allied cause in the SW Pacific during 1941-42 than the destruction at Pearl Harbor.

    To deal w/the PH Conspiracy Nonsense: Logical impasse #1-- Had FDR conspired to allow the IJN to destroy the PacFlt, he would have had to have let Kimmel, Short, et al. in on the plan, too. Otherwise how could the fleet have been so positioned and coordinated for the Japanese attack?
    Is that the contention here then? That Kimmel & Short also knew in advance and acceded to this plot? How silly this is, and motivated more by oldtime USN pride ("We couldn't have possibly been caught offguard like that!") and/or current political bigotry more than by any rational examination of the facts.

    FDR took actions that would lead to war? He wanted the Japanese to be perceived as making the first overt act of aggression, yes, but this does not suggest he willingly & knowingly positioned the PacFlt --with the cooperation of Kimmel, Short, & others--at Pearl in order to have it crushed on December 7th.

    Without wishing to debate something already so thoroughly discredited, this post also doesn't understand the previous decades of Japanese aggression in the Far East. Clearly it was the Japanese--with their "Asia For the Asiatics!" slogans--who were hellbent upon war, not the Americans. Nor is there much understanding of our warplans for the prior three decades displayed here, which most surely did not involve our BBs protecting the West Coast from a fantasy invasion, etc. The big concern for the navy at PH in 1940-41 was, as correctly noted, logisitics/fuel.

    Richardson rightly doubted the deterrent value of the PacFlt's presence in Hawaii, and in this he was overruled by FDR, but given the circumstances, what were we to do? Be intimidated by the Japanese to the extent of abandoning all of our interests in the Far East without a word or a fight? The vets (officers & sailors) of the USN from that era that I have known over many years weren't that passive...and not the types to have been bullied by anyone, least of all the Japanese.

    Lastly, having studied for some years--at no small expense by the way, translations being awfully expensive-- a fair amount of Japanese literature on the attack, as well as subsequent IJN operations, nothing could be more further from the truth or more ridiculous...The Japanese were resigned to losing a huge number of planes and possibly several carriers in the attack, and all of their literature--both primary & secondary--documents this. Their mindset was one of fatalistic exhilaration. Many believed quite seriously that they would be killed. That would have hardly been likely had they known they would be achieving such a complete & unforeseen tactical surprise...with the full cooperation of the PacFlt!:eek:
     
  4. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    General Short and Admiral Kimmel actually worked quite well together and did much to cut out all of the traditional red tape between the Army and Navy to better streamline communications and strategic planning between the two services. Unfortunately, they were concentrating solely upon defending against internal sabotage by the sizeable Japanese populace on Oahu rather than an IJN air attack.

    Admiral Richardson clearly wanted the Pacific Fleet to be based at San Pedro, its traditional home port because Pearl Harbor was a crowded anchorage with only one outlet. PH was also not the modern fleet base then, that it is today. Much of the shipyard and support facilities were still under construction, while much of its defensive artillery and aircraft were still on the drawing board, or in transit from the US. The logistics trail back to the states was long and could be easily compromised, if not cut entirely. Richardson quarrelled with FDR and was fired for his beliefs. At about this same time, the Pacific Fleet lost one of its aircraft carriers, the USS Yorktown and a number of its battleships, cruisers, destroyers and support ships that were sent back to support the Atlantic Fleet in the undeclared "U-Boat War". In the end, Richardson learned the hard way that a sailor or soldier, no matter how high their rank, does not openly argue with the wishes of a sitting US President.

    In retrospect, Pearl Harbor turned out to be a near perfect base of operations for the Pacific Fleet. It's location posed a direct threat to Japanese ambitions and further conquest throughout the Pacific. Throughout the entire war, hundreds of supply convoys and thousands of fighting ships were directed from Pearl Harbor to campaign areas throughout the Pacific Theatre of Operations. It's safe to say that US aspirations in the Pacific would have been substantially complicated and the duration of the war substantially prolonged had we not had Pearl Harbor as our primary military staging base in the Pacific.

    Lastly, those older US Battleships rendered invaluable service throughout the entire war in both theatres of operations once they were substantialy modernized and upgunned. While it's true that nothing could be done about their limited speed, the older battleships proved to be perfect in the role of bombardment ships, where their accurate heavy caliber main guns and secondary armament could be utilized in softening up shore targets for US Marine and Army troops during invasions on all fronts in the Atlantic and Pacific. Even when used in their traditional role during the Battle of Surigao Straits, they performed magnificently, utterly destroying an oncoming Japanese Battleship task force by "crossing their T."
     
  5. OpanaPointer

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

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    John Dudek saith:
    The two senior officers met frequently and got along well. In fact, Kimmel left Short standing on his front law in his golf togs while the Admiral dashed for the Operations office on Dec. 7th. (This was before the aerial attack began, BTW. Kimmel was coming in to check out Ward's report of a sub way inside our comfort zone. (Which just goes to show that people who say the sub report was ignored are stuffed full of blueberry muffins, as my mother would say.))
     
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  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Roosevelt was NOT responsible for Pearl Harbor.
     
  7. rebel1222

    rebel1222 Member

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    YES. The evidence is overwhelming.
     
  8. rebel1222

    rebel1222 Member

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  9. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Evidence of what is overwhelming?
     
  10. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    I didn't say anything about a conspiracy, politics or Douglas MacArthur.
    FDR moved the fleet to a base that was very difficult to defend, after
    firing a commander who told him this was not a good idea. As it turned
    out, we lost the battleships, that were getting old anyway. Had we lost
    the carriers as well, the war might have lasted much longer. Just because
    it turned out alright, doesn't mean it was not an error in judgement on the
    part of FDR.
     
  11. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Well then you have no idea what the word conspiracy means
     
  12. 505Dan

    505Dan Member

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    For what its worth, Anyone ever read Day of Deceit the truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert B Stinnett? It about 250 pages plus another 100 pages of intellgence briefs and notes. Its been a while since I read it so I can't quote directly from it , but the gist of it , he knew and let it happen, to have a rallying point to get the US in WW2.

    out

    Dan
     
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  13. rebel1222

    rebel1222 Member

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    Spot on Dan. I've read the book twice (among other sources), and the evidence of his responsibility is overwhelming. He needed that galvanizing effect to rally the people for the war, and to snuff out the isolationist movement.

    The book is a must read.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

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

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    Stinnett is a senile old man, if not already deceased. His premise, that FDR had access to JN-25 messages FROM the Kido Butai is absurd. He took the "decrypts" from Homer Wallin's book on Pearl Harbor. Wallin got the "decrypts" from the Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings. The Hearings got the information from Japanese sources AFTER THE WAR.

    Stinnett also goes off on the McCollum Memo, despite the fact that only two of the eight items in the memo were kinda-sorta implemented, and there is no evidence FDR every saw the memo.

    That book is utter garbage.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

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

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    The innuendos are obvious. Please don't think we're stupid here. We've been through this dog-show before. :)
     
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  16. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    "A" book, is not historical proof of anything. It is one writers opinion. For it to be accurate, it has to stand up to cross checks and multiple source confirmation. Stinnett's book fails on all counts.

    Do you believe half the crap on YouTube about 9/11 as well?
     
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  17. OpanaPointer

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

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    You mean the famous "Loose Brains" vid? ;)
     
  18. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Context is the key. I am sure I could write a book about how Kimmel and Short acted appropriately and how much worse the attack could have been if they had not maintained the level of preparedness they had.
     
  19. rebel1222

    rebel1222 Member

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    Please demonstrate how it "fails on all counts"
    The book has nothing to do with youtube or 911. But since you brought it up, there are some very serious unanswered questions concerning 911 that have been addressed by several documantaries. But this is not the forum for that subject.
    Wrong. All 8 action items were approved by FDR and implemented.

    How can you call the book garbage? Is it because it doesn't line up with your preconceived opinion? You apparently are the absolute authority concerning this subject, and I'm begining to realize that. Forgive my previous ignorance, please.:eek:


    The Documents are all there and well substantiated. They don’t seek or need your approval to be valid. The book has nothing to do with youtube or 911. But since you brought it up, there are some very serious unanswered questions concerning 911 that have been addressed by several documantaries. But this is not the forum for that subject.

    Anyway, material is out there for people to purview and come to their own conclusions.

    You have but one of many opinions, nothing more...
     
  20. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Talk about preconceived opinion. Opana points out all the problems with the book, and you resort to insulting sarcasm.
     

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