Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by steverodgers801, Jan 30, 2014.
You have to seperate the political from the military here. While Pearl Harbour might of been a military disaster it was a great, overwhelming political success.
FDR (like Winston Churchill) would probablly done a fist pump and shouted 'Yes' when hearing about the attack.
FDR fought for Pearl Harbour, wanted Pearl Harbour, needed Pearl Harbour. The more ill prepared the US military were the greater the political success.
It needed to look like 'sneek attack' not the US putting using its economic power to put a pistol the head of the Japanese nation.
There could be only one outcome in sustained war between the USA and Japan.
That is the single most idiotic theory about Pearl Harbor that exists.
The difference between starting a war with a major defeat and starting one with a surprising victory is...
I'll give you a while to figure that out.
What's idiotic about it?
FDR wanted an excuse to get into WWII and was desperately looking round for one. The oil blockade on Japan was meant to force Japan into the war it had no possibility of winning.
I am not saying that Pearly Harbour was a result that was actively pursuded. . . . .. but a sound early defeat must be viewed as a political success.
And again, going back to the books, 'The War at Sea' and 'Grand Strategy' a string of early Japanese victories was clearly anticipated
The attack on Pearl Harbour must of been as big relief to FDR as it was to Churchill.
The sources you purport to site don't say anything about "Letting It Happen On Purpose" (LIHOP).
You don't see anything idiotic about the idea of FDR accepting a defeat instead of achieving a victory?
He could literally have his cake and eat it too if he had known about the attack in advance. But the "back door to war" theory is in itself very stupid. We didn't need or want a war in the Pacific, it was a distraction to a policy first outlined in January, 1939, when the initial work was done on what would become Rainbow-5.
FDR wanted the US to enter the war against Nazi Germany. He wasn't in any hurry to take on Japan and indeed his advisors wanted us to wait in either case for at least few months and preferably 6 months to a year. There was no "oil blockade on Japan". Indeed the law that was passed that lead to the oil embargo wasn't even clearly designed to do that. The interpretation of a bureaucrat lead to the total embargo (which is quite a bit different from a blockade). In any case the US for the most part would have been happy if Japan reacted by giving up the newly occupied territories and coming to terms with the Chinese.
I can see no reason at all that "a sound early defeat must be viewed as a political success". Indeed PH caused problems with the Germany first strategy. Nothing I've read suggest that PH was a relief to FDR. Indeed it was clearly something of a problem. War with Germany was clearly in the works but on a timetable that FDR had some considerable control over and that was working to US interest. PH threatened that.
Meanwhile King and Marshall were begging FDR to avoid the start of hostilities as long as he could, "ninety days if possible". Poor "political success" if your senior military men are telling you they're not ready for war.
Like I said, "idiotic idea".
Everyone seems to agree FDR and our military leaders believed the sooner America joined the British in fighting the Nazis the better the chances of success, but there was a politically powerful coalition of strange bedfellows that saw it differently. There is plenty of agreement that Chuchill was almost giddy at the news of America being forced into the war –after all, a lifeline will save you, no matter what caused it to be thrown to you.
It was a different for FDR. He had so much confidence in the Navy that the news that it was decimated in the first day must have shaken him to his core. As SecNav, he was responsible in the Arizona’s launching and it’s tragic loss had to be his worst nightmare. Certainly, word that the blow had hit MacArthur in the Philippines would have received a different response. It would have fit perfectly with the pre-war planning and validated all FDR’s work for the Navy to charge a might battle line across the Pacific, while the Army with the Air Corps concentrated on defeating Germany.
So, while the politicians, Admirals and Generals knew they were up against a military machine in full war mode with no civil authority to moderate it, none of them could imagine the response they would get from their actions or how quick it would come.
I suggest Pearl Harbor by Steven M. Gillon and The Admirals by Walter R. Bornean, among other sources.
I have Gillon's book. It's next to Stinnett, Rusbrigder, and Gannon.
And FDR was never SecNav.
Pre-war planning was superceded by the Rainbow-5. There would be no Great All-Out Battle that the Japanese wanted so badly, we would not be that obliging.
You need better sources.
AFAIK, it was Arizona's keel laying that Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt attended. I don't think he was at her launching.
Always glad to see that OpanaPointer's library is properly organized and indexed.
As for Borneman (note proper spelling) he seems to suffer from the same tedious problem as does, dare I speak the name, Stinnett; that is, his references, when you bother to check, do not seem to match what he says in his text . . . he plays a bit fast and loose, apparently to crank up the "golly gee whiz - breathless excitement of it all" factor.
Even better, old Bob S. provides the paper trail to refute his own claims. I could get lazy if they all did that.
I'm not making a military point here - but rather a political one.
The political advantages of a 'sneak attack' far outwieghed the military impact. The oil embargo on Japan MUST force the Japanese into a war with the USA. It was a case of use it or lose it. FDR must of been well aware of this.
Even the Japanese knew they could not win a sustained war with the USA and their whole political - military strategy involved trying to get advantageous terms from the USA. The sneak attack more or less ruled out any possibility of that.
A sneak attack that ended in a defeat for the attacker would have been much better for FDR.
And Japan didn't have to go to war at any time. Only the hardcore militarists thought this. Nearly everybody else didn't want war. But the men with the guns made it dangerous to speak against them. The 26 February Incident was the prime example of this.
I'm not sure a victory, or 'half-victory' at Pearl would of been a good thing. Right, now I know that sounds stupid, but what won the war in the end was the industrial mobilisation of the USA. In 1942 the USA was in such a position of military weakness that it was very dependent on the UK for military strategy and organisation.
The changes that needed to take place would probablly not of happened at anything like the speed needed had the USA won some kind of half victory at Pearl Harbour.
The Arcadia conference and the establishment of the Joint Chiets of Staff is a case in point. The USA came to the meeting largely unprepared while the British came to the conference with planning and logistics team that were structured to fit in with British strategy and planning and familiar with global planning and organisation.. To a considerable extent they imposed the strategy on the USA and the USA was forced to organise its war economy in a similar way to the UK in order to have a unified command and control structure. The debates and arguments about the War Shipping Administration Board is a classic example.
The US Army resented it - but largely accepted it as inevitable. It's in the relevant Green Books and HMSO Histories.
Pearl Harbour was not the only major blunder the USA made at the start of the war. The shipping losses of the US east coast were if anything a more significant blow than Pearl Harbour.
We might look at Germany's failure to mobilise its war economy fast enough because of its early victories as an example of what might of happened.
Its over 70 years since WWII and most of the people debating it are still under the illusion that it was all about battles, and weapons and generals and tactics. The reality its was (Mahan's doctrine) about global control and management of resources and manufacturing capacity. Secondly the role of air power largely negated the superiority previously obtained from military manpower and naval resources. Pearl Harbour is, itself witness to that.
A willing defeat would have been as stupid as some people think FDR was.
"The US Army resented it - but largely accepted it as inevitable. It's in the relevant Green Books and HMSO Histories."
Yeah, you should read them.
'Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare Volume 1 Chapter V
Quote. . . . . . .
The definite agreement at Casablanca to undertake an operation in 1943 against Sicily, as urged by the British, and the inability of the U.S. delegation to secure a correspondingly firm British commitment for a major cross-Channel effort had left General Wedemeyer, General Marshall’s principal adviser at the conference, keenly disappointed. He wrote: “. . . we lost our shirts and . . . are now committed to a subterranean umbilicus operation in mid-summer .... we came, we listened and we were conquered.” General Marshall, he observed, had performed magnificently for the Americans, but had received little effective assistance from his colleagues in the JCS. The small U.S. delegation had, in fact, appeared disorganized in contrast to the large, well-prepared and united British delegation. General Wedemeyer admired the way the British had presented and argued their case:
They swarmed down upon us like locusts with a plentiful supply of planners and various other assistants with prepared plans to insure that they not only accomplished their purpose but did so in stride and with fair promise of continuing in their role of directing strategically the course of this war. I have the greatest admiration, . . . and if I were a Britisher I would feel very proud. However, as an American I wish that we might be more glib and better organized to cope with these super negotiators. From a worm’s eye viewpoint it was apparent that we were confronted by generations and generations of experience in committee work and in rationalizing points of view. They had us on the defensive practically all the time.
If it of any interest FDR was notable for his very 'hands off' approach to the management of the military. The only body he maintained direct control of throughout the war was the 'War Shipping Administration Board' essentially because all military operations were contrained by the availablilty of shipping and its deployment.
All military operations in WWII were dependent on the control of merchant shipping. . . . .