Skip to comments.Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941: Major victory for Japan
Posted on 12/08/2013 3:25:13 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper
The sinister surprise attack against the naval base at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Military is recognized by historians as one of the most successful sneak attacks in military history.
While many Americans initially thought the Empire of Japan intended to attack the United States mainland Californians along the coastal areas felt especially vulnerable the real targets were in Southeast Asia: Hong Kong, Siam, Malaya, Thailand, and the Philippines, as the first of many.
The attack upon the naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, shocked America and the world. While Americans were still reeling, Japanese troops were already en route to their real targets specifically marked for attack, destruction, and domination.
Pearl Harbor served as a sucker punch for the Japanese Imperial Military, intended to keep the U.S. out of their business, as they seized absolute control of the small island nations of Southeastern Asia.
Over 2,400 Americans had been killed, and nearly 1,200 military personnel and civilians had been wounded.
(Excerpt) Read more at communities.washingtontimes.com ...
Far from being naïve, that statement is enough to send chills down my spine.
Think about it...
Suddenly Syria & Iran seem like nothing more than 'field tests'.
What would have happened if the Japanese didn’t attack Pearl Harbor? Would they have taken Australia and then India? How would that have affected Britain? If Britain and her colonies had been defeated, how would that affect the War in Russia? Germany would have been totally focused on Russia and would have had lots of oil.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not a success for them. It wasn’t much of a surprise, and it failed to deliver a crippling blow to the US.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
I prefer to think about Midway.
Hypothetically, I've always thought the best course of action for the Japanese would have been, rather than attacking HI, to simply by pass the Philippines on their way to SE asian oil. Although that would have violated a cardinal rule of war making (leaving an enemy in their flank) not only was there was no great enthusiasm among Americans for getting involved in another war, we weren't big fans of the colonialists either. They might have gotten away with it without giving Roosevelt a political opportunity to involve us.
Did not the Japs attack Manila the same day? But because of the International Date Line it was considered the next day (Dec 8)?
I think that the big winner at Pearl Harbor was the Soviet Union.
I think the even bigger winner was Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Communists.
“... There was no clear, unambiguous signal saying attack Pearl Harbor. ... indicators that point to an attack, but hindsight is 20/20. If FDR had known about the attack, he could have done a better job of absorbing it, and would have been in a position to inflict great damage on the Japanese early in the War.
... What if the Japanese had invaded the unprotected beaches of Hawaii a few days after Pearl Harbor, supported by aircraft carriers and naval gunfire, possibly taking the Pearl Harbor out of U.S. hands, and possibly even seizing significant oil reserves?”
Cryptanalysis is more difficult than many casual observers can appreciate. The Allied (in reality, Polish/British/US) successes in this field came later in WWII: in 1941, none of the infrastructure nor procedures existed. Anyone who thinks - even for so long as a millisecond - that it was even possible for the US government to discover what Imperial Japan was up to, is committing the most grievous errors imaginable.
Gordon Prange (and his inimitable co-authors, whose names refuse to return to my memory at the moment) has shown conclusively that no actions the US could have taken would have influenced Imperial Japan one way or another: the decision to go to war was taken by the Japanese leadership.
Recent analyses and informed conjecture have conceded that no amount of tactical warning could have saved US forces from the mauling they endured on 7 December 1941, and the days immediately following. There simply were no command and control systems to receive alerts, assess attack strength/objectives, assign defense assets, or direct them in battle.
All speculation about “what might have happened” is of course uncertain, but it’s quite possible that had the USN Pacific Fleet sortied from Pearl Harbor in time to meet the oncoming Imperial Japanese Naval attack fleet in a full-scale open-ocean battle, the results would have been far worse for the Americans. And every vessel lost in that clash could never have been salvaged, sunk as they would have been in deep water.
What truly cooked the American goose that day was lack of air-mindedness on the part of local commanders: the US Navy was preparing to meet a naval attack, and the US Army was preparing to meet a ground attack (an invasion force, as Lonesome in MA suggested). Never the twain did meet.
And - most ruinously - blinkered thinking could not be blamed on personal flaws of local commanders. Both Walter C. Short and Husband E. Kimmel were products of their separate service traditions and corporate culture. Their approach to waging war, while admirably traditional, was outdated decades before. The late Billy Mitchell predicted so in hideous detail in the 1920s, and moreover had the bad manners to prove it.
And no one can guarantee that blunders on such a scale can never descend on us in the future, as we persist in clinging to brainlessness ... the family of Admiral Kimmel persevered in petitioning the Navy Dept to get his name cleared, and USN leadership agreed at last. Family members of William Mitchell have made several attempts to get his court-martial conviction reversed, but in inexplicable contrast, DoD has always turned them away.
You know, a really good short story (can’t recall what compilation it’s a part of) is called “Billy Mitchell’s Overt Act”, which has him remaining in the Army following his court martial and ending up as the CO of USAAF in the Hawaiian Islands leading up to Pearl Harbor ...
i think the japanese would have been wise to gamble we would not declare war if they didn’t attack american territories and just it the british and dutch areas. remember they already had indo china and thailand was pro-japanese. the american people kept saying they didn’t want to fight for colonial europe and, unlike today, the president actually had to get congress to declare war.
as for fdr and churchill knowing about the attack that’s just crap.
MacArthur was over rated. He always seem to be caught flat footed. He thought the Japanese weren’t as good as fighters as we were, and they were tough.
Same as in Korea when he thought the Chinese would never cross to help the NK.....
MacArthur was right about the Russians and loved his country.
Yet more proof of Roosevelt’s sinister conspiracy. Don’t you see?
Why was FDR happy? He believed the Nazis had to be defeated to save democratic Western Civilization. Until the invasion of Russia in Spring 1941, Britain had been holding on alone, barely. In 1941, the Germans were rolling across Russia and it would not be for another year that we would learn Russia would survive the attack. A Japanese attack on the US would finally create a consensus that the US had to enter the war and allow us to give the British full support.
Roosevelt did not need to trick the Japanese into attacking us. They had already taken the decision to seize SE Asia, which meant attacking the Philippines and the US Asiatic Fleet, Far East Air Force, and Army ground units. They had already decided on war against the US.
Thanks, Tanker, but I think we are not talking of the same points. I am not saying we shouldn’t have gone to war. I am not saying the Germans and the Nazis didn’t need to be stopped and I am certainly not saying FDR ‘tricked’ the Japanese into attacking us. My point is that circumstantial evidence shows that FDR knew Pearl was going to be hit and he knew when and to what extent, and that he let it happen and augmented the effect by delaying the Japanese diplomat’s presentation of the war declaration. While this did get us riled up like hornets, with Americans RUNNING to the enlistment offices, it killed thousands of sailors at Pearl Harbor that could have at least defended themselves with the advance warning that was withheld.
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