Skip to comments.Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?
Posted on 12/06/2011 3:32:36 PM PST by Kaslin
On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt took the rostrum before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Japan.
A day earlier, at dawn, carrier-based Japanese aircraft had launched a sneak attack devastating the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan.
But to friends, the Chief sent another message: You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit.
Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoovers explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West.
Edited by historian George Nash, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoovers History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.
Yet the book is no polemic. The 50-page run-up to the war in the Pacific uses memoirs and documents from all sides to prove Hoovers indictment. And perhaps the best way to show the power of this book is the way Hoover does it -- chronologically, painstakingly, week by week.
Consider Japans situation in the summer of 1941. Bogged down in a four year war in China she could neither win nor end, having moved into French Indochina, Japan saw herself as near the end of her tether.
Inside the government was a powerful faction led by Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye that desperately did not want a war with the United States.
The pro-Anglo-Saxon camp included the navy, whose officers had fought alongside the U.S. and Royal navies in World War I, while the war party was centered on the army, Gen. Hideki Tojo and Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, a bitter anti-American.
On July 18, 1941, Konoye ousted Matsuoka, replacing him with the pro-Anglo-Saxon Adm. Teijiro Toyoda.
The U.S. response: On July 25, we froze all Japanese assets in the United States, ending all exports and imports, and denying Japan the oil upon which the nation and empire depended.
Stunned, Konoye still pursued his peace policy by winning secret support from the navy and army to meet FDR on the U.S. side of the Pacific to hear and respond to U.S. demands.
U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew implored Washington not to ignore Konoyes offer, that the prince had convinced him an agreement could be reached on Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and South and Central China. Out of fear of Maos armies and Stalins Russia, Tokyo wanted to hold a buffer in North China.
On Aug. 28, Japans ambassador in Washington presented FDR a personal letter from Konoye imploring him to meet.
Tokyo begged us to keep Konoyes offer secret, as the revelation of a Japanese prime ministers offering to cross the Pacific to talk to an American president could imperil his government.
On Sept. 3, the Konoye letter was leaked to the Herald-Tribune.
On Sept. 6, Konoye met again at a three-hour dinner with Grew to tell him Japan now agreed with the four principles the Americans were demanding as the basis for peace. No response.
On Sept. 29, Grew sent what Hoover describes as a prayer to the president not to let this chance for peace pass by.
On Sept. 30, Grew wrote Washington, Konoyes warship is ready waiting to take him to Honolulu, Alaska or anyplace designated by the president.
No response. On Oct. 16, Konoyes cabinet fell.
In November, the U.S. intercepted two new offers from Tokyo: a Plan A for an end to the China war and occupation of Indochina and, if that were rejected, a Plan B, a modus vivendi where neither side would make any new move. When presented, these, too, were rejected out of hand.
At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDRs war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimsons notes speak of the prevailing consensus: The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into ... firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.
We can wipe the Japanese off the map in three months, wrote Navy Secretary Frank Knox.
As Grew had predicted, Japan, a hara-kiri nation, proved more likely to fling herself into national suicide for honor than to allow herself to be humiliated.
Out of the war that arose from the refusal to meet Prince Konoye came scores of thousands of U.S. dead, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the fall of China to Mao Zedong, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the rise of a new arrogant China that shows little respect for the great superpower of yesterday.
If you would know the history that made our world, spend a week with Mr. Hoovers book.
Just like Poland provoked Hitler.
Not this **** again.
Someone tell Buchanan we’ve been hearing this **** for over 50 years.
I supposed not handing over Hawaii to the Japanese could have been considered to be a “provocation” in some people’s eyes.
My father, a Navy veteran of Veracruz and WW-I, was called back to active duty in the US Navy in April 1941. Our nation was most definitely preparing for war eight months before Pearl Harbor.
The US refused to concede the Pacific to the Japanese, so of course we started it. lol.
I’ll spare posting the pictures from the “Rape of Nanking” and “Unit 731”. But you get my point.
Interesting. But I wonder how much of this was deliberate on FDR’s part. There was no doubt that FDR was fixated by the threat from Hitler’s Germany. Also, there was a strong “China Lobby” within the US State Department. Perhaps it was a case of US policy toward Japan “being on autopilot”.
The whole Pacific, not just Hawaii
I don’t know how peace was possible given that Japan was committing crimes against humanity in China. FDR’s problem, however, was that he engaged in a series of provacative actions against Japan, yet did not prepare for war. As a result, the Japanese thought America was so weak, they felt confident enought to sail halfway across the Pacific and try to blow up our Navy. Had they gone back for a successful 3rd strike on Dec. 7, one wonders how the war would’ve turned out.
years ago read the book A Republic, Not an Empire by Pat Buchanan. He was under the opinion that FDR antagonized the Japanese
Remember also, Japan was targeting Britain’s Asian colonies, as well.
I think they figured, Hitler was so mired with Russia, he couldn’t help Japan, and therefore, Japan wasn’t as much of a threat.
I still don’t know why Lithuania provoked the Germans to bomb Pearl Harbor.
The RMS Lithuania was sunk by an Australian submarine in 1915, wasn’t it?
Maybe we *were* preparing for war with Japan, but how do you separate normal preparation and escalation between increasingly hostile countries with deliberate provocation?
By this logic, we are preparing for war with China now. Within our government I am pretty sure Obama and the democrats do not want war with China. If there is anyone deep inside the Pentagon that wants war, it’s because we want to fight them now before we get relatively weaker, but it is probably not a significant number.
This whole argument does not recognize the axiom “if you want peace, prepare for war”.
Probably, and FDR was probably a jackass, but the jackass did good in kicking the Japanese in their behinds.
“At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDRs war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimsons notes speak of the prevailing consensus: The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into ... firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”