Was Pearl Harbour an Unprecedented Surprise Attack
Was Pearl Harbour
an Unprecedented Surprise Attack?
Dr. Peter Hammond
Was The ATTACK on PEARL HARBOUR
really an UNPRECEDENTED SURPRISE?
As my history
teacher in Rhodesia
The claim that no one could have anticipated
torpedo attacks in the shallow waters of a harbour
before 7 December 1941, is false.
The Danger of Torpedo Attack
The British had proved that torpedoes could be effective in their
attack on the Italian Navy at Taranto, 11 November 1940. The
Royal Navy used Swordfish Bi-planes to deliver the torpedoes.
The US Navy had discussed this new threat in a June 1941
Memorandum. Torpedo nets were considered as a precautionary
measure to be installed in Pearl Harbour.
Admiral Kimmel and his staff testified that the decision not to
install torpedo nets and booms had been made by the Navy
Department in Washington DC, not in Hawaii.
Overruled by Politicians
in Washington D.C.
On the night of 11 to 12 November 1940, British Naval forces
under Admiral Andrew Cunningham,
Battle of Taranto
including Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious, launched Fairey
Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers in the Mediterranean Sea
to attack the Regia Marina Battle Fleet at anchor
in the harbour of Taranto.
Despite the shallow depth of the water, the aerial torpedoes
proved devastatingly effective, crippling the Italian Navy,
which lost half of its capital ships in one night.
The Royal Navy raid on Taranto Bay marked the ascendency of
air power over sea power. The Fleet Air Arm proved to be
the Navy's most devastating weapon.
Naval Air Power
Seventeen months before Pearl Harbour,
the British Royal Navy attacked the French Fleet at anchor
on the coast of French Algeria.
Was the Japanese Raid on Pearl
The Battle of Mers-el-Kébir on 3 July 1940, resulted in the deaths
of 1,297 French servicemen, the sinking of a French battleship
and the damaging of 5 other ships. The combined air and sea
attack was carried out against Britain's official ally - France.
The attack remains controversial and created much hostility
between France and Britain.
Attacking an Ally
Britain argued that "the times were desperate; invasion seemed
imminent; and the British government simply could not afford to
risk Germany seizing control of the French Fleet… the prominent
British motive was thus dire necessity and self-preservation."
as their terms
did not require
was still in
French ships that were in Alexandria and believed that they were
allies of Britain were shocked to be blockaded, boarded and
seized by the Royal Navy at the same time.
Swift and Surprising Action
Also on 3 July, French ships in Plymouth and Portsmouth,
England, were boarded and captured.
This included the French submarine, Surcouf (the largest
submarine in the world at that time), four other submarines, the
battleships Paris and Courbet, destroyers Triomphant and
Some officers and sailors were killed in the struggles. These
attacks were justified by the British strategy of Copenhaging the
Admiral Horatio Nelson's famous battle of Copenhagen on 2 April
1801 was a clear inspiration for the Japanese attack on Pearl
Copenhaging the Fleet
Although Denmark was officially neutral during the Napoleonic
Wars, Britain feared that her Navy may be seized by the French,
if Denmark fell to the French.
The Battle of Copenhagen was a result of multiple failures
With Britain enforcing a strict blockade of France and any country
trading with France, even neutral nations, such as Denmark,
Sweden and Prussia, were regarded as legitimate targets.
Admiral Sir Hyde Parker and Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson led the
attack on the Danish capital, Copenhagen.
The Battle of Copenhagen
The British attack, during which Admiral Nelson famously placed
his telescope to his blind eye ignoring a command to withdraw,
was, from the British perspective, spectacularly successful.
1,600 Danish soldiers and sailors were killed, or wounded and
most of the Danish Navy either sunk, severely damaged,
Although ostensibly neutral, Denmark was again attacked by the
Royal Navy 16 August - 5 September 1807,
when the Royal Navy bombarded Copenhagen,
seized the Danish Fleet
"as a precaution" in case Denmark did choose to join the French.
The Second Battle of Copenhagen
3,000 soldiers and civilians, including 195 children,
in Copenhagen died as a result of the bombardment.
As the majority of the Danish Army was at the Southern border to
protect against a possible attack from the French, this second
assault on a neutral country was a scandal at the time.
Knowing that the Imperial Japanese Navy was modelled on the
Royal Navy, these famous battles, strategies and tactics of
Copenhaging the Fleets of even neutral countries where a
potential threat was perceived,
Ignoring Historic Precedents
including against Britain's French allies, and most tellingly at the
Battle of Taranto where aircraft launched from aircraft carriers
using torpedoes had crippled a battle fleet, should have been
taken into consideration.
As modern American films such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and Pearl
Harbour tend to ignore these historic precedents and pretend that
the attack on Pearl Harbour was both "unprecedented" and
Deception by Entertainment
and "the first surprise attack by aircraft on ships" generations have
been deceived into thinking that Pearl Harbour was a treacherous,
unexpected and unprecedented attack
"A day that will live in infamy!"
"Now these things became our examples, to the intent that
we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted… Now
all these things happened to them as examples, and they
were written for our admonition…" 1 Corinthians 10:6-11
Richardson was fired by
President Roosevelt for
complaining about the
president's order to
station the Pacific Fleet
in Pearl Harbour.
Admiral Richardson blamed the president for the "initial defeats in
the Pacific" as "direct, real and personal."
Richardson believed that stationing the Pacific Fleet in Pearl
Harbour made the ships "extremely vulnerable to attack" and
provided "a poor and nonstrategic defence."
Captain L.F. Safford, US Navy, in charge of the Communications
Security Section of Naval Communications in Washington,
testified before the Admiral Hart Board that:
Dereliction of Duty
"On 4 December 1941, we received definite information
from two independent sources that Japan would attack the United
States and Britain… at 9pm Washington time, 6 December 1941,
we received positive information that Japan would declare war
against the United States at a time to be specified thereafter.
This information was positive and unmistakable and was made
available to Military Intelligence virtually at the moment of its
Finally at 10:15am Washington time, 7 December 1941, we
received positive information from Signal Intelligence Service,
War Department, that the Japanese Declaration of War would be
presented to the Secretary of State at 1pm, Washington time that
when it was 1pm in Washington, it would be day break in Hawaii
and approximately midnight in the Philippines, which indicated a
surprise air raid in Pearl Harbour in about three hours. President
Roosevelt had ample time to broadcast a warning."
6th , 1941, a message to the Japanese delegation in Washington D.C. was
intercepted, broken & distributed by the Signal Intelligence Service, SIS.
General Albert C. Wedemeyer is quoted by Herbert Hoover in
Freedom Betrayed as stating: "When on, December 6,
our intercepts told us that the Japanese were going to attack
somewhere the very next day, whether in the Central Pacific,
or to the South in the Philippines and Dutch East Indies,
Failing to Give US Servicemen
a Fighting Chance
the president of the United States, as Commander in Chief of our
Military Forces… could have gone on the radio and broadcast to
the wide world that he had irrefutable evidence of an immediate
Japanese intention to strike.
This would have alerted everybody from Singapore to Pearl
Harbour. Even though inadequate in some cases to defend
effectively, nevertheless, our forces would have been able to take
a toll, which would have blunted the Japanese attack.
In Hawaii, the capital ships might have been moved out of the
congested harbour to sea, where Admiral Kimmel at least had the
foresight to keep the far more vital aircraft carriers.
Furthermore, our Carrier taskforce in the mid-Pacific might have
attacked the Japanese taskforce when its planes were aloft.
There are many possibilities
which could have given our men a fighting chance."
An Army Enquiry conducted July to October 1944, condemned
negligence by General Marshall and other senior officers for
having prior knowledge of the attacks from the intercepts and for
not having alerted the Military Commander at Pearl Harbour.
USS California (BB-44) damaged by the attack at Pearl Harbour in 1941.
Congress was not satisfied with the Military investigations and
reports and from November 1945 to May 1946, the Congressional
Pearl Harbour Investigation, a Minority Report by Senate
Members of the Committee condemned the endeavour to
"throw as soft a light as possible on Washington."
"The Roberts Commission Report was so hasty, inconclusive and
incomplete. Some witnesses were examined under oath,
others were not. Much testimony was not even recorded…
several records were missing
and most inadequate explanations were supplied…
Attempted Cover Ups
Army and Navy information indicated growing imminence of war
was delivered to the highest authorities… including the President.
The fatal error of Washington was to undertake a world campaign
and world responsibilities without first making provision for the
security of the United States, which was their prime constitutional
High Washington authorities did not communicate to Admiral
Kimmel and General Short adequate information of diplomatic
negotiations and of intercepted diplomatic intelligence, which,
would have informed them
of the imminent menace
of a Japanese attack
in time for them to
fully alert and prepare
the defence of
Radiogram reporting the Pearl Harbour attack, December 7, 1941
the failure to perform the responsibilities indispensably essential
to the defence of Pearl Harbour rest upon Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Henry L. Simpson, Frank Knox and George C. Marshall…"
George Morgenstern in his book,
Pearl Harbour: The Story of the Secret War, published in 1947,
wrote: "With absolute knowledge of war, they refused to
communicate that knowledge clearly, unequivocally and in time,
to the people in the field, upon whom the blow would fall…
Dragging a Reluctant America into War
Pearl Harbour provided the American War party with the means of
escaping dependence on a hesitant Congress in taking a reluctant
people into war…
Pearl Harbour was the first action of the Acknowledged War and
the last battle of a Secret War, upon which the administration had
long since embarked.
"The Secret War was waged
against nations which the
leadership of this country had
chosen as enemies months
before they became formal
enemies, by declaration of war.
The Secret War of
It was waged also by psychological means by propaganda and
deception against the American people… the people were told
that acts which were equivalent to war were intended to keep the
nation out of war.
Constitutional processes existed only to be circumvented.
Until finally the war making power of Congress was reduced to the
act of ratifying an accomplished fact."
Herbert Hoover declares in his book Freedom Betrayed: "It can
never be forgotten that three times during 1941 Japan made
overtures for peace negotiation.
Rejecting Every Overture for Peace
America never made one
unless a futile proposal
to the Emperor
the day before
could be called peace.
A peace could have been made in the Pacific that would have
saved China from ravishment and would have protected the
American Pacific flank.
If Roosevelt was still determined to carry on his undeclared war
with Germany, until it provoked reprisals, that Pacific protection
was the only sane course.
It would have limited our engagement in any case
to the European theatre.
As a result of this policy - an undeclared war upon Japan
- we suffered the greatest military defeat in our history –
with immeasurable consequences.
"Public opinion was overwhelmingly against our being involved in
the war up to the day of Pearl Harbour… America came into World
War One 33 months after its outbreak.
Fanning the Flames of Hate
By a Mass of Lies
She came into World War Two 27 months after it started. The
processes and the months of lag were the same:
the appeal to crusade for freedom, for independence of nations,
for lasting peace; the same pictures of atrocities; the fanning of
hate and above all, the mass of lies and stimulation of fear of
invasion - they were identical.
But in World War Two the people believed much less of it and they
believed much more that they were being deliberately pushed into
the war. They dimly recognised that they were being ground in the
mills of power politics and the personal ambitions of men."
"The First World War had been conducted in the Allied side in the
name of 'the peoples'. This war was in the name of Stalin,
Churchill and Roosevelt.
Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt's War
At times the whole political and military scene seemed their
personal property - as it was."
(Herbert Hoover, Freedom Betrayed).
"In the first World War, our sons marched to war with flowers in
their rifles. Bands and cheering people were on every platform.
Many Recognised they Were Being
forced into War
There were no bands, no flowers and no cheers on the railway
platforms to World War Two.
There was little singing of war ballades by soldiers or civilians,
except at the urging of paid conductors of propaganda.
The station platforms were stages for grieving and tears.
filled the air
as in World War One,
but this time the people
received it grimly
and with little believing."
- Herbert Hoover.
Freedom Betrayed indicts
Roosevelt for instigating the
His economic sanctions against Japan and shunning of
Japanese peace overtures sparked the Pearl Harbour
attack and ultimately the
U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
—"the act of unparalleled brutality
in all American history."
President Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed documents:
"Roosevelt's contemptuous refusal of Prime Minister Konoye’s
proposals for peace in the Pacific of September, 1941 was a lost
The acceptance of these proposals was prayerfully urged by both
the American and British Ambassadors in Japan.
The terms Konoye proposed would have accomplished every
American purpose except possibly the return of Manchuria - and
even this was thrown open to discussion.
The cynic will recall that Roosevelt was willing to provoke a great
war on his flank over this remote question and then gave
Manchuria to Communist Russia."
Herbert Hoover documents in Freedom Betrayed that American
Military officials strongly urged FDR to accept the Three Months'
Stand-Still Agreement offered by the Emperor of Japan in
The Threat of Communism
Japan was alarmed at the threat of the Soviet Union and a 90-
days delay could have kept war out of the Pacific.
Secretary of War, Stimson, in his Diary, disclosed that Roosevelt
and his officials were seeking for a method to stimulate an overt
act of aggression from the Japanese.
Three civilians were killed in this shrapnel-riddled car by a bomb dropped from a
Japanese plane eight miles from Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.
There are many documents relating to Pearl Harbour which are
still classified and have not yet been made public by the United
States government. Many of the documents were destroyed
during the war.
Classified Documents are Still Denied
to the Public
Some of the public records of the United Kingdom containing
Churchill's "Most Secret" war time intelligence briefs, have been
marked as "closed for 75 years", including the sections dealing
with events from November 1941 through March 1942.
In Day of Deceit, by Robert Stinnett, a memorandum prepared by
Commander McCollun stated that a memorandum issued in the
immediate pre-war period declared that only a direct attack on US
interests would sway the American public,
To Save the Soviet Union
from Collapse in Europe
or Congress, to favour
direct involvement in
the European war.
offered eight specific
plans to aggrieve the
Details of the McCollum memo. Make an arrangement with the British for the use of
their bases in Singapore.
"If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt active
war, so much the better." The McCollun memo of 7 October 1940,
remained classified until 1994.
Jonathan Daniels, Roosevelt's administrative assistant at that time
of Pearl Harbour, presented an eye-witness viewpoint: "The blow
was heavier than he had hoped it would necessarily be…
“Worth the Price”
But the risks paid off;
even the loss was worth the price..."
("1941: Pearl Harbour Sunday: The End of an Era").
“No reasonably informed person can now believe that Japan
made a villainous unexpected attack on the United States.
An attack was not only fully expected, but was actually desired.
A Travesty of History
It is beyond doubt that President Roosevelt wanted to get his
country into the war, but for political reasons, was most anxious to
ensure that the first act of hostility came from the other side;
for which reason he caused increasing pressure to be put on the
Japanese, to a point that no self-respecting nation could endure
without resort to arms. Japan was meant, by the American
President, to attack the United States.” (Freedom Betrayed)
As Mr Oliver Lyttelton, then British Minister of Production, said in
1944: "Japan was provoked into attacking America's Pearl
Harbour. It is a travesty of history to say that America was forced
into the war." - British Historian Captain Russell Grenfell Main
Fleet to Singapore as quoted by President Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed.
Chamberlin in America's
Second Crusade (1950),
"It is scarcely
possible, in the light
of this and many
other known facts,
to avoid the
conclusion that the
sought the war
which began at
Desperately Seeking War
The steps which made armed conflict inevitable would take
months before the conflict broke out."
(Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoovers Secret History of the
Second World War and Its Aftermath).
Then Secretary of State, Hull, issued his foolish ultimatum and we
were defeated at Pearl Harbour.
The Betrayal of China
By Roosevelt insisting
that Chinese Premiere
include Mao Tse-Tung's
communists in a
and Roosevelt's Secret Agreement at Yalta
to betray Mongolia and Manchuria to Russia future
generations were betrayed.
All of China was sacrificed to the communists in the years of
President Truman - at the insistence of his Left-wing advisors and
General Marshall. The Second World War ended with 450 Million
Asiatic peoples betrayed under communist dictatorship.
Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed declared: "I had warned the
American people time and again against becoming involved.
The Only Beneficiary was Communism
I stated repeatedly its only end would be to promote
Communism over the earth; that we would impoverish the
United States and the whole world. The situation of the world
today is my vindication."
"Roosevelt ignored the whole communist infiltration into his
administration. Much of it was to be exposed before his death. But
of more importance, he ignored the whole international purpose of
communism and its morals in International relations.
Blind Service to Stalin and the
Its purposes and methods had been blatantly stated to the world
ever since 1917 and its statements in books were widely
distributed in the United States. Roosevelt was not a communist.
His leanings towards Stalin and blindness to communistic
activities arose partly from his own Leftist-leaning and partly from
the usefulness of the communists in support of his administration
politically throughout his 13 years in office."
"His leanings towards Stalin and the communist began with the
recognition of the Soviet Union immediately upon taking his office
Co-Operating with Communism
During 15 years prior to the
recognition, Democratic and
alike had barred any relations
with a country which had
returned huge numbers of
mankind to slavery and was
constantly conspiring against
the welfare of other peoples.
By recognition, Roosevelt gave the Soviet Union certain
respectability in the family of nations, but also of importance.
By that act, he had opened the door to communist penetration and
conspiracies in the United States."
In Herbert Hoover's Freedom
Betrayed, General Douglas McArthur's
views are reported that:
"the whole Japanese war
was a madman's desire
to get US into war."
A Madman’s Desire to Get US into War
McArthur was convinced
in July 1941 were not only
provocative but that
Japan was bound to fight
even if it were suicide,
unless they could be removed, as the sanctions carried every
penalty of war except killing and destruction, and no nation of
dignity would take them for long."
McArthur said that:
"Roosevelt could have
made peace with
Konoye in September
1941 and could have
obtained all of the
American objectives in
the Pacific and the
freedom of China and
probably Manchuria. Konoye
was authorized by the
Emperor to agree to
“I believe that it was the desire of President Roosevelt and Prime
Minister Churchill that we get into the war, as they felt their allies
could not win without us and all our efforts to cause the Germans
to declare war on us failed. “
McArthur was bitter about: "Roosevelt's starvation of supplies to
him at a time when the whole fate of the South Pacific and their
allies in Asia was at stake."
"Roosevelt had shown his vindictiveness in many ways."
McArthur had also told Roosevelt that: "Peace could be made with
the Japanese any time after the Philippines were taken… with
their supporting legs cut off, they were beaten."
He said that: "Roosevelt, however was determined that he should
not command in the final movement on Japan…"
General McArthur declared: "We would have avoided all of the
losses of the atomic bomb and the entry of Russia into Manchuria,
had the Japanese peace overtures been accepted, in early 1945."
The Atom Bombs Were Not Necessary
McArthur told President Herbert Hoover in 1946 that: "Truman's
policies were enabling Russia to make a puppet state out of
Manchuria and betraying all of China and Mongolia to
Betraying Asia to Communism
In September 1944, John Flynn, a member of the America First
Committee, published The Truth about Pearl Harbour:
Rear Admiral Frank Beatty, who at the time of the Pearl Harbour
attack was an aide to the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox,
"Prior to 7 December, it was evident even to me… that we were
pushing Japan into a corner.
The conditions we imposed upon Japan were so severe that we
knew the nation could not accept them. We were forcing her so
severely that we could have known that she would react towards
the United States.
All her preparations in a military way - and we knew their overall
import - pointed that way."
Jonathan Daniels, Roosevelt's administrative assistant at that time
of Pearl Harbour, presented an eye-witness viewpoint: "The blow
was heavier than he had hoped it would necessarily be…
But the risks paid off; even the loss was worth the price..."
("1941: Pearl Harbour Sunday: The End of an Era").
"Despite these physical losses and these moral political disasters,
and these international follies…
Despite the drift to collectivism, despite degeneration in
government, despite the demagogic intellectuals,
despite the corruption in our government and the moral
corruptions of our people, we still hold to Christianity, we still have
the old ingenuity in our scientific and industrial progress."
"We have 35 million children
marching through our schools
and 2,5 million in our
institutions of higher learning…
The Public School
"The promise of a greater America abides in the millions of
cottages throughout the land, where men and women are still
resolute in freedom.
Hope in the Homes
In their hearts the spirit of America still lives. The boys and girls
from those homes will someday throw off these disasters and
frustrations and will re-create their America again."
In order to
in the future
to study the past.
"Those who cannot remember the
past are condemned to repeat it."
"If we do not know
our own history,
we will simply have
to endure all
the same mistakes,
all over again."
"Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should
not lust after evil things, as they also lusted… now all these things
happened to them as examples, and they were written for our
admonition…" 1 Corinthians 10:6-11