“Drawing on twenty years of research and access to scores of previously classified documents, Stinnett proves that Pearl Harbor was not an accident, a mere failure of American intelligence, or a brilliant Japanese military coup. By showing that ample warning of the attack was on FDR’s desk and, furthermore, that a plan to push Japan into war was initiated at the highest levels of the U.S. government, he ends up profoundly altering our understanding of one of the most significant events in American history.”
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese planes, launched from aircraft carriers, attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, sinking or heavily damaging 18 ships (including eight battleships), destroying 188 planes, and leaving over 2,000 servicemen killed.
The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt denounced this “day of infamy” before Congress, from whom he secured an avid declaration of war.
Up until then, however, Americans had overwhelmingly opposed involvement in World War II. They had been thoroughly disillusioned by the First World War:
although they had been told they would be fighting for “democracy” in that previous war, taxpayers learned from the postwar Graham Committee of Congress that they’d been defrauded out of some $6 billion in armaments that were never manufactured or delivered1;
atrocity tales about German soldiers (such as cutting the hands off thousands of Belgian children) had turned out to be fabrications;
the sinking of the Lusitania – the central provocation that ultimately led to the U.S. declaration of war – had been committed by Germany not to kill women and children (as propaganda claimed), but to prevent tens of tons of war munitions from reaching the European front.
When the Maine sank, the proactive Assistant Secretary of the Navy had been Teddy Roosevelt. After the 1898 Spanish-American War he became governor of New York, and by 1901 was President of the United States. When the Lusitania sank, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy was his distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt – who likewise went on to become governor of New York and then President.
Just as coincident: during the Lusitania affair, the head of the British Admiralty was yet another cousin of Franklin D. – Winston Churchill. And in a chilling déjà vu, as Pearl Harbor approached, these two men were now heads of their respective states.
In a 1940 (election-year) speech, Roosevelt stated typically: “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”2 But privately, the President planned just the opposite: to bring America into the World War as Britain’s ally, exactly as Woodrow Wilson had done in World War I. Roosevelt dispatched his closest advisor, Harry Hopkins, to meet Churchill in January 1941. Hopkins told Churchill: “The President is determined that we [the United States and England] shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it. He has sent me here to tell you that at all costs and by all means he will carry you through, no matter what happens to him – there is nothing he will not do so far as he has human power.”3 William Stephenson, who ran British intelligence operations in the U.S., noted that American-British military staff talks began that same month under “utmost secrecy,” which, he clarified, “meant preventing disclosure to the American public.”4
The President offered numerous provocations to Germany: freezing its assets; occupying Iceland; shipping 50 destroyers to Britain; and having U.S. warships escort Allied convoys. Roosevelt and Churchill hoped to duplicate the success of the Lusitania incident. But the Germans gave them no satisfaction. They knew America’s entry into World War I had shifted the balance of power against them, and they shunned a repetition of that scenario.
As Admiral Karl Doenitz, commander of Germany’s U-boat fleet, stated during the Nuremburg trials:
A 300 mile safety zone was even granted to America by Germany when international law called for only a three mile zone. I suggested mine fields at Halifax and around Iceland, but the Fuehrer rejected this because he wanted to avoid conflict with the United States. When American destroyers in the summer of 1941 were ordered to attack German submarines, I was forbidden to fight back. I was thus forced not to attack British destroyers for fear there would be some mistake.5
After being pursued by the destroyer USS Greer for more than three hours, the German submarine U-652 fired at (but did not hit) the Greer. President Roosevelt bewailed this to the American public as an unprovoked attack.
But most Americans were unmoved. Not even another Lusitania would have motivated them to send their sons to die in another European war.
It was going to take a whole cluster of Lusitanias, and since this would not come from the cautious Germans, it could only come from Germany’s Axis partner, Japan. As Interior Secretary Harold Ickes put it in 1941: “For a long time I have believed that our best entrance into the war would be by way of Japan.”6 This required three steps: (1) build anti-Japanese sentiment in America; (2) provoke Japan to the flashpoint of war; (3) set up an irresistible target to serve as a false flag.
Americans were subjected to a stream of propaganda depicting Japan as bent on “world conquest” even though it is smaller than Montana. In the wartime government-produced film, Our Enemy: The Japanese, narrator Joseph Grew (CFR) told the public the Japanese believed it was the “the right and destiny of Japan’s emperors to rule the whole world . . . to destroy all nations and peoples which stand in the way of its fulfillment. . . . [Their] national dream is to see Tokyo established as the capital of the world . . . . world conquest is their national obsession.”
Grew neglected to mention that Japan had been a closed isolationist country until Commodore Perry compelled them to sign a trade agreement under threat of U.S. naval bombardment. Perry was the father-in-law of August Belmont, the Rothschilds’ leading financial agent in America during the 19th century.7
As proof of “Japan’s plot to conquer the world,” the American press played up Japanese troops entering Manchuria in the 1930s. But the fact that the Soviets had first seized Outer Mongolia and China’s northwestern province of Sinkiang drew no notice. As Dr. Anthony Kubek, chairman of the history department at the University of Dallas, wrote in How the Far East Was Lost:
It was apparent to Japanese statesmen that unless bastions of defense were built in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, Communism would spread through all of North China and seriously threaten the security of Japan. . . . But the Department of State seemed not to regard Japan as a bulwark against Soviet expansion in North China. As a matter of fact, not one word of protest was sent by the Department of State to the Soviet Union, despite her absorption of Sinkiang and Outer Mongolia, while at the same time Japan was censured for stationing troops in China.8
Dr. Kubek’s remarks highlight a policy consistent throughout the Second World War: condemn “fascist aggression” while tolerating – without limit – communistaggression. For example, when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Yet when the Soviet Union invaded Poland that same month, the West . . . yawned.
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