December 7th, 2011, marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the “date which will live in infamy,” and, as research has shown, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s treason in provoking Japan into attacking our Pacific fleet. Facts relating to the attack have trickled out steadily but slowly — so slowly that in the 70 years following the event, public outrage against the deceit and treason of President Roosevelt and his advisors never gained momentum. By 2011, several generations of Americans had lived and died. The collective memory of Americans had moved beyond this point in history, and few Americans grasped the big picture.
MEMORIAL TO A MONSTER
In 1997, Pres. Bill Clinton presided at the opening of the FDR memorial in Washington, D.C., an eyesore comprised mainly of “31,239 enormous Carnelian granite blocks” forming a succession of 12-foot walls. Architect Lawrence Halprin, who worked on the project for more than 20 years, referred to Roosevelt as “one of the four great presidents of our 220-year history as a country.” Writer Michael Valdez Moses, on the other hand, observed that the memorial “symbolizes federal bloat at the end of the century.” (1) More than that, the FDR memorial is an uncritical liberal tribute to a president whose underhanded manipulation of our entry into World War II is the real infamy of that fateful December day.
FDR ORCHESTRATES U.S. ENTRY INTO WORLD WAR II
As Hitler consolidated his power in Europe amid the growing perceptions that he would overrun all of Europe, and that Japan, Germany and Italy threatened countries in three continents, Roosevelt looked for an excuse to enter the war against Germany. But by 1940, Roosevelt had been elected to a third term by promising, “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” So the first blow had to come from the other side. Roosevelt did his best to provoke Hitler. (2)
The main reason why it is easy to sell war to peaceful people is that the demagogues who act as salesmen quickly acquire a monopoly of both public information and public instruction. They pass laws penalizing anyone who ventures to call them to book, and in a little while no one does it any more. This happened at the time the United States entered the last World War, and it will happen again if the Hon. Mr. Roosevelt manages to whoop up another one.
– H. L. Mencken, May 9, 1939
In fact, Germany was no military threat whatever to the U.S. by 1941. In the previous year, Germany had been unsuccessful in bringing the small country of England to its knees. It was reasonable that a regime that could not conquer England’s beleaguered air force across the English Channel was not about to cross the
Atlantic to invade the U.S. mainland. Most Americans recognized there was no threat to them and were not in favor of losing the lives of hundreds of thousands of young men in a war that didn’t concern them.
According to historian David Irving, “The American navy had been ordered to fire without warning or provocation on any German warship; American commanders concerned were instructed to deny responsibility and to suggest that a British unit was involved. Thus, Roosevelt hoped to provoke countermeasures.” (3)
But Hitler refused to take the bait. On July 13, 1941, the diplomat Etzdorf quoted Hitler as saying, “So long as our eastern operations are still running, we won’t let ourselves be provoked. Later the Americans can have their war, if they absolutely must.” (4)
U.S. STARTS TRADE WAR WITH JAPAN TO PROVOKE SHOOTING WAR
When attempts to provoke Hitler had failed, Roosevelt pursued another stratagem: he would draw the U.S. into a war against Germany by inducing Japan, Germany’s ally, to attack the U.S. The terms of the Tripartite Pact, which Germany, Japan and Italy had signed in September 1940, required Germany to come to Japan’s aid once the U.S. declared war on Japan.
In order to provoke an attack, the U.S. fired the first economic shots in a trade war with Japan. In July 1941, Roosevelt instituted a complete embargo on all U.S. trade with Japan in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by England. Roosevelt closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping, seized Japanese assets in the U.S., and placed a truly effective embargo on shipments of petroleum products, iron, steel, and metal products. (5) This move left Japan with no choice but to go to war, as they had no domestic oil resources and only an 18-month supply.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was not repulsed as Roosevelt may have expected, and horrific losses occurred: 2,248 dead, 1,109 wounded, 188 airplanes destroyed and 18 ships sunk or disabled.
Roosevelt orchestrated a sleazy cover-up, placing the blame on the two Hawaii Commanders, Admiral H. E. Kimmel and Gen. Walter Short, who were relieved of command and found guilty of dereliction of duty by a presidential board of inquiry. Army and Navy inquiries vindicated the two officers, but these findings were suppressed.
NOTED LIBERAL AUTHOR CONFIRMS RUMORS OF ROOSEVELT’S DUPLICITY
“Infamy” by author John Toland, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “The Rising Sun,” tackled the chilling rumors concerning Roosevelt’s behind-the-scenes role in drawing the United States into World War II. (6)
In his two previous books, “But Not In Shame” and “The Rising Sun,” Toland had discounted rumors that Roosevelt knew in advance that Japan was planning war against the U.S., and that he had allowed the Imperial Navy to surprise our forces in Hawaii. According to the rumors, a successful attack against Pearl
Harbor would make Americans so mad they would “abandon their isolationism and plunge into the confrontation with fascism that he deemed of supreme urgency.” (7)
But five years prior to the publication of “Infamy,” Toland started investigating these rumors in earnest. After finishing his research, Toland concluded the rumors were true.
Toland uncovered a great deal of evidence, including that U.S. naval intelligence learned five days before the Pearl Harbor attack that Japanese carriers were sailing toward Hawaii, but that this knowledge was never transmitted to the two commanders at Pearl. Toland believed that Roosevelt feared a warning would alert
the Japanese and cause them to cancel the attack, and furthermore, that they would realize we had cracked their top secret “Purple Code.”
While Toland found no “smoking gun” regarding Roosevelt, he concluded, “I believe that FDR knew the Japanese were coming and allowed them to attack.” Toland traced knowledge of the impending attack very close to the president. The head of the Office of Naval Intelligence knew the attack was coming, and his office was just a few doors away from his boss, Adm. Harold Stark. It is inconceivable that Stark, who spoke to the president several times a day, neglected to inform him.
It is noteworthy that Toland, who makes these accusations, was a liberal Democrat who supported our entry into World War II. Toland suggested that the cover-up included not only Roosevelt, but also Gen. George Marshall, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. Investigations were rigged, documents destroyed and witnesses intimidated. Yet Toland believed the parties to the cover-up were not dishonorable men. Toland stated, “George Marshall lied for his president. And the president didn’t lie for himself. He lied for his country. It’s all the philosophy of the end justifying the means.”
STINNETT FINDS THE SMOKING GUN
In a more recent book, “Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor,” author Robert B. Stinnett does describe the smoking gun that Toland had not found.
Stinnett served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1946, where he earned 10 battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.
After 16 painstaking years of uncovering documents through the Freedom of Information Act, Stinnett, a respected journalist and historian, confirms Toland’s thesis that U.S. government leaders at the highest level not only knew that a Japanese attack was imminent, but that they had deliberately engaged in policies intended to provoke the attack, to draw a reluctant, peace-loving American public into World War II.
In April 1940, major portions of the U.S. fleet had moved from their West Coast bases for an annual training exercise. The White House halted plans to return the fleet to the West Coast and ordered that it be kept in Hawaii, over the strong objections of the fleet’s commander, Admiral James Richardson. Richardson was relieved of his command on Feb. 1, 1941, and, according to Stinnett, Roosevelt carefully selected and placed naval officers in key fleet-command positions who would not obstruct his provocation policies.
Stinnett found that Commander Arthur McCollum, who was head of the Far East division of Naval Intelligence and President Roosevelt’s Communications Intelligence Routing Officer, proposed in a five-page memorandum dated October 7, 1940, eight actions that would provoke Japan into attacking American bases at Pearl Harbor and other regions in the Pacific. One of the most important parts of the plan was Action F: “Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.”
Action H of McCollum’s memo stated: “Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.” Roosevelt’s total embargo of July 1941 put into effect Action H.
The memo ends with McCollum’s stating, “If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.”
In the Disney movie, “Pearl Harbor,” Roosevelt is portrayed as an anguished, noble leader who cried out that the U.S. had lost its entire Pacific fleet. In fact, nothing of the sort had happened. By 1941 battleships already were obsolete as navy warships. The future of naval warfare lay in America’s aircraft carriers. On the day of the attack, the U.S. battleships remained in the harbor as sitting ducks, but our aircraft carriers conveniently had been moved away from Pearl Harbor.
Stinnett reveals that “On orders from Washington, Kimmel left his oldest vessels inside Pearl Harbor and sent twenty-one modern warships, including his two aircraft carriers, west toward Wake and Midway. These were strange orders!.” Admiral Harold Stark, Roosevelt’s lackey and chief of naval operations since 1939, sent a message on Nov. 26 stating, “IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR YOU TO TRANSPORT THESE PLANES AND GROUNDS CREW FROM OAHU TO THESE STATIONS ON AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER.” Concludes Stinnett, “With the departure of the Lexington and Enterprise groups, the warships remaining in Pearl Harbor were mostly 27-year-old relics of World War I.” (8)
Arthur McCollum’s unique background served him well for formulating American tactics and strategy against Japan, wrote Stinnett. McCollum was born in Nagasaki and spent his youth in Japan, speaking Japanese before he learned English. He knew the Japanese culture thoroughly.
McCollum wanted to get Japan to attack the United States and bring us into the war with a “back door approach.” In Action D of his infamous October 7, 1940, memo, McCollum called for sending cruisers into Japanese territory to antagonize the Japanese militarists so they would take over the civilian government. Roosevelt called them pop-up cruises. “I just want them to keep popping up here and there and keep the Japs guessing. I don’t mind losing one or two cruisers, but do not take a chance on losing five or six,” said Roosevelt, mindful that many hundreds of U.S. sailors would die as a result of losing “one or two” cruisers.
According to Stinnett, Roosevelt followed the recommendations in Commander McCollum’s memo. The President had adopted an overt act-of-war strategy as a way to overcome the isolation movement. (9) By July 1941, Roosevelt had implemented all eight of McCollum’s provocative actions.
JAPANESE MILITARY CODES BROKEN
The Disney “Pearl Harbor” movie intentionally misleads its viewers by asserting that the inability of the U.S. to break naval Japanese codes contributed to the surprise nature of the attack. That’s malicious nonsense. In September and October of 1940, Army and Navy cryptographers solved the principal Japanese government code, the Purple code, which was the major diplomatic code. The naval codes were a series of 29 separate operational codes. According to Stinnett, Japan used four of these codes to organize and dispatch her warships to Hawaii by radio. American cryptographers had solved each of the four by the fall of 1941, even though the Japanese were introducing minor variants every three months to foil cryptographers.
In January 1941, the U.S. Embassy heard that Japan was planning an attack. Ambassador Joseph Grew in Tokyo passed the information on to Washington. The report, which said the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor with all their air forces, was discounted. And who evaluated and discounted this information? None other than Arthur McCollum.
Naval officer Joseph J. Rochefort, cofounder of the Navy’s communication intelligence section and America’s top military/diplomatic code-breaker, in a postwar assessment of the attack, told an interviewer from the U.S. Naval Institute Oral History Program that the carnage at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 “Was a pretty cheap price to pay for unifying the country.” (10) Rochefort commanded station HYPO, located at Pearl Harbor, which controlled the Mid-Pacific Network, the largest of the Navy’s Pacific operations with about 140 radio intelligence specialists, and had intentionally failed to provide Kimmel information on the location of the Japanese fleet, which had been tracked constantly.
General George Marshall, the Army’s Chief of Staff, called in the Washington bureau chiefs of the major newspapers and magazines on Nov. 15, 1941. This included the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and Newsweek and Time magazines. He pledged these bureau chiefs to secrecy, and told them that we had broken the Japanese codes, and expected war to start in the first week of December 1941.
Pearl Harbor’s Admiral Kimmel, however, had been cut out of the intelligence loop. Despite being told by Admiral Stark on March 22, 1941, that “Naval Intelligence is fully aware of its responsibility in keeping you adequately informed,” what little information he received from Washington did not provide him with an understanding of Japan’s intentions. Stinnett found that by late July 1941, Kimmel “Had been cut off completely from the communications intelligence generated in Washington.”
In “Infamy,” published in 1982, Toland reported that San Francisco’s 12th Naval District located Japanese warships in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii from about November 30 to December 4, 1941. On about December 3, the fleet’s eastward movement stopped and the warships turned south toward Hawaii. The information was forwarded over a secure radio circuit to Washington, where the information reached the White House.
Stinnett reported that Naval intercept station CAST, on Corregidor, had detected most of the invading naval force, including crucial evidence of Japanese carrier radio transmissions, and forwarded this information to station HYPO at Pearl Harbor. Rochefort ignored the CAST reports and did not forward the information to Kimmel.
The truth, to the overwhelming majority of mankind, is indistinguishable from a headache. – H. L. Mencken, 1940
Toland and Stinnett performed a vital service in unearthing the facts concerning the loathsome creature who occupied the White House, who, along with his staff, committed treason by scheming to draw a peace-loving nation into an appalling war that snuffed out the lives of 405,000 young Americans.
The attack by Japanese forces on Pearl Harbor was not a “sneak attack.” The conniving of Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who withheld information about the impending attack from the commanders of Pearl Harbor, provoked the attack. His drawing the U.S. into the European war made possible the survival of Stalin and the emergence of Mao, whose slaughter of their citizens numbered over 70 million.
Recognizing that a traitor and fiend occupied the White House from 1932-1945 whose scheming caused the death of 405,000 Americans is a bitter pill for Americans to swallow. But, in the long run, the truth does indeed set one free.
Dennis Constant is Research Director of the Illinois Taxpayer Education Foundation.
1. Michael Valdez Moses, “A Rendezvous with Density-The FDR Memorial and the Clinton Era,” Reason, April 2001, p. 53.
2. Newspaper Enterprise Association, 1999, William Rusher, “Getting it straight-Hitler came after us, not vice versa.”
3. David Irving, Hitler’s War (New York: AVON BOOKS, 1990), p. 398.
4. Ibid. p. 398.
5. Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (Touchstone Books, 2001), p. 119-120.
6. John Toland, Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath (Berkeley Publications, 1988).
7.Chicago Tribune, Tempo, Jeff Lyon, “Toland’s ‘Infamy’ paints FDR in sordid colors.”
8.Stinnett, Day of Deceit, p. 154.
9. Lecture by Robert B. Stinnett at Independent Institute Conference Center, May 24, 2000, “Pearl Harbor: Official Lies in an American War Tragedy?”
10. Stinnett, Day of Deceit, p. 203.
By Dennis Constant