Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Unprovoked And Dastardly Attack"

USS Arizona 12/7/41

USS Arizona today

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (12/7/41)

“With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt (12/8/41)

Total killed at Pearl Harbor 2,402

Attack begins:  7:48 a.m.

USS Arizona explodes: 8:10 a.m.

USS Arizona:  1,177 killed in action, the highest loss of live in US naval history. 


Anonymous said...

Unprovoked? Time to read your history more carefully.

Larry Kelley said...

As Bill Clinton would say, depends on how you define "unprovoked."

Anonymous said...

Refusing to provide Japan with supplies to continue its aggression against other Asian states is not "provocation."

Larry Kelley said...

The people of Nanking would agree.

Bluenu said...

"Unprovoked and Dastardly Attack" has a historical context in FDR's infamy speech.

"I ask that the Congress declare that since the *unprovoked and dastardly attack* by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."

It appears that LK knows his history well enough.

However, after visiting Japan many many years ago, I can certainly agree that there are two (radically) different views the this war. It is unlikely that either view is (entirely) correct.

Larry Kelley said...

And towards the end of that sobering speech FDR goes on to acknowledge Japan issued a last-minute dispatch (timed for pre-bombing delivery) that did NOT formally -- or even informally -- declare war on the United States:

"While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack."

Anonymous said...

They started it, we finished it. Wars suck!

Dr. Ed said...

As I understand it, the Japanese screwed up and thought that Hawaii was on California time -- or somehow thought that difference between DC-time and Hawaii-time was an hour more that it actually was. (My guess is that wartime changes to the Daylight-Savings rules changed it from what it was in the 1930's.)

Hence the message their ambassador gave was supposed to be BEFORE the attack and not AFTER -- and they were quite embarassed by this. Furthermore, you will notice that the aircraft carriers were NOT in the harbor which tells me that this was not unexpected.

And at the very least, someone ought to have scrambled a couple of fighters to verify that what was thought to be an incoming flight of B-29's actually was because -- it wasn't -- the primitive radar of the day picked up the incoming Japanese airplanes.

It goes without saying that the two US planes wouldn't have fared well against the horde of Japanese ones -- that their deaths would have been to warn Pearl of the incoming attack and to save everyone else.

Which then goes to GW Bush's service in the Texas ANG -- and all of the heroic ANG guys during the cold war who went up in often-obsolete aircraft to challenge unidentified (usually Soviet) aircraft which were approaching our coasts. Including Soviet bombers presumed to be carrying nukes -- who would have had fighter escorts to shoot down GW and his buddies if this was a real attack.

Say what you want about GWB -- and I won't say much positive myself -- faulting his service in the Guard, faulting him for doing exactly what the Guard's rules then allowed (and what everyone else could do if they wanted to),is to forget the fact that he could have been one of the two guys sent up as two guys should have been sent up on December 7, 1941.

Dr. Ed said...

...depends on how you define "unprovoked."

I think that our decision to stop selling them Oil & Scrap Metal would be about the same thing as OPEC's decision to stop selling us Oil in 1983. The so-called "Arab Oil Embargo" was every bit as much a political and strategic decision as FDR's was.

So Nixon would have been justified in bombing Mecca?

I am neither a fan of FDR nor of the belief that he didn't help provoke the start of the war -- kinda like a younger Winston Churchill had done a generation earlier with the Louisatania -- but this WAS "unprovoked."

Dr. Ed said...

And for what it's worth, I think Hiroshima was a good decision -- and one which also saved Japanese lives.

Walter Graff said...

This was not only not unprovoked, many former higher ups in the Navy have written that it was wanted and some say we had great knowledge of the pending attack, all to balance out our role and our allies in the war. I worked on a documentary some years ago and interviewed some former higher ups and survivors who told me very compelling stories related to the direct knowledge of this attack by the US prior to it occurring.

The Juggernaut said...

Well Ed,

Firstly considering the B-29 first flew in 1942, I think you might mean B-17s. As for the conspiracy notion, I believe it to be akin to 9/11. Sure, agencies might have heard rumblings, but did not have the details. Simply, if the higher ups knew of a coming attack which would guarantee the swaying of public opinion, why did they not strengthen the US forces before? Or at least prepare for the swing in opinion?