by John V. Denson

A new book entitled The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable by George Victor and published by Potomac Books Inc. of Washington, D.C. is well researched and gives a very clear picture of how and why the Pearl Harbor myth was created. This “patriotic political myth” states that the attack by the Japanese was unprovoked and was a surprise to the Roosevelt administration, as well as, the key military personnel in Washington; but the commanders of Pearl Harbor were at fault for not being ready. Based on a good summary of the up-to-date research the author, who is an approving admirer of Roosevelt, concludes that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the attack and that he and his key military and administrative advisers clearly knew, well in advance, that the Japanese were going to attack both Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. Roosevelt wanted to get into the European War but he had been unsuccessful in provoking Germany; therefore, he considered the sacrifice of Pearl Harbor and the Philippines as the best way to get into the European War through the back door of Japan. The cover-up of this strategy started immediately after the attack and continues to this day. The author concludes that this information of the coming attack was intentionally withheld from the military commanders because it was known that the Japanese were depending upon the element of surprise and if warnings had been sent to the commanders of Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, their preparation for the attack would have caused the Japanese to cancel their plans.

The losses and damages at Pearl Harbor are described by Victor as follows:

“In the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States lost twenty-four hundred troops along with a quarter of her fleet. Many military leaders and Knox, Hull, and Roosevelt had underestimated the harm Japan could do, even by a surprise attack. And U.S. losses were much increased by two unlikely events. A Japanese bomb penetrated the battleship Arizona’s armor at an odd angle, reaching her magazine and causing her to explode. And the torpedoed battleship Oklahoma capsized. The explosion of the Arizona and the capsizing of the Oklahoma resulted in the drowning of sixteen hundred sailors.”

The tremendous losses in the Philippines have been virtually hidden from the American public but they were mostly the native soldiers and civilians. Victor states:

“The Philippines suffered widespread destruction and was captured. Twenty-four hundred troops and seventy civilians were lost in Hawaii. In the Philippines, one hundred forty thousand troops were lost and civilian deaths – still unreported – are estimated to have been as high as three million. Nonetheless, the defeat at Pearl Harbor became a wrenching tragedy, and the administration sacrificed the commanders there to restore public confidence, while the defeat in the Philippines became a noble defense. Despite devastation and loss of the Philippines, a public relations operation turned MacArthur into a hero and he was promoted. The public reaction is not strange, however, when seen in the light of government control of information – a usual wartime practice.”

The author states that the most recent Pearl Harbor investigation by Congress in October, 2000 resulted in a resolution by Congress “calling on President William Clinton to restore the reputations of Short and Kimmel. It provoked the flurry of accusations that Congress was usurping the job of historians, revising history, and reviving a long-discredited conspiracy theory. Clinton took no action on the resolution.”

Link to the rest of the article FDR, Pearl Harbor and the U.N.