By Carl Herman
December 5, 2016
Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (New York, Free Press, 2000)
Stinnett conclusively demonstrates with vast and incontrovertible documentary evidence that in order to precipitate an unwilling American public into supporting intervention in the Second World War, President Roosevelt oversaw the contrivance and deployment of a closely-guarded secret plot to goad the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. The plan was set in motion in October 1940, and its development closely monitored through decoded intercepts of Japanese diplomatic and military radio communications. Knowledge of the plan was limited to 13 Roosevelt administration members and chief military officers, and 21 members of Naval Intelligence and related operations. Once it produced the intended result and the attack impended, the Pacific fleet’s modern naval vessels were sent to sea from Pearl Harbor, leaving seven antiquated World War One battleships as decoys. Meanwhile, the Japanese fleet was tracked with radio intercepts from its formation off the Kuril Islands on November 16, and its sailing for Hawaii on November 26; its course was cleared of all shipping with a Vacant Sea order on the 22nd; and Pearl Harbor naval patrols were ordered out of the area on the 25th. The intelligence of the impending attack was withheld from the officers (Admiral Kimmel and General Short) charged with defending Pearl Harbor, who were kept uninformed of the plan and intelligence of the impending attack, and scape-goated afterward. A coverup of the entire operation was maintained through eight official and Congressional investigations between 1941 and 1946, and down to Strom Thurmond’s inquiry in 1995. Stinnett’s forty-seven pages of Appendices (p. 261-308) present photographic reproductions of essential documents obtained from Federal archives through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as numerous other documents reproduced in the body of the text, and 65 pages (p. 309-374) of closely detailed and referenced notes, all of which copiously and conclusively document Stinnett’s factual assertions, arguments and conclusions. His voluminous research files and notes are deposited at the Hoover Institute library at Stanford.
It is notable that Lt. Commander McCollum’s “eight-action memo” for inciting war with the Japanese is dated October 7, 1940; that its sixth action was set in motion on October 8, its first, second and seventh on October 16; and that, campaigning for a third term as president in Boston on October 30, FDR said: “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;” on November 1 in Brooklyn he said “I am fighting to keep our people out of foreign wars. And I will keep on fighting;” at Rochester on the 2nd he said “Your national government … is equally a government of peace — a government that intends to retain peace for the American people;” the same day in Buffalo he asserted “Your President says this country is not going to war;” and in Cleveland on the 3rd he declared “The first purpose of our foreign policy is to keep our country out of war.” These quotations are from William Henry Chamberlin, “How Franklin Roosevelt Lied America Into War,” in Harry Elmer Barnes, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (Caldwell, Idaho, Caxton, 1953), Chapter Eight, p. 485-4