Perl Harbor

Perl Harbor

In 1941, one of the largest American military
defeats occurred. An entire naval fleet was destroyed, hundreds were killed,
all before 09.00 on a Sunday. The US did not have any knowledge of this
attack, partially because of ignorance, partially because of the military
strategies of their Japanese opponents. The Japanese attack on the US naval
base of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was a classic case of "It will
not happen to me!" Although the US suspected Japanese actions, they did
not take a defensive stance as they believed an attack would never touch
their soil. Through an examination of military history, tactics and eye
witness descriptions, it will be proven that the US had no knowledge of
the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In the years before 1941, the war saw
little American military action. After the collapse of France, American

President Roosevelt promised his county that no American troops would be
sent to Europe to aid in the battle against Hitler and his powerful army.

These promises caused Roosevelt to be criticized by his closest advisors
for his indecisiveness about declaring war.

The President\'s defense to these accusations
was he did not want to out step public opinion. As well, he believed American
intervention would cause a \'mortal blow\' to the Allies cause. In reality,
the advisors, as well as Roosevelt, knew that Britain could not win the
war without American armed intervention. Two oceans to the East, Japan
was deep into a war or her own. Japanese forces were concentrated on the

Chinese front to conquer and obtain. As a result of her unpopular declaration
of war on China, Japan\'s fuel supply from the US was eliminated. Consequently,
the Japanese turned to Indonesia to continue the supply of fuel for her
war efforts. Fuel talks broke down as the Dutch, who were in control of
the Indonesian fuel supply and, under heavy influence from the US, would
not supply Japan with fuel. Desperately needing fuel to continue the war,

Japan first thought of attacking Indonesia, but feared US intervention.

After some thought, Japanese leaders decided
that an attack directly on the US would be more appropriate to bring the

US to the fuel supplies negotiating table . The first acknowledgment that

Japan was a war threat came on November 27, 1941 when Washington ordered
a \'War Warning\'. The US feared a Japanese attack, not on America, but on
the Philippines. American military leaders took little or no precautions
upon the issue of warning. Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lt. General Walter

C. Short of Pearl Harbor had done nothing to make the fleet or its defenses
ready for Japanese attack . The commanding officers believed the warning
to be no more than a possible threat of sabotage from the Japanese living
on the island of Oahu. As a result, the officers ordered that all aircraft
in the base be lined up at wing tip to be easily guarded. Defenses were
on limited alert, with no long distance reconnaissance and no improvements
on the limited anti-aircraft defenses. On board ships, only half of the
anti-aircraft positions were stood at with the ammunition locked away.

"In every reference I\'ve seen and every Pearl Harbor survivor I\'ve ever
talked to, each referred to the attack as a surprise," said PH1 Goodwin
of Pearl Harbor in an Electronic-mail letter dated December 15, 1997. Mr.

Goodwin\'s comment is embarrassing at best, subsequently the American defense
stance has been referred to as a \'shameful blunder\' . The lack of preparation
for an attack demonstrated by the officers at Pearl Harbor portrayed the
general attitude of ignorance in the American government.

The United States of America is the strongest,
most powerful country in the world. A country such as Japan, which does
not even have the resources to survive a lengthy war, could not possibly
attack them . The result of the attack would have been much less serious
had the American officers exercised more vigilance. The ignorance was so
great that, on the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, several major and
peculiar instances were noted and ignored by officers on duty. At 03.50
an unidentified periscope was seen and ignored at the entrance of the harbor.

Also, the destroyer "Ward" depth-charged and sank an unidentified submarine
at 06.37. The contact report was taken up much later and with no degree
of urgency. Finally, two radar sightings of a large mass of aircraft 64
kilometers north of the island were dismissed by the commanding officer
at 07.02 as a \'probable\' flight of B-17s from the US west coast . These