Thursday, 01 December 2011 08:11

Revealed: The declassified memo that warned FDR of Hawaii attack three days before Pearl Harbor strike

    A freshly declassified memo is shedding new light on a possible tip-off of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the White House’s slow reaction to it.

    The 20-page document from the U.S. Naval Intelligence Office to Franklin Delano Roosevelt appears in a new book December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World.

    The memo read: 'In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii.'

    Surprise strike: Hundreds of U.S. ships and boats were destroyed from Japanese bombs and torpedoes in the devastating attack on December 7, 1941

    This means war: Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the declaration of war against Japan - and later Germany and Italy - on the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

    It also mentioned how the Japanese were bolstering their spy network and collecting ‘technical information’ for use by its Navy.

    More than 2,000 Americans were killed on December 7, 1941, in the surprise attack by hundreds of Japanese war planes.

    It was seen as way to avoid U.S. interference with Japanese military might in the Pacific - and Japan's potential plans to invade the Philippines.

    President Roosevelt called the date one that will 'live in infamy,' and the attack itself propelled the U.S. right into World War II.

    But Roosevelt was often criticized for letting too much prior information of the impending attack slip through the cracks.

    December 1941’s author Craig Shirley, told that there were ‘so many mistakes through so many levels of Washington.’

    Horror: Black smoke pours from USS California in Pearl Harbor after it came under a surprise attack by the Japanese

    But despite those points, Shirley told the website that it doesn’t necessarily mean that President Roosevelt dropped the ball – just that ‘there were more pieces to the puzzle.’

    His book even provides a comparison of the way the Bush administration handled information leading up to the September 11 attacks.

    Mr Shirley said: ‘Some things never change.’

    The book also reveals how FDR and his war cabinet considered the option of declaring war on all three axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) on the night of the Pearl Harbor attack.

    In the end, the United States only went with Japan, citing the idea of isolationism and the nation’s weariness from World War I.

    The U.S. would, however, declare war on Germany and Italy later on December 11.

    The bombing of Pearl Harbor would remain the worst loss of American life in a single strike until the September 11 atrocities - 70 years later.

    Explosive: The USS Shaw was hit by three Japanese bombs in the Pearl Harbor attack and heavily damaged, but later repaired for other missions with the U.S. Navy in World War II


    Related World War History Online Posts

    • Mandaue scrap iron dealer surrenders 4.6 tons of WWII bombs!
      Mandaue scrap iron dealer surrenders 4.6 tons of WWII bombs! Almost 400 World War II explosives were moved out of a residential site in Cebu City after a scrap metal dealer disclosed their location to the police on Monday. It took two trucks to transfer the dangerous cache, which traveled last night, to a scrap yard in barangay Looc, Mandaue City while awaiting proper disposal by the military. Steve Bahani,…
    • Riding with Patton: WWII-era tank commander shares story of advancing into Germany with the 3rd Army
      Riding with Patton: WWII-era tank commander shares story of advancing into Germany with the 3rd Army Bill Pospisil, 92, has enjoyed a long life farming the land he loves and raising a family outside of Carrier. That life nearly was cut short in the Second World War, when a much younger Bill Pospisil was commanding a tank in the 3rd Army’s thrust into Germany.
    • In pictures: Auschwitz-Birkenau, then and now
      In pictures: Auschwitz-Birkenau, then and now The wartime photographs were taken by members of the German SS in 1944 and appear in The Auschwitz Album (or Lili Jacob Album), which contains nearly 200 photographs showing the arrival of a transport of Hungarian Jews at the Birkenau camp. The pictures document each stage of processing - from departure from the train and the march to the gas…
    • Signals flares, means wounded on board. Video - Combat America.
      Signals flares, means wounded on board. Video - Combat America. This DVD is basically a World War II documentary film made for Stateside audiences about life in the Mighty Eighth Air Force in England and in the deadly skies over Europe. Narrated by Clark Gable, who actually flew around five missions in B-17′s before heading off to safer locales, the film follows the daily lives of the men of the…