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 USNews.com 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


    Source

    Related World War History Online Posts

    • Torpedo Squadron Four - A Cockpit View of World War II
      Torpedo Squadron Four - A Cockpit View of World War II “Suddenly, the Avenger flown by Lt.(jg) John Palmer exploded just in front of me and started a gradual spiral toward the sea. The skipper broke radio silence and told the plane crew to bail out, but only one parachute popped into sight before the plane plunged into the sea. I drew myself into the center of my own cockpit under…
    • Jim Gavin: The General Who Jumped First
      Jim Gavin: The General Who Jumped First                 July 11, 1943, was one of the most unforgettable days of Jim Gavin's life. It was on this, the second day of the Sicily Campaign, that he demonstrated the courage and leadership skills that would soon propel him to become, at age 37, the U.S. Army's youngest major general and division commander…
    • The Catalina sank a German U-boat off Iceland in 1944.
      The Catalina sank a German U-boat off Iceland in 1944. A WW2 Catalina flying boat which took part in the Fermanagh Seaplane Festival a month ago remains stranded at the former wartime airbase on Lough Erne.
    • Black Women Shine in New World War II Documentary
      Black Women Shine in New World War II Documentary Above: Ruth Wilson, a sheet metal worker at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in World War II Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II features women who worked in war production and medical fields, provided government services and served as volunteers during the war While movies like Red Tails show the impact African-American servicemen made during World War II,…