December 7, 2011

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. It also marks the end of the Great Depression.

Contrary to the liberal elite who have inundated our schools and universities with textbooks praising Franklin Roosevelt for bringing us out of the depression with hundreds of New Deal programs, the real fact is that it took a war to get us out of the twelve year nightmare.

Tuesday, syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan posted an article entitled: "Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor" in which he drew much of his arguments from a book I hadn't read or heard of. It is Herbert Hoover's own account of the event of World War II called Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's History of the Second World War and its Aftermath, edited by George Nash. I had to find a copy and quick!

Freedom Betrayed represents the culmination of an extraordinary literary project which took nearly fifty years after its completion to publish. It is has been called by the Heritage Foundation Hoover’s “magnum opus” and offers a revisionist reexamination of the war and its Cold War aftermath and a sweeping indictment of the “lost statesmanship” of Franklin Roosevelt.

The book started as a volume of Hoover's memoirs, yet it initially focused on his battle against Roosevelt's foreign policies before Pearl Harbor. As time went on, however, he widened his scope to include Roosevelt’s foreign policies during the war, as well as the war’s consequences: the expansion of the Soviet empire at war’s end and the eruption of the Cold War against the Communists.

I have only scanned the crucial parts that led to the brutal attack on our Pacific fleet in Hawaii and the events prior to the attack would provoke my pet dog to charge at me. It's how Roosevelt treated the Japanese who, until about two months before the attack, were considered friendly.

It has long been suspected that there was advanced knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that was not properly given to commanders at Pearl Harbor, information that could have prevented the attack or let the American forces be more prepared.

The two primaries issues: was the attack on Pearl Harbor provoked? and did the FDR administration have prior knowledge of an impending attack and fail to warn those stationed at Pearl Harbor?

Whether or not FDR knew about the Japanese plans to attack Pearl Harbor actually misses the larger and more important issue, which is the fact that the Japanese were provoked into attacking America at Pearl Harbor. The majority of Americans, and even service men, were unaware of what was going on behind the scenes, but not all were.  FDR had been charged in public with agitating  for war since 1939. FDR had to push the Japanese into attacking the United States because the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed getting involved in the war and Japan itself had no intentions of attacking the United States, their interest was Asia. Without FDR's antagonisms towards the Japanese, Congress and the American people never would have allowed FDR to declare war on Japan or Germany; FDR knew this, and he also knew how important it really was that America join in the war against fascism and imperialism.

The most direct evidence of antagonisms toward Japan  is the McCollum Memo written October 7th 1940 (declassified in 1994) that was given to FDR as well as the actions that were later taken by the administration.

Of critical importance in this memo is the portion that reads:

9. It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude. Therefore, the following course of action is suggested:

 A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.

 B. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.

 C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek.

 D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.

 E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.

 F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.

 G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.

 H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.

  10. If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better. At all events we must be fully prepared to accept the threat of war.

- H. McCollum

On November 26, 1941 Secretary of State Hull presented "peace terms" to the Japanese. The terms presented by Hull were such that in order for Japan to agree to them they would have had to withdraw from China, and essentially end all hostilities, something that the administration knew was not going to happen.

Of Hull's presentation to Japan, the American Ambassador to Japan stated that it was: "The document that touched the button that started the war."

After the Hull presentation to the Japanese, the following warning was issued on November 27, 1941, 10 days prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. This memo clearly shows that an attack was suspected, but the nature of the attack was unknown and in fact the primary suspicion was that an attack would occur west of Hawaii. 

Yes conflict was being provoked, but the details of the coming attack were unknown and the attack was much more than anyone had bargained for. 

What is most important about the Pearl Harbor incident is understanding why FDR resorted to such measures in the first place to get into war.

To be sure, the attack on Pearl Harbor brought FDR to the rostrum of the House chambers at the Capital and a plea for a Declaration of War.

Up until the attack, Congress would have never let FDR get into the war in Europe or the Pacific. This is partly because many of the members of Congress were backed by wealthy Americans who were working with the fascist powers of Europe. America had significant financial ties to the fascist powers at the time of WWII, and the European fascists were backed by private Americans as an anti-Communist force. In addition to these facts the general American population was ill informed about what was going on in Europe and a significant anti-war movement had taken hold in America because America had just come off of a 30 year imperialist military streak that had given Americans negative feelings about American military actions.

American businessmen had been supplying the fascist powers with oil and FDR was finally advised to embargo the trade of oil to the Axis powers in order to help instigate them into declaring war on America as well.

In March of 1941 FDR said to  Winston Churchill: "I may never declare war; I may make war. If I were to ask Congress to declare war they might argue about it for three months."

On December 7, 1941, the unemployment rate stood at 14.8 percent. On December 8th, Congress gave FDR his war, four days later the draft was back in full gear and by March, 1942, nearly 85 percent of young men between the ages of nineteen and thirty and unemployed went off to war.

By June, 1942, unemployment was down to 4.3 percent. Two months later, the Depression was officially over.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of an event which threw us into a war that brought 417,000 deaths and 484,000 wounded American soldiers. But it also was the spark needed to end an economic fiasco that $583 billion worth of government programs and nearly 9 years of New Deal socialism couldn't.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.