“A date which will live in infamy,” could be considered the day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, or it could be considered the day when one of the biggest controversies of American history took place. Either case, the quote is describing the same scenario. One of the biggest controversies in American history is whether or not President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew beforehand about the attack on Pearl Harbor. There are many reasons pointing in the direction that he did know about the attack and refused to take action.
Months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans had been decoding the Japanese messages. The messages led to signs that the Japanese were threatened by Roosevelt’s raw material and oil embargoes causing the Japanese to prepare for war with America. These messages were intercepted and decoded. According to U. S. News & World Report, one of the most controversial (messages) was decoded in October 1941…it asked the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu for regular reports on the location of ‘warships and aircraft carriers…at anchor, tied up at wharves, buoys, and in the docks’ in Pearl Harbor. After America decoded this message, vague warnings were sent on November 27 and 28 to Pearl Harbor to be on alert, but not to take it too seriously because America did not want any unnecessary publicity. Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, many people have instantly thrown blame on Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter C. Short. According to U. S. News & World Report, “The two were accused of ‘dereliction of duty…. The Japanese attack was a complete surprise to the commanders and they failed to make suitable dispositions to meet such an attack. ” The problem with accusing Kimmel and Short of “dereliction of duty” is that Washington D. C. knew of an imminent attack and no one informed Kimmel and Short. How is it justified to blame the two men in charge that knew the least about the situation? People speculate why only the “old” battleships were in the harbor, while all the “important” ships, such as the aircraft carriers, were at sea. According to www. whatreallyhappened. com, “In the Spring he [Roosevelt] had sent many ships to the Atlantic.
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He kept the aircraft carrier Saratoga on the West Coast. ” Another prime example that Roosevelt knew about the attack could be summed up by his attitude after the attack: “The Japanese only destroyed a lot of old hardware. In a sense they did us a favor. ” When Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for reelection in 1940, he knew that the war would be a very political topic. In response, Roosevelt solemnly promised to keep out of foreign affairs, while all the while supporting the Allies.
FDR knew the only way to declare war was to have strong support come from the rest of the country (Perhaps the support could come from a non-lethal attack on America). In the book Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert Stinnett, Stinnett presents documents released by the Navy that argues that not only did President Roosevelt provoke war with Japan, but also that he withheld the decoded messages from military heads. “[Roosevelt] had to have a clean-cut act of war to overcome the isolationist movement in this country,” says Stinnett. He didn’t want Kimmel or Short to interfere. ” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America, is one of the greatest hypocrites in American history. In accordance with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, FDR did just about everything but follow his own advice when he said, “When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him. ” Works Cited Curry, Andrew. “Blamed for Pearl Harbor. (dispute over culpability in 1941 attack). ” U. S. News & World Report. Jun 2001. Willey, Mark. “Pearl Harbor: Mother of All Conspiracies. Dec 2001. .