Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Role of Pearl Harbor

Jun 26, 2009 11:09 pm

The Role of Pearl Harbor

George Victor's book The Pearl Harbor Myth, which I just read, erases any remaining doubt that FDR anticipated the attack on Pearl Harbor or that he and George Marshall deliberately prevented the commanders in Hawaii from knowing about it beforehand. As Robert Higgs pointed out in a review in the Freeman last year, Victor's account is too well documented to be denied by anyone who looks at the facts objectively.

Ironically, Victor defends the actions of Roosevelt and his cronies. The argument: the war against Hitler justified extreme measures to persuade the pacifist/isolationist American people to go to war.

Hitler, according to Victor, needed three years to achieve his plan for exterminating the Jews, so he wanted at all costs to avoid war with the United States.

Unable to provoke a fight with Germany, the United States went after Japan, contriving a situation in which a"surprise" attack would be successful. The attack instantly reversed American public opinion and the nation entered a war against an enemy that was no direct threat to it. Furthermore, according to Victor, the United States had promised to defend the Philippines against Japan but failed to do so. The unkept promise prevented a truce between the Philippines and Japan and led to the loss of more than 1 million lives.

All to fight Hitler.

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Jonathan Dresner - 6/28/2009

Why would you trust the conclusions of someone whose supporting material is so easily refuted?

Jane S. Shaw - 6/28/2009

What is my case? It is that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor and chose not to inform the Navy and Army leadership in Hawaii.

There may be debate about other aspects that Victor brings up -- I don't have the expertise to go much beyond his claims, although I hope that others will. There is, apparently, evidence that Hitler didn't want to get into a war with the United States if he could avoid it--but it may not be that strong. The fact that Hitler entered the war after Pearl Harbor doesn't necessarily contradict that claim, however. The landscape -- and seascape -- had completely changed.

Whatever Hitler's motives were, FDR had found himself unable to persuade Congress to declare war. So he allowed Japan a "surprise" attack. That policy worked.

Jonathan Dresner - 6/27/2009

...this is even worse than the first time.

A "truce" between the Philippines and Japan wouldn't have been possible: it was a colony of the US to 1936 and a Commonwealth territory of the US until after WWII. The Philippines could no more have had an independent treaty with Japan than Puerto Rico could carry out its own foreign policy.

Oh, and that last line? Not helping your case.

Jonathan Dresner - 6/27/2009

Good question.

Alternatively, the thesis of the book is wrong and the more conventional view is correct: Hitler declared war on the US precisely because his alliance with Japan gave him a legitimate way to open hostilities against US ships which had been supporting the UK and prolonging his conquest of Europe. Like Japan, Hitler thought the US would back down when faced with actual violent resistance; like Japan, he was wrong.

Regarding Pearl Harbor itself, none of the evidence Riggs cites in his review actually contradicts the less conspiratorial view that the attack from Japan was expected due to the state of negotiations, that Pearl Harbor was one possible target but less likely than the Phillippines (which is why there was so little caution in that regard), that the only people really surprised by the opening of hostilities were those who weren't paying any attention at all to the state of the world.

Mark Brady - 6/26/2009

"Hitler, according to Victor, needed three years to achieve his plan for exterminating the Jews, so he wanted at all costs to avoid war with the United States."

So why on December 11 did Hitler declare war on the U.S.?