To what extent was the attack on Pearl Harbor a Surprise to President Roosevelt?

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To what extent was the attack on Pearl Harbor a Surprise to President Roosevelt?

                           Cassandra Stewart

  Mrs. Green

                                                                                                Pre-IB Government


                                                                                         1519 words                                                                                                                    

A.     Plan of Investigation

To what extent was the attack on Pearl Harbor a surprise to President Roosevelt?

On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and left the Unites States in shock. The aim of this investigation is to determine if the US Government knew in advance that the Japanese had planned to attack Pearl Harbor. The investigation will cover the warning signs that were ignored, delays by US officials that led to the attack, and Roosevelt’s deliberate withholding of information from officials at Pearl Harbor. An analysis of these sections should reveal whether the attack was a surprise. The research will come from books dealing with Pearl Harbor.

B.  Summary of Evidence

1. Delays in preparation

  • US officials decoded the 14th part of message at a leisurely pace (Willmott 20)
  • After the 14th part of the message was decoded, there were delays sending for secretary Hull who would deliver the message to officials at Pearl Harbor (Willmott 21).
  • It was a Sunday and few aircraft were manned, crews were ashore, ammunition for guns locked up and military planes were parked wing to wing (Alger 80).
  • US had a strong disbelief that an attack was not possible (Willmott 20).
  • US believed that the Pacific Fleet was a deterrent
  • The US believed that a Japanese attack was inconceivable from 4,000 miles away (Alger 82).
  •  US Navy intelligence officials felt that there was no evidence that pointed to Pearl Harbor more than any other place (Willmott 20).

2. Early Signs of Attack

  • Months before the attack there were many warning signs displayed by Japan (Alger 40).
  • On September 24th a Japanese consultant received grid patterns of Pearl Harbor from Tadashi Morimura, who then gave this information to Japan Naval Intelligence using the J code (Stinnett 140).
  • Caption Kirk chief of Naval Intelligence and Great Britain warned FDR of prior knowledge to attack and the warnings were disregarded (Devany 40).
  • The US ignored building tensions in Japan (Alger 20).
  •  Tojo became Prime Minister of Japan (Young 32).
  • The Japan Imperial Navy changed its security codes twice in one month (Willmott 22).
  • The Japanese press became strident towards the US (Willmott 22).
  •  The sinking of a USS ship a day before the attack was a key warning sign Japan was coming eastward towards Pearl Harbor ( Alger 46).
  • The US lost locations on Japanese carriers and aircrafts because no radar signals were picked up (Alger 35).
  • 100 Japanese fighter planes and 40 bomber planes were spotted flying toward Oahu (Devany 37).
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3. Roosevelt Scandal

  • Roosevelt withheld the location of the Japanese from Pearl Harbor Officials and the fact that negotiating had ended with Japan (Grapes 70).
  • Roosevelt made the US look weak in order to provoke the attack on Pearl Harbor (Grapes 70).        
  • Roosevelt decided to cut off all supplies to Japan causing turmoil in Japan in August of 1941 (Willmott 19).
  • Roosevelt humiliated the Japanese Ambassador by refusing to meet with Premier Konoye on October 16th ignoring his messages (Alger 29).
  • Roosevelt denied Hawaii defense such as a torpedo net and artillery defense (Grapes 65).
  • Roosevelt mislead the ...

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