On December 7, 1941 the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by Japanese forces. President Roosevelt, in his well known Infamy speech delivered on December 8, claimed the attack was “unprovoked” and, on this basis, asked for and received a declaration of war from the U.S. Congress.
But the evidence suggests the attack was not unprovoked. On the contrary, it was carefully and systematically provoked in order to manipulate the U.S. population into joining WWII.
This provocation game, spectacularly successful in 1941, is currently being played with North Korea. The stakes are high.
Many good people are reluctant to look critically at the U.S. role in the Pearl Harbor attacks because they consider FDR a progressive president and because they are appalled at the thought of what might have happened if the U.S. had not joined the war. But they should not allow these considerations to prevent them from examining the Pearl Harbor operation. To give up such examination is to give up the understanding of a key method of manipulating populations.
In 1941 the U.S. leadership put into effect the complete embargo McCollum had proposed. This included cutting off Japan’s supply of oil, a move that would have made Japan’s continued participation in the war, and even its existence as an industrial nation, impossible. As one commentator put it:
“We cut off their money, their fuel and trade. We were just tightening the screws on the Japanese. They could see no way of getting out except going to war” (Stinnett, p. 121).
The Japanese response was predictable. In their declaration of war against the United States (and Britain), published directly after the Pearl Harbor attack, they said:
“They have obstructed by every means Our peaceful commerce and finally resorted to a direct severance of economic relations, menacing gravely the existence of Our Empire This trend of affairs, would, if left unchecked, not only nullify Our Empire’s efforts of many years for the sake of the stabilization of East Asia, but also endanger the very existence of Our nation.”
By the time Japan decided on its aggressive response U.S. intelligence had cracked the vital Japanese communication codes, both diplomatic and military (Stinnett, xiv and throughout), and was able to track closely Japanese vessels as they began their movements toward Pearl Harbor. The attack was permitted to proceed without obstruction.