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OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate the Pearl Harbor attack?

 
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OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate the P... - 10/23/2012 9:22:10 PM   
Olorin


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Hello,

I am doing a presentation on the title's subject and I am looking for a book that presents the pre-war strategic planning and intelligence efforts of the US planners. I have found a few good journals, articles and pdfs by googling, but I'd like to buy a hard copy of a good, respectable book on this subject, both to read it myself and to include it in my presentation as recommended reading. What is the best book that first comes in your mind when you think of this subject? I'd be grateful for any help.



< Message edited by Olorin -- 10/23/2012 9:26:14 PM >


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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 9:36:55 PM   
fodder


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Don't know if it's the best book on the subject, but the first one that comes to mind is.

SCAPEGOATS a defence of Kimmel and Short at Pearl Harbor, by Edward L. Beach. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-059-2

Hope this helps.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 9:49:29 PM   
dr.hal


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Wow, what a topic, it would be easier to write the history of the Roman empire...oh, wait, that's been done!

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 10:13:02 PM   
warspite1


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As the Jackson 5 once said, Dont blame it on the sunshine, don't blame on the moonlight, don't blame it on the good times - blame it on the boogie......

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 10:14:42 PM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

As the Jackson 5 once said, Dont blame it on the sunshine, don't blame on the moonlight, don't blame it on the good times - blame it on the boogie......



Wise words from The World of FunkyTown

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 10:54:09 PM   
Wirraway_Ace


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These are the two I recommend:
"And I was there" by Layton
"At dawn we slept" by Prange

Both are excellent in my opinion. Layton goes into more detail in terms of the intelligence failures.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 10:57:39 PM   
Dili

 

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Well several people anticipated Pearl Harbor, many more didn't anything or enough about it.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 11:12:42 PM   
pontiouspilot


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John Toland is well recogized and has 2 large books on topic. I am not near my bookshelf so I can only remember name of 1: "Infamy"...if I am not mistaken.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/23/2012 11:58:23 PM   
dorjun driver


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Pearl Harbor; warning and decision by Roberta Wohlstetter

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 12:04:47 AM   
Justus2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wirraway_Ace

These are the two I recommend:
"And I was there" by Layton
"At dawn we slept" by Prange

Both are excellent in my opinion. Layton goes into more detail in terms of the intelligence failures.


Prange actually wrote two other books on the topic, one of them Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History would probably deal more with what you are looking for.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 12:36:04 AM   
Olorin


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Thanks for all the suggestions.
That's more books than I can read until next Wednesday, but keep them coming!

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 2:30:38 AM   
AW1Steve


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Day of Lightning,Years of Scorn.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 2:52:19 AM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Olorin

Thanks for all the suggestions.
That's more books than I can read until next Wednesday, but keep them coming!


Depends on how deep you are going but Prange was a professor at the University of MD at College Park and there is an entire collection under his name in the graduate library there. If I was going to do some serious research on Pearl Harbor, this is where I would start.


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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 6:13:50 AM   
slinkytwf


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Layton's volume was a direct rebuttal to Prange, who, although detailed, got a lot of things just plain wrong. If you use Prange as a source, also use Layton. As my military history professor said at the time, "If you want to make money as a military historian, write a controversial book about Pearl Harbor."

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 7:46:16 AM   
jmalter

 

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hi Olorin,

there's a lot of literature available, but the "who is to blame?" topic would focus too much on individuals (who might rightly/wrongly be accused of failing their responsibilities). but you might profit by examining a time-line of events, to include the military/diplomatic/economic events as tensions between IJ & US ratcheted up.

US re-basing the BBs to Pearl, the fall of France, IJ occupation of Indochina, US economic sanctions & air reinforcements to the Phillipines, the Washington negotiations, etc.

you should look at SecState Cordell Hull & the trade sanctions, i think that was the US action that convinced IJ to tilt to the option for war.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:54:16 AM   
Olorin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jmalter

hi Olorin,

there's a lot of literature available, but the "who is to blame?" topic would focus too much on individuals (who might rightly/wrongly be accused of failing their responsibilities). but you might profit by examining a time-line of events, to include the military/diplomatic/economic events as tensions between IJ & US ratcheted up.

US re-basing the BBs to Pearl, the fall of France, IJ occupation of Indochina, US economic sanctions & air reinforcements to the Phillipines, the Washington negotiations, etc.


Hi jmalter,
That's more or less what I am going to do. The "Who to blame" title leaves open the option to blame no person and spread responsibility across many individuals and institutions. Sometimes stuff happens, without anyone in particular to blame.

Just for the record, the main reasons I will present that contributed to the failure, imo, are (in random order):
- Basing the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, redeploying heavy bombers in Philippines. Measures to deter the Japanese from attacking and making any potential operations in the Western Pacific too costly for Japan (or so it was thought).
- Philippines was believed to be out of range by Japanese aircraft, carriers were needed to support an invasion
- Heavy bombers based in Philippines were believed to be more effective at naval strikes than they actually were in practice
- Carriers not seen as strategically decisive capital ships. The battleship was still the weapon of decision in all navies of the era. USA used carriers only in support role.
- Lack of planning by the Japanese. Plans begun formulating after September. Too many options to attack (Russia, DEI, China, USA, Thailand, Burma, Malaya).
- US planners simply did not believe that Japan would not attack them, instead preferring to expand their war in China or attack SE Asia (Thailand/Burma/Malaya) and/or the DEI
- Intelligence services fragmentation of resources and information.
- Japanese misinformation
- A lot of false alarms

I am sure this list will be expanded before next Wednesday.




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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 10:46:41 AM   
ilovestrategy


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And no, Roosevelt did not keep knowledge of Dec. 7th from the folks at Pearl. I really do hate those conspiracy theories.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:01:02 PM   
LargeSlowTarget


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Justus2
Prange actually wrote two other books on the topic, one of them Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History would probably deal more with what you are looking for.


Exactly. Prange concluded "There is enough blame for everyone" - starting with American voters being responsible for a parsimonious congress not providing enough money for the Armed forces; widespread racism coupled with underestimation of Japan / overconfidence in US power; wrong estimates, assessements, communication failures etc. at and between the White House, the Pentagon, Office of Naval Intelligence, the commanders at Pearl etc. The entire issue is so complex that you cannot put the blame on one or two individuals.



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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:07:05 PM   
Dili

 

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I think the biggest blame should go to whom not implemented an early warning system in Pearl Harbor.
Taranto was 1 year earlier...

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:14:50 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

I think the biggest blame should go to whom not implemented an early warning system in Pearl Harbor.
Taranto was 1 year earlier...

warspite1

They had one - the aircraft were caught on radar..... Remember the line from Tora Tora Tora? "What shall we do sir?"....

"Don't worry about it"

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:17:31 PM   
slinkytwf


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jmalter

hi Olorin,

there's a lot of literature available, but the "who is to blame?" topic would focus too much on individuals (who might rightly/wrongly be accused of failing their responsibilities). but you might profit by examining a time-line of events, to include the military/diplomatic/economic events as tensions between IJ & US ratcheted up.

US re-basing the BBs to Pearl, the fall of France, IJ occupation of Indochina, US economic sanctions & air reinforcements to the Phillipines, the Washington negotiations, etc.

you should look at SecState Cordell Hull & the trade sanctions, i think that was the US action that convinced IJ to tilt to the option for war.


If pursuing this tangent in greater depth, also consult Akira Iriye's works for a more Japanese perspective, notably "The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific." He has also written a book about Pearl Harbor, but I have not read it, so I can't recommemd it one way or another.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:18:13 PM   
The Gnome


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

I think the biggest blame should go to whom not implemented an early warning system in Pearl Harbor.
Taranto was 1 year earlier...

warspite1

They had one - the aircraft were caught on radar..... Remember the line from Tora Tora Tora? "What shall we do sir?"....

"Don't worry about it"



Well, they had the technology, but not the system. That to me is one of the great feats of the British, not just building radar post, but a complete integrated air defense network. I see this all the time in my field of work. So many businesses think they can add computers to their business and they "win", but so many fail to integrate systems around their technology.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:22:37 PM   
AW1Steve


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Blame should go from everyone from the Commander in chief , to the young LT manning the Ft. Shafter information center. Almost everyone who had information, mis-read it, misjudged it , or through "wishfull thinking" saw it to mean something else. The only people who pretty much called it right were Admiral Richardson (who was fired because he defied FDR in pressing his views) and Admiral Bellenger and General Martin who in their "Bellenger/Martin report" pretty much nailed the Japanese plan to a T.

FDR/Hull/Stimson/Knox/Marshall all pretty much saw war in the PI as the most likely place an attack would fall. NONE of them belived in would be at PH. They honestly felt it was impossible. Gen. Short felt that the Japanese couldn't possibly do a Carrier attack , but WAS convinced sabotage would happen...and acted as he saw it accordingly. Kimmel considered it unlikely , but felt a calculated risk was warranted by holding the BB's till the CV's got back. The RADAR/operation CTR saw the raid as a group of bomber they were expecting.

You can't fault people for "reading the tea leaves" incorrectly. Then OR now. Lapses of intelligence occur. But even more common are misinterpreting intelligence mistakes. Had the Japanese done the expected and the American government dropped the ball, then I could see screaming for blood. But because people are not capable of unconventional thinking , can we justify lining them up against the wall and shooting them?

In my opinion , it's very apparent who was to blame for the failures of that day. The Japanese Empire.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:24:46 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

I think the biggest blame should go to whom not implemented an early warning system in Pearl Harbor.
Taranto was 1 year earlier...



Yes , but the US RADAR program was in it's infancy. The British had given the US a thyrotrone less than a year before. In many respects the US RADAR program was no less great an enterprise then the Mahattan project.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:26:18 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

I think the biggest blame should go to whom not implemented an early warning system in Pearl Harbor.
Taranto was 1 year earlier...

warspite1

They had one - the aircraft were caught on radar..... Remember the line from Tora Tora Tora? "What shall we do sir?"....

"Don't worry about it"



Well, they had the technology, but not the system. That to me is one of the great feats of the British, not just building radar post, but a complete integrated air defense network. I see this all the time in my field of work. So many businesses think they can add computers to their business and they "win", but so many fail to integrate systems around their technology.



And I'm sure you sadly need to point out the old axiom about computers....GIGO (Garbage In , garbage out).

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"Geezerhood is a state of mind, attained by being largely out of yours". AW1Steve

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:28:48 PM   
The Gnome


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

And I'm sure you sadly need to point out the old axiom about computers....GIGO (Garbage In , garbage out).


You have no idea, I get cold sweats thinking about stuff like that. The lowest common denominator of any technology is the person using it.

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:31:35 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome


quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

And I'm sure you sadly need to point out the old axiom about computers....GIGO (Garbage In , garbage out).


You have no idea, I get cold sweats thinking about stuff like that. The lowest common denominator of any technology is the person using it.



Oh but I do. The worst words I used to hear in my Naval career were often "please explain to the Admiral/Commodore/Captain/CO why you can't do what he wants. And explain it simply".

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"Geezerhood is a state of mind, attained by being largely out of yours". AW1Steve

"Quit whining and play the game. Or go home". My 7th grade baseball coach. It applies well to WITP AE players.

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Post #: 27
RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:35:26 PM   
The Gnome


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve


quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome


quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

And I'm sure you sadly need to point out the old axiom about computers....GIGO (Garbage In , garbage out).


You have no idea, I get cold sweats thinking about stuff like that. The lowest common denominator of any technology is the person using it.



Oh but I do. The worst words I used to hear in my Naval career were often "please explain to the Admiral/Commodore/Captain/CO why you can't do what he wants. And explain it simply".


Hah, does that hit close to home! (and if I wasn't laughing I'd be crying)

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RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:42:12 PM   
Wirraway_Ace


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quote:

ORIGINAL: LargeSlowTarget


quote:

ORIGINAL: Justus2
Prange actually wrote two other books on the topic, one of them Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History would probably deal more with what you are looking for.


Exactly. Prange concluded "There is enough blame for everyone" - starting with American voters being responsible for a parsimonious congress not providing enough money for the Armed forces; widespread racism coupled with underestimation of Japan / overconfidence in US power; wrong estimates, assessements, communication failures etc. at and between the White House, the Pentagon, Office of Naval Intelligence, the commanders at Pearl etc. The entire issue is so complex that you cannot put the blame on one or two individuals.



My view is different. The leadership of the United States quite clearly understood the strategic situation vis-a-vis Japan. They underestimated Japanese skill and daring, but were completely correct about the outcome of a war. It was the Japanese that disasterously misjudged their opponents.

The lives and ships lost at Pearl Harbor were the tiniest downpayment on what the war would bring. In the grand sweep of history, why should one care who was responsible for the lack of preparedness of the defenses at Pearl Harbor? The much more important question is why the leadership of Japan miscalculated so tragically for their people.

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Post #: 29
RE: OT: Who is to blame for the failure to anticipate t... - 10/24/2012 9:48:25 PM   
slinkytwf


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wirraway_Ace

My view is different. The leadership of the United States quite clearly understood the strategic situation vis-a-vis Japan. They underestimated Japanese skill and daring, but were completely correct about the outcome of a war. It was the Japanese that disasterously misjudged their opponents.

The lives and ships lost at Pearl Harbor were the tiniest downpayment on what the war would bring. In the grand sweep of history, why should one care who was responsible for the lack of preparedness of the defenses at Pearl Harbor? The much more important question is why the leadership of Japan miscalculated so tragically for their people.


Saburo Ienaga went into this in detail. Earlier, a posted mentioned that the US had underestimated the Japanese because of an underlying current of racism, but the reverse was also true. According to Ienaga, ever since the Meiji Restoration, much of the Japanese population, especially the military, had been propandized into believing in their own cultural and racial superiority, and the hubris it inspired in the military junta's minds led them to think that we'd just roll over after getting our nose bloodied.

(in reply to Wirraway_Ace)
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