Sobran Column -- Pearl Harbor Revisited
Sobrans -- 
The Real News of the Month

Pearl Harbor Revisited

December 7, 1999

World War II is raging again, at least in the press. Pat Buchanan has been called a Hitler-lover for suggesting the currently unthinkable: that entry into the war may not have been in the best interests of Americans. And Pope Pius XII is still being smeared for his “silence” about Hitler during the war (though the greater mystery is his wartime silence about Communism). Sometimes the rhetoric of these controversies gets so heated that one wishes Hitler were still here to restore a little perspective.

Now a new book argues that President Franklin D. Roosevelt probably knew in advance that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor. This “sneak attack” by those “sneaky Japs,” as we used to call them, may have been trumped by the sneakiness of our sneakiest president (current incumbent included). Everyone knows that FDR wanted to get into the war and lied to the American public in order to achieve this goal. But would he have gone so far as to allow the preventable slaughter of thousands of American soldiers and sailors?

In Day of Deceit (Free Press), Robert B. Stinnett amasses circumstantial evidence that FDR knew what was coming. He shows that U.S. intelligence had broken the Japanese military code and that, contrary to official U.S. insistence, the Japanese fleet bound for Pearl Harbor did not maintain radio silence.

Reviewing the book for the Wall Street Journal, Bruce Bartlett cites an even more suggestive piece of evidence: “a memo from Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, the top expert on Japan in naval intelligence before the war.”

“Dated October 7, 1940,” writes Mr. Bartlett, “the memo outlines an eight-point plan to force Japan to attack the U.S. Among the recommendations were the relocation of the U.S. Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Hawaii and an embargo on all trade with Japan. Mr. Stinnett correctly notes that every item on McCollum’s list was acted upon — starting the day after Roosevelt received the memo.”

quote: What did FDR know, and when did he know it?] Mr. Stinnett himself, amazingly, defends Roosevelt’s deliberate inaction: “Heinous as it seems to families and veterans of World War II, of which the author is one, the Pearl Harbor attack was, from the White House perspective, something that had to be endured in order to stop a greater evil — the Nazi invaders in Europe who had begun the Holocaust and were poised to invade England.”

Here, sad to say, is an extension of the standard defense of FDR: that he had no choice but to act cynically in order to achieve his noble goals. Such is “the White House perspective,” not to be confused with the perspective of American boys and their anxious parents. To say that Pearl Harbor “had to be endured” is to lose sight of who was doing the enduring. It wasn’t FDR, who welcomed the opportunity Pearl Harbor gave him. With boundless cynicism, Roosevelt proceeded to scapegoat the military commanders of Pearl Harbor, stripping them of their rank for being unprepared for the attack he had failed to forewarn them of!

The notion that Roosevelt was upset because the Nazis had “begun the Holocaust” deserves a particularly coarse horselaugh. FDR never mentioned the persecution of Jews as a casus belli. As of December 7, 1941, all he knew was that the Nazis had rounded up and incarcerated people of Jewish ancestry — a practice he emulated by rounding up and incarcerating American citizens of Japanese ancestry, a policy even FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, not exactly renowned as a civil libertarian, protested as unconstitutional.

Roosevelt turned the U.S. Constitution into a charred ember and helped the Soviet Union win World War II, complete with the spoils of ten Christian countries which fell to the tender mercies of “Uncle Joe” Stalin. After FDR’s death, the United States, in partnership with Stalin, adopted Soviet jurisprudence by conducting show trials of German officials at Nuremberg.

Roosevelt also deserves full credit for the terror bombing of German and Japanese cities and for launching the development of nuclear weapons. Killing millions of civilians, mostly women and children, may seem an odd way to oppose the Holocaust; but by now we have all learned to internalize “the White House perspective.”

Joseph Sobran

Archive Table of Contents

Current column

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive | Back Issues of SOBRANS 
 WebLinks | Scheduled Appearances | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas | Notes from the Webmaster
  Contact Us | Back to the home page 

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 1999 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate