Pearl Harbor + 73

A date which will live in infamy

See Bookworm’s post and video from 2009 and her post from 2011; also, some alternate history from Shannon Love.

In 2011,  Jonathan worried that the cultural memory of the event is being lost, and noted that once again Google failed to note the anniversary on their search home page, whereas Microsoft Bing had a picture of the USS Arizona memorial.
(12/7/2014: same thing this year, at least as of this posting)

Shannon Love analyzes how Admiral Yamamoto was able to pull the attack off and concludes that “Pearl Harbor wasn’t a surprise of intent, it was a surprise of capability.”

Trent Telenko wrote about the chain of events leading to the ineffectiveness of the radar warning that should have detected the approaching attack.

Via a Neptunus Lex post (site not currently available),  here is a video featuring interviews with both American and Japanese survivors of Pearl Harbor.

15 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor + 73”

  1. Bill Brandt…since you are a mainstay at The Lexicans…do you have any insight re the status of the Neptunus Lex blog? Last I heard, which was over a year ago, there were some problems with recovering the passwords. Do you know if anything is going on to get it back up again, or is it gone for good?

    The latter would be very sad…all the time, in looking for old posts, I’m running across links to very worthwhile posts from Lex.

  2. Two comments about Pearl Harbor.

    1. Yamamoto was a great admiral and Pearl Harbor was a great tactical victory but strategically, it was a disaster for Japan. Probably they were too ignorant of American psychology but Yamamoto was supposed to be more knowledgeable. Had they attacked the Dutch and British in Malaya and East Indies, we would not have gone to war at all. Roosevelt needed Pearl Harbor to overcome American isolationism which was still strong in 1941. The Selective Service bill of 1941, which extended the term of service beyond one year, passed by 1 vote. Until it passed, the draftees were threatening to quit after 12 months.

    Many of the soldiers drafted in October 1940 threatened to desert once the original twelve months of their service was up. Many of these men painted the letters “O H I O” on the walls of their barracks in protest.[3] These letters were an acronym for “Over the hill in October,” which meant that the men intended to desert upon the end of their twelve months of duty. Desertions did occur, but they were not widespread. Following the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941, thousands of American men and women swelled the United States’ military’s ranks by volunteering for service, and thousands more by conscription.

    2. “The Japanese would have been better off if they had attacked the USSR alongside Hitler”

    This is a key observation. They did attack Manchuria in 1939 but they never coordinated strategy with Germany. Had they attacked the Soviets after the German invasion in June, 1941, they would have forced Stalin to keep his Siberian army in the Manchurian area and Barbarossa would have been successful.

    They never did get the logistics right for their territorial conquests. Many Japanese garrisons starved before 1945 and, in Java, cannibalis was fairly common using prisoners as food, if “Flyboys” is accurate.

  3. And in addition…

    WW2 veterans letter to Barack Obama Circa 2009 (Hint: Things have only gotten worse since!)

    The letter (confirmed by Snopes) to the President in this article was written in 2009 by Harold Estes, a 95-year old surviving veteran of WW2 who at that time took issue with the way in which Barack Obama was serving our country as President and Commander-in-Chief. It’s only gotten worse since then.

    On December 7th, the anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, every American should read and understand this letter and remember the members of the Greatest Generation.

    Most importantly Barack Obama, the First Lady, Democrats in Congress in and liberals who blindly follow the lead of these three should read this letter!

    But of course they won’t!

    Read at The Political Commentator here:

  4. @David – fortunately someone on the Facebook page that the Lexicans started was copying and pasting the vast majority of Lex’s posts in real time. He has a good 70%. These are compiled into about a dozen chunks in .pdf form.

    There is talk of making Lex’s writings – Rythyms – into a book – and I have been compiling a lot of his blog postings into a book form I want to show his wife, Mary, in Sandy Eggo – a Lexism for those not in the know – hopefully when we get together in March.

    No I am not making a book that I will publish (which of course would be illegal since it isn’t my work) but present the family with a book-ready bit that they could use, or make a book just for them.

    I have learned from Sgt Mom that publishing your own book is easier than ever.

    I have you to thank for introducing me to Lex – I just wish in this vast blog world – I had known him when he was alive – what a wry sense of humor. (a sample – he started, shortly before leaving the Navy just flying tourists in mock dogfights in a little Varga Kachina (1200 lbs of twisted steel and sex appeal) and the first time he got a tip he was a bit bemused. As a Navy Captain he said “Monday through Friday I’m large and in charge – on the weekends I work for tips)

    AFAIK the family has been working on getting his blog site back up. I don’t think the problem is passwords but a few bits got discombobulated :-)

    I can probably get you on to the Facebook page (you are a true Lexican!) – if you would like to join contact me at wbco at sbcglobal dot net.

  5. Mike – compelling thoughts – I have to leave to lead a car rally in a few minutes – but I read those worst mistake the Japanese made was missing the fuel depot at Pearl

    You look at this from the Japanese perspective and with Roosevelt cutting off their supplies one could say they were “forced” into attacking Pearl to knock out the Pacific Fleet.

    Which our naval strategists had been predicting since the 1920s.

  6. “Roosevelt cutting off their supplies one could say they were “forced” into attacking Pearl to knock out the Pacific Fleet.”

    Why not go for the East Indies where the Dutch had huge oil sources including refineries ? They feared a flank attack from the Philippines but Roosevelt would have had a hard time getting Congress to approve. Remember one vote for Selective Service in 1941!

    Michael Yon is on a kick about poor Japan being forced into war but they were doing it voluntarily. Their peace movement was led by men who kept getting assassinated.

    Japan brought this on themselves. Their worst strategic error was not Pearl Harbor but not coordinating with Germany. Richard Sorge knew about the plans to invade USSR by Germany and Sorge was in Japan. The Japanese signed a non-aggression treaty with Stalin, which secured his rear and he used his Siberian troops to repel the Germans. Had Japan struck then, they would have won the war. That was before Pearl Harbor.

  7. “Google failed to note the anniversary again” Fear not, Easter is coming, maybe we’ll get Caesar Chavez again…or perhaps Che?

    I’m sure that the shadowy 44th approves of the oversight. If I’m not mistaken, early on he groused about Hiroshima, saying that like Iran not having the bomb, it wasn’t fair. It’s stunning, the reactions of the public post-Pearl Harbor as opposed to that of 9/11. I’ve heard numerous stories of guys who lied, cajoled, falsified documents to get into the military asap. Compare that to the horror at the WTC and what was being said and done. People danced in the streets in Brooklyn and cheered. Even WWII veteran, goombah Tony Bennett was quoted as saying “we had it coming”. Someone wrote or said that as those who witnessed the death camps of the Third Reich, died off, anti-Semitism would reemerge. Dang, if they weren’t spot on.

  8. Pearl harbor was inevitable, and Japan was never going to simply settle for invading the East Indies because of their decisive battle doctrine.

    Furthermore, not to diminish the bravery and memory of our fighting men on Dec 7, 1941, but American citizens became committed to fighting Germany after the Battle of Britain. We were going to join the war one way or the other come hell or high water.

    The world of the 1940s wasn’t one of subtle roundaboutness, but it was a world of ultimate decisiveness.

  9. “American citizens became committed to fighting Germany after the Battle of Britain.”

    The vote on the 1941 Selective Service Act was after that. My point was that, had Japan coordinated with Germany, the Barabarosa campaign might have been over.

  10. …it was a world of ultimate decisiveness.

    I often think about our grandparents approach to WWII. They made a decision they were not going to have a WWIII with Germany. When they set upon this war it was with an utter determination to destroy these systems, both the NAZI and Japanese Empire, completely. Absolute surrender, and relentless attack and destruction of military units and civilian populations until that was achieved. Ans absolute surrender was achieved, a remaking in a Western democratic model.

    I think before this all over that will be required of the West with islam.

  11. Mike K,

    I was just responding to the counterfactual theories on Pearl Harbor. I think your point about Japan and the USSR was a good one. Although a land war in Asia is always tricky, had Japan been able to march into Siberia, the Soviet war effort would have likely collapsed.

    The one thing the Russians proved in 1941 and 1942 was how well they could die in huge numbers. Two things saved them:
    Hitler’s strategic blunders, and reinforcements from the Caucasus and Central Asia. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Turkic and Caucasian soldiers saved Moscow and the Russians. Had they been distracted and a smaller numbers sent west, the outcome have been much different.

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