Battle of Pearl Harbor

for The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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Page 13 of 20

Notes from The Rising Sun, The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 by John Toland, Book Club Edition, Random House, New York, copyright 1970

“The message would probably have been sent that day if it hadn’t been for Hull,” who persuaded FDR to save the appeal to the Emperor as a last minute resort. [236]

Still on December 3, 1941 U.S. intelligence officers say papers being burned at the Japanese Embassy in D.C. and concluded war was imminent. [236]

The Japanese planned to deliver a war note to Hull at 12:30 PM December 7, D.C. time, which would be before the attack. [237]

On December 3, the Japanese naval cipher was changed, blinding American intelligence, which had broken the prior code. [237]

The U.S. Asiatic Fleet was in Manila commanded by Admiral Thomas Hart. It consisted of one heavy cruiser, one light cruiser, thirteen destroyers and twenty-nine submarines. On December 6, 1941 General MacArthur, army commander in the Philippines, was informed that a Japanese naval convoy off Indochina was heading towards Thailand or Singapore. “MacArthur reassuringly remarked that by April he would have a trained army of 200,000 men and a powerful air force of 256 bombers and 195 fighter planes.” But that day his army had only 30,000 Americans plus 100,000 poorly trained and armed Filipinos, with air support from 35 Flying Fortresses and 107 P-40s. [240-241]

FDR’s planned letter to the Emperor was finally written on December 6. Strangely, it asked only for a Japanese withdrawal from Indochina to assure “peace throughout the whole of the South Pacific area.” The message was dispatched at 7:40 P.M. Meanwhile the Japanese war note was being decoded and translated faster by America than by the Japanese embassy in Washington. FDR had read complete note by about 10 P.M. Harry Hopkins urged that the U.S. strike at Japan immediately, but FDR wanted to allow the Japanese to strike first [WM: probably because he thought they would strike the British or Dutch first, or worst case scenario the Philippines]. [244-246]

On December 7, 1941 “the Army and Navy commanders of Hawaii had no worry of an air attack on Pearl Harbor.” [WM: Even an earlier declaration of war would not have changed that view.][246]

However, at Manila an attack was expected at any time. Yet a “mammoth welcome party” for the new commander of the Far East Air Force was thrown the night of the 7th. But all airfields were put on combat alert. Reinforcements were crossing the Pacific including 52 dive bombers, 2 regiments of artillery, and 30 Flying Fortresses.[248-249]

Grew gave Togo the FDR message to the Emperor. But Tojo decided it had arrived too late. “If it had come a day or two earlier we would have had more of a to-do.” [251-252]

Because they already had the Japanese note decoded, George Marshall sent out a warning message to the Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor, Manila and San Francisco. “But Hawaii could not be raised because of atmospheric conditions.” This was a few minutes after noon, December 8, 1941, Washington D.C. time. [255]

Several sightings of Japanese intruders were ignored in Pearl Harbor just before the attack. [260-261]

Indicates Japanese were forbidden to target civilian areas during Pearl Harbor raid [274]

Hitler had wanted Japan to attack Russia and avoid America; the Soviet counteroffensive had already begun. In discussing Hitler’s decision to honor the pledge to declare war against the U.S., he mentions “the U.S. navy’s provocative actions against U-boats in the Atlantic.” In other words Germany already had a pretext for war against the U.S., as the U.S. had been engaging in an undeclared war against Germany. [305]

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Toland Japan notes, table of contents

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