The Propagander ™ FAQ

Did FDR Have Foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor?

There is not one little bit of documented proof that FDR knew of the attack beforehand. Only a conspiracy theorist could mistake circumstantial evidence for fact.

FDR would NEVER have allowed his beloved Navy to suffer such a serious blow. He LOVED the Navy, was Undersecretary of the Navy in WW1, and realized that it was America's #1 defense. The destruction of even a portion of the Pacific Fleet, and its main base at Pearl, would have left the US in a very weak position, which is exactly what happened.

The reason this is important is this: Even if the crazy theory that he was so desperate to get America into WW2 he would turn a blind eye to a Japanese attack had merit, it would not have been necessary for the Japanese to have actually carried out the attack. Just the mere discovery of a Japanese strike force steaming toward Pearl would have done the trick.

Think about it: If FDR had actually known that the Japanese fleet was steaming toward Pearl, it would not have been necessary to let them actually attack. Had FDR known, he'd have laid a trap for them and begun the war with all his ships intact and the Japanese Fleet at the bottom of the Pacific.

Also, had FDR known of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor beforehand, he'd not have unsuccessfully attempted to resort to what John Costello in his fine book, Days Of Infamy, characterized as a 'highly questionable ruse?' FDR instructed Admiral Stark to place expendable US 'warships' in a line across the South China Sea, directly in the path of an expected Japanese invasion of Malaya. Officially a 'reconnaissance of the coast of Indochina,' the true purpose is illustrated by the order Stark sent to Admiral Hart, ordering him to "charter three small vessels" with "only the minimum requirements to establish identity as US men of war." Manned by Filipino crews in US Navy uniforms, the Isabel set out on December 3, was buzzed by Japanese patrol planes on the 5th without being attacked (they'd evidently learned a lesson from the Panay incident), and returned to port on the 7th. Two other ships were also sent out later, being recalled only after hostilities commenced: Pearl Harbor had made the subterfuge unnecessary.

Also, FDR wanted desperately to help Churchill's England against the Nazi's. The Japanese attack COULD have made his efforts in that regard more difficult politically because of subsequent insistence that Japan be dealt with first. That FDR was, in the event, able to group the two Axis powers together successfully could not have been foreseen before the fact. It was close as it was, and only FDR's formidable political expertise enabled him to prevail.

One of the reasons that this myth has remained so strong is latent racism. Most Americans then, and quite a few now, looked upon the Japanese as an inferior people with buck teeth and bad eyesight. The feeling was that these little yellow people could not possibly have outsmarted us intelligent white folks without some traitor in our midst helping them out.

Also, as one can see demonstrated by the modern conspiracies of Bush causing 911, Obama's birth certificate, etc., Americans love a good conspiracy theory and have encountered very few that didn't gain a following.

The full story behind Pearl Harbor can be found here:
Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor 
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