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This is the week that the corporate media, careful to not upset the uber-patriots and nationalists among us, will be featuring reports about the December 7, 1941 Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. In addition to hearing stories about those beginnings of WWII (at least for the US), we may also be hearing reports about the endings, including the myths about the necessity of killing hundreds of thousands of innocent and unarmed non-combatants - women, children and old men - in the infamous Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks when all indications were that the Japanese were on their knees and looking for ways to surrender with honor.
Therefore, I suspect that we will not be hearing anything about the disturbing evidence that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt may have used deception to get the United States to enter the war as an active ally to Great Britain.
Roosevelt had successfully campaigned on an anti-war, isolationist platform in the presidential campaign of 1940, but soon after winning his third term (on November 5), FDR was soon convinced by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that Britain was in dire straits and vulnerable to being invaded and conquered by Germany. In May 1940, Churchill had replaced the disgraced Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain – the so-called architect of the Munich Appeasement of 1938.
In early June of 1940, just weeks before France’s surrender to the Nazis (in mid-June 1940), the Brits had miraculously escaped the annihilation of 300,000 trapped British Expeditionary Force troops at Dunkirk, Belgium. Allowing the escape of the BEF back across the English Channel was considered to be one of Hitler’s major blunders of the war, of which there were many. And then, from August to November, 1940, Britain had barely fought off Goering’s Luftwaffe attacks in the Battle of Britain.
Hitler’s submarine fleet of U-Boats was already devastating commerce on the Atlantic Ocean, but the US Naval fleet was still off-limits. Hitler understood that he didn’t want to unnecessarily provoke America into entering the war.
That is, until Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese fleet, that included 6 aircraft carriers and their 360 planes, unleashed the infamous sneak attack. The Japanese fleet had taken two weeks to cross the Pacific, supposedly undetected, and, because of the surprise element, managed to wipe out the US fleet that was helplessly at anchor, on a quiet Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. Nearly 2,500 US soldiers were killed that day. No civilians were targeted or killed in the attacks.
The next day, on December 8, FDR gave his Day of Infamy speech and the US Congress declared war on Japan.
At Chelmo concentration camp, incidentally, the same day as FDR’s speech, the Nazis, experimenting with various methods of killing large numbers of their targeted non-Aryan victims, gassed to death their first victims. They used carbon monoxide in a pre-Zyklon-B gas experiment using specialized mobile unit trucks with hoses hooked up to the exhaust manifolds.
In the Pacific, on December 10, Japan invaded the Philippine island of Luzon, and the US Naval bombardment of the Japanese commenced a few days later.
And then, on December 11, 1941 the amphetamine-addicted, barbiturate user, cocaine eye-drop user Adolf Hitler, who had complete faith in the polypharmacy “treatments” of his private quack physician, Dr. Theodor Morrell, irrationally declared war on the US. The US Congress reciprocated immediately with declarations of war against both Germany and Italy.
And the rest, as they say, is history. The US response to the Pearl Harbor attack dramatically reversed the prolonged Great Depression (with an efficient and powerful armaments industry rapidly being built up). Millions were immediately employed, including many women.
Millions of unemployed recruits, feeling patriotic and bored with their existence down on the farm, lined up eagerly for duty, dramatically turning around the war against European and Japanese fascism in favor of the Allies.
A congressional commission investigated the surprise attack and determined that there was a failure of the command structure at Pearl Harbor, and heads rolled, despite the protestations from the commanders, who pleaded total ignorance of foreknowledge of the attack. The families of the accused and de-frocked naval officers refused to believe the conclusions of the commission.
And then, decades later, what really happened at Pearl Harbor was revealed, when secret Naval documents were finally released through the Freedom of Information Act. At that time, investigative journalists and historians discovered that the blame for the devastating sneak attack should have been directed much higher up in the chain of command, in fact, all the way to the White House. Historian Robert B. Stinnett’s book, entitled Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor supports alternative conclusions.
In an essay published in 2000 on LewRockwell.com, Stinnett says in his concluding remarks:
“ …my research of U.S. naval records shows that not only were [commanding officers] Kimmel and Short cut off from the Japanese communications intelligence pipeline, so were the American people. It is a cover-up that has lasted for nearly 59 years.
“Immediately after December 7, 1941, military communications documents that disclose American foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor disaster were locked in U.S. Navy vaults away from the prying eyes of congressional investigators, historians, and authors. Though the Freedom of Information Act freed the foreknowledge documents from the secretive vaults to the sunlight of the National Archives in 1995, a cottage industry continues to cover up America’s foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor.” The entire essay can be read at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/stinnett1.html.
In December 1999, this book review of Day of Deceit appeared in Publishers Weekly”
“Historians have long debated whether President Roosevelt had advance knowledge of Japan’s December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Using documents pried loose through the Freedom of Information Act during 17 years of research, Robert B. Stinnett provides overwhelming evidence that FDR and his top advisers knew that Japanese warships were heading toward Hawaii.
“The heart of his argument is even more inflammatory: Stinnett argues that FDR, who desired to sway public opinion in support of U.S. entry into WWII, instigated a policy intended to provoke a Japanese attack. The plan was outlined in a U.S. Naval Intelligence secret strategy memo of October 1940; Roosevelt immediately began implementing its eight steps (which included deploying U.S. warships in Japanese territorial waters and imposing a total embargo intended to strangle Japan’s economy), all of which, according to Stinnett, climaxed in the Japanese attack.
“Stinnett, a decorated naval veteran of WWII who served under then Lt. George Bush, substantiates his charges with a wealth of persuasive documents, including many government and military memos and transcripts. Demolishing the myth that the Japanese fleet maintained strict radio silence, he shows that several Japanese naval broadcasts, intercepted by American cryptographers in the 10 days before December 7, confirmed that Japan intended to start the war at Pearl Harbor.
“Stinnett convincingly demonstrates that the U.S. top brass in Hawaii (Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Husband Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter Short) were kept out of the intelligence loop on orders from Washington and were then scapegoated for allegedly failing to anticipate the Japanese attack (Note: in May 1999, the U.S. Senate cleared their names). Kimmel moved his fleet into the North Pacific, actively searching for the suspected Japanese staging area, but naval headquarters ordered him to turn back.
“Stinnett’s meticulously researched book raises deeply troubling ethical issues. While he believes the deceit built into FDR’s strategy was heinous, he nevertheless writes: ‘I sympathize with the agonizing dilemma faced by President Roosevelt. He was forced to find circuitous means to persuade an isolationist America to join in a fight for freedom.’
“This, however, is an expression of understanding, not of absolution. If Stinnett is right, FDR has a lot to answer for--namely, the lives of those Americans who perished at Pearl Harbor. Stinnett establishes almost beyond question that the U.S. Navy could have at least anticipated the attack. The evidence that FDR himself deliberately provoked the attack is circumstantial, but convincing enough to make Stinnett’s bombshell of a book the subject of impassioned debate in the months to come.”
My point in writing this column is not to minimize the positive outcomes of the US entering WWII, for that war comes closest (faint praise) to qualifying as a Christian Just War Theory war of any war that the US has ever been a part of. My point in revisiting even the so-called “Good War” that was fought by the so-called “Greatest Generation” is rather to revisit a few more of the myths of our military history, myths that so easily come about by humanity’s readiness to believe clever propaganda, especially about the supposed glory of war. Germans, Japanese, Italians, Spanish, British subjects and even us Americans can fall for plausible stories generated by cunning Ministries of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.
I conclude this essay with a bunch of quotes from my files that I called What Germans Think About War. Although the quotes come from Germans, most of us know non-Germans who could have uttered the same sentiments.
Think About War
“War is for the privileged; combat is the ultimate honour.” -- Frederick the Great, 1760
“No one must be exempt (from serving in the military) and it must become shameful not to have served except in case of infirmities.” -- Gebhard von Blucher, psychopathic Fieldmarshal in charge of the Prussian army at Waterloo
“My country needs the war and, let us admit openly, the war only can bring me to the happy goal. Without my entering upon it no permanent happiness will come to me.” -- Karl von Clausewitz, to his financee 1810
“War knows of only one method: force. There is no other; it is destruction, wounds, death, and this employment of brute force is an absolute rule. To introduce into a philosophy of war a principle of moderation would be an absurdity. War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds.” -- From Clausewitz’s posthumously-published book On War 1832
“Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der Welt.” -- Hoffmann von Fallersleben 1841
The Army is the most outstanding institution in every country, for it alone makes possible the existence of all civic institutions. Perpetual peace is a dream and not a very beautiful dream at that.” -- Fieldmarshal Helmuth von Moltke 1869
“A war requires enormous sacrifices of blood and property from the German people, but we will show our adversaries what it means to attack Germany and I now commend you to God. Go to church. Kneel down before God and ask him for help for out brave army.” -- Kaiser Wilhelm August 1914
“One does not make war sentimentally. The more pitilessly war is waged, the more it is fundamentally humane; for it will come to an end so much the quicker. The methods of war which bring peace most quickly are and remain the most humane methods.” -- Fieldmarshal von Hindenburg 1915
“There are only two classes of human beings – soldiers and swine.”-- Clear message imparted to all cadet classes in German officer training schools 1920, where senior cadets practiced orgies of torture on the junior boys, sticking them with knives and needles, sewing their trouser buttons into their flesh, tying the victim up for hours in a kind of improvised pillory with his limbs extended until he collapsed and numerous other ingenious malpractices.” -- From Das alte Heer, written by a German Staff Officer, 1920
“The war has been conducted by us without the slightest chivalry, without the slightest nobility and with the most appalling hatred. The instincts of an unlicensed soldiery dominate today the whole of our public life. The hand grenade, the revolver and the rubber truncheon take the place of argument, murder has become the recognized instrument of politics.
That the craft of war brutalizes there can be no doubt. And it brutalizes the young far more than the old. It simply brutalized the very soul of the German people. Nowhere was this brutalization more apparent than it matters of sex. During the war hundreds of thousands of children were born infected with syphilis. The officers set the example in this unbridled licentiousness. Special brothels reserved for officers flooded every place occupied by the army. The brothel system was simply nauseating. All self-control and sense of discipline in Germany disappeared. The German people, steeped in war, became dirty to the very depths of their souls. The Press systematically and under official direction, indoctrinated the whole people with a cult of hate, brutality, blood-lust and cruelty.” -- From Germany’s Tragedy, by a German (anonymously published book about the effects of Prussian militarism following World War I).
“We must give toy soldiers as gifts to our children; that is how we shall be working for the German future.” – General von Seeckt 1927
“Gentlemen, you have chosen the most wonderful profession on this earth. You have before you the highest aim there can ever be on this earth. We teach you here how to reach that aim. You are here in order to learn that which alone can give the life of each of you its ultimate significance. You are here in order to learn how to die.” -- Customary address made by the commandant of Lichterfelde Cadet School, to new German cadets, aged 10 and 11
“I would exchange an arm for twenty-four hours in battle for my country.” -- An anonymous German