Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor
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In July of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt placed an embargo on goods such as oil, steel, chemicals and machinery, all of which were vital to Japan's industry. Soon after the embargo, angered Japanese military officials "had decided on war," but had not yet determined where exactly they would strike. About this same time, President Roosevelt also moved the Pacific Fleet's headquarters from San Diego to Pearl Harbor for strategic reasons. What caused the confusion in communicating Japanese intentions in the Pacific?
- A lack of communication between Washington and Pearl Harbor and also between the Navy and the Army was one reason for the "confusion" about some of the alerts given to Pearl Harbor early in 1941.
- Washington had more information than Pearl Harbor but generally disagreed on "what information to send, how to word that information, what situation dictated an alert order and precisely what kind of an alert was indicated".
- Much of the information given to the individual officers was interpreted entirely differently by each one.
Pearl Harbor Facts
The facts about Pearl Harbor that are not too devastating to the Roosevelt record, or seem possible to be safely included are recognized and embodied in the narrative. But their relevance and significance as to the total story of Pearl Harbor are obscured by a welter of verbiage, semantic acrobatics, alibis, inconsistencies, and diversionary rhetoric, leaving any general reader as much a victim of the "day of infamy" fantasies. However, this confusion, verbiage and rhetoric vindicated Roosevelt in the eyes of some, such as Elting E. Morison who wrote, "Not even a system schemed out in total depravity to produce all the wrong things at all the wrong times could have organized such compounding error and misfortune".