Forum: General Commentary
Topic: Hello To All Members
started by: Dorn Cranert

Posted by Dorn Cranert on May 12 2001,9:26
Hi All

Since I am a new member of the forum this is just a quick note to say hello.  My longstanding interest in the history of Pearl Harbor seems to be coming to the forefront these days, probably because of the movie coming out at the end of this month.  During the last few weeks I reread all of Gordon Prangs  books on the subject and also read some of the revisionist history  such as Day of Deceit.  Always lurking in the back of my mind pearl Harbor has loomed as a bigger than life event.  I remember reading day of infamy when I was a  young boy.  The black-and-white documentary writing style of Walter Lord was as exciting to me, as a young boy, as watching black-and-white film of victory at Sea.  It is ironic that while pursuing my one true love in life which is flying airplanes I somehow ended up learning how fly in Honolulu, and did my first Solo Flight at Ford Island--which was a private Pilot practice field in the 1970's. I'm very excited about having found the Pearl Harbor Web site and forum; there is a lot of wonderful information here.  I am looking forward to visiting this site often.  Again, hello to all.


Posted by Angie on May 12 2001,11:19
Hello Dorn,

Thank you for your post.  We have a great many Pearl Harbor Historians, Pearl Harbor Veterans, authors, teachers, students, WWII buffs and survivor family members here waiting to converse with you about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the stimulating conversation.


site admin.

Posted by USSBOWFINSS287 on May 13 2001,1:53
Welcome Dorn!!  As Angie said, we pretty much "have it all"! with respect to the varied "membership" here!  

Hopefully, we will continue to remain quite civil yet still remain "intriguing" and "thought provoking"!!

Posted by Dorn Cranert on May 13 2001,9:49
Hi everybody

I am so excited about finding the site.  I live in Fairfield Ca., a small town halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. I am employed as a bus driver for a company that takes commuters to and from the city to work each day.  Each day Monday through Friday, on my late run, there are groups of people who sit in the front of the bus and discuss favorite topics.  History ranks high on the list. Pearl Harbor, and World War Two in general, always leads to intense conversation.  Now, since it seems that I have found a group of serious Pearl Harbor buffs and historians let me pose the million-dollar question.  Was the government in Washington aware that an attack was coming to the Hawaiian Islands? ---Or on the other hand, were we simply asleep at the switch? After reading four or five books on the subject during and the past month or so I have come to the opinion that we were asleep at the switch.  The military thinking of the time seems to be a bit arrogant, especially at the command level.  All of the conspiracy theories that I have read, the revisionist history so to speak, seem to me a bit like putting pieces together after the fact.

The one area that always seems to intrigue me in terms of the conspiracy theory.  Is this?  When one reads the standard academic intellectual history constant excuses are made for all characters who could have seen this attack coming.  It is if they all are suffering from some sort of collective dumbing down.  Now all people are not super bright.  All people are not super omniscient.  But then all people are not quite as stupid as some of the history books make them out to be.  It seems to me that the truth lies somewhere in between.

Military history, especially the type of history that is written so as to present an interesting story to the reader, always seems to have some sort of strong, strong perspective.  I.e. the Titanic sunk because the steel that was used to maker was of low quality.  The Lusitania sank because of the British were shipping munitions aboard her.

All of the perspective types of history concerning Pearl Harbor seem to take the position of the army was to blame, the Navy was to blame, FDR was to blame, a second lieutenant at the radar plotting station was to blame, or the way that war warnings were thwarted was to blame.  Seems to me that in all probability all of the above are true.  We were either asleep at the switch or so sure that the Japanese were going to strike in Southeast Asia, that we missed defending Pearl Harbor and the Hawaiian Islands.

I think that the present day viewpoint of events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor is heavily influenced and badly skewed by events which took place during World War Two, and after the Second World War.  The Japanese although fighting extremely gallantly on an individual basis did not fare well against the United States Britain and Australia on a global level.  After all, Japan was forced to fight a strictly defensive war from June of 1942 onward.  Every single Japanese offensive thrust post June of 1942 met with disastrous results.  Knowing all of this today makes it almost impossible in light of how total was the surprise at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, not to say---we were smart, we knew the attack was coming, we wanted the attack, we were only going to lose some old battleships anyway, we needed to get into the war against Germany somehow! Since no one single act could have better launched America towards her present position of Pax Americana, people today, looking back on the events of 1939- 1941, cannot resist thinking that we knew in advance that the Japanese navy was planning an all out air attack against our fleet in Pearl Harbor.

Am I more or less right in my assumptions?  I ask the experts on the forum.

Posted by Teresa wardwell on May 17 2001,7:46
Hello Everyone
 Iam new to this forum so far I have enjoyed it very much. My grandfather was on the lexington ship so
if there is anyone out there who knows of anyone that was on this ship I would like to hear from them. He was
blinded on the ship when a plain exploded where he was standing he was the mechanic. He never got the chance to see any of his grand children the last time he
seen my dad he was 3 yrs grandfather passed away last march. His name is Clinton Elliott from Texas
     Thanks Teresa
Posted by Larry Jewell on May 20 2001,5:28
Am I more or less right in my assumptions?  I ask the experts on the forum.

The problem with the "Just let it happen" theory is that we would have been at war with Japan if we "didn't just let it happen".  There was absolutely nothing to gain by allowing a defeat at Pearl Harbor, and much political hay to be made by thwarting such an attack.  

Japan was going to declare war on the US whether or not the attack on Pearl Habor was successful or not.  Attacks on 9 different locations around the Pacific pretty well had to be followed up with a declaration of war.  Japan did so on Sunday afternoon.  We declared war  the next day.  

It was blazingly obvious that we were going to have to fight Japan by Dec. 6th, 1941.  To start that fight by having 8 battleships sunk or damaged would have been extremely stupid.  Was FDR stupid?  Come on, now.  Even his enemies don't call him dumb.  

There were many things that could have been done to blunt the attack on Pearl Harbor, such as getting the planes in the air and manning all guns by 7:30 am.  None of these would have stopped the Japanese attackers from proceeding, so there was no possibility of "scaring off" the Japanese.  

As for the radar, etc., check out

for documentation to refute most of that nonsense.

You also need to ask how FDR found out about the attack.  Tojo didn't know about it until Nov. 25th, and he was head of the Japanese Government!  The area around Hittokappu Bay was locked down tight before and after the Striking Force sailed.  The transmit keys to all radios on the ships, including those on the aircraft, were in the safe on each ship.  Nothing was broadcast to indicate that Pearl Harbor was a target.  

Bottom line:  Nobody in the US had foreknowledge of the attack on Hawaii.  We knew from intercepted diplomatic messages that war was coming quick, which is why Bratton and McCollum were dashing around DC late on the night of the 6th, but, being in an honorable, by the rules type mindset, we didn't expect an attack without a delcaration of war, despite Japanese history to the contrary.  

Posted by WWllgirl on Jun. 02 2001,10:36

  I am new here also, I signed on yesterday. I am a big WWll history buff!! I especially love learning about Pearl Harbor. I am so glad that I found this site! It has been very helpful! This is not just a hobby for me, as soon as both of my kids are in school full time, I am going back to school to become a historian. I have always been interested in the 1940's and WWll....not quite sure why, noone in my family was in the military. But I love learning about it!! My house is filled with old memorabilia from the 1940's! I love collecting old magazines from the forties and old photographs from the forties.   I am 27 and a mom of two beautiful kids! That is about all there is to tell you about about you guys? :)

Posted by David Grant on Jun. 02 2001,10:38
The idea that we would have let it happen is attractive, I think, because it allows us to maintain some dignity. As Larry J. mentioned it is not really very creditable that any one in actual control knew anything about the attack. It is hard to believe that people would fail to take any real precautions against attack; however, we were at peace and while tensions were high, Japanese Peace Negotiators were in Washington in discussions with us. Another factor is racism. White America was extremely arrogant and didn't believe that Asiatics had the ability to seriously challange us.

I saw "Pearl Harbor", the movie last Sunday and I thought it was an extremely powerful movie. I saw it in the company of three WWII veterans. They were moved by it.  I hope people don't listen to the critics and go see the movie. It isn't perfectly accurate of course but I really picked up on the horror and destruction of the event. I wanted to bomb Tokyo-NOW :.  Well, I'm over that at least.  

Oh, yeah. I'm a new member. Just signed on today. :)

Posted by KSmith on Jun. 05 2001,12:22
Hi everybody. I'am new to this site and was fortunate to find it. Since I was a kid I have been interested in History, especially WWII history. Stories about the Pearl Harbor sneak attack have always moved me. With all the specials on TV covering that day (due to the movie) and the live video of the event, I noticed a ship underway and it was not the Nevada. It appeared to be a cruiser or destroyer. It got me thinking so I started looking for information about how many ships and what type broke out of the harbor during the attack. The only one I could find I believe was the USS St. Louis and I'm not sure if that is accurate. Can anyone answer my question or point me in the right direction.
Posted by David Aiken on Jun. 05 2001,12:23
Hi All,
Moved the Kimmel/Short disscussion to "Principle Players" This to keep this thread open for introductions...
David Aiken

#Moderation Mode

<a href="" target="_self">Moved here</a>

(Edited by David Aiken at 12:44 pm on June 5, 2001)

Posted by robyn denight on Dec. 08 2001,2:40
Uncle and father were both at Pearl at the time of attack.Uncle went down with the Arizona,had no family other than brothers and sisters. Jose San Nicholas Flores was Uncle. Doing family reserach and this site with his name means a whole lot.Father was also at Pearl as  young sailor.Still have pictures of him at the old Quansit Huts with a dog named Duva. Father was Richard R. Williams and was a YN2 at the time and married to Nancy Wilkes. Dad is now gone and Nancy and his 2nd wife Dora, my mom, are still here. Both wonderful ladies, all 5 of Richards children are glad we  still have "both mom's".
Have made many trips to Hawaii over the years and Dad still found his way around. Even found the old apt. he and the 2 oldest ones lived in  when married to Nancy.
Like with the rest of you,I have read,saw and tried to research everything with the Arizona. So much and so little time to read it all.   Seems like more added weekly,enjoy all the extra thoughts.
More for the history books. Uncle Jose keeps it alive and interesting.

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