I appologize in advance for the length of this post but not for any of it's content. There is simply much to eveluate.
I too agree it is important to read the Facts as well as you can separate them from the perspectives of each side. It is MOST important to identify as accurately as you can, the "agendas" of each.
There is a reason for every one of them and even the individual contributors to the Congressional Record have their own agendas ie.: A particular personally "favored" branch of the service, Republican, Democrat, gaining notice for re-election... yada yada...This goes for the "official record" of the entire war -it most definately does not stop at the Pearl Harbor investigation.
Try reading the USMC's version of what happened during "Island Hopping" and the Army's, the Army Air Corps, then read the Navy's perspective and balance them all against actual eyewitness accounts... It get's pretty diverse but to use a quote: "The truth IS out there..." This will never be easy but it is interesting.
The simple truth is that NO ONE has NO AGENDA.
"At Dawn We Slept"
Is very good but misses some important points as well. If read from the perspective of (lets call it and Army appologist and MacArthur defender for now...), he poses some very good points and excludes or at least relagates others to his idea of the less important or non-essential catagory. Qualify him by noting where he comes from... and be fair. Mac' thought he was god and Prange pretty close to agrees - I don't. Please read Him though, there is a great deal to learn here.
"The Pacific War 1941-1945"
Again, a very good if not sometimes "trite", account of the larger picture. (Then again it is very hard to include everything and make it readable for the masses.)
In general he poses a fairly well written "one-volume-overview" of the Pacific War that leaves out much detail, and includes some but I think that this was his intended scope on this many-faceted topic.
He does write from a particular slant as well. That being: (let's call it a decidedly "Naval perspective" -not that there is anything wrong with that.) Being tha I am former Navy personel myself, I can appreciate this to an extent but it has to be identified to be fair. I would call him a Kimmel supporter and I am NOT. My personal perspective is simply what could have been done was not. Please read him to get both "more" and "less" than Prange.
Henry C. Clausen:
"Pearl Harbor -Final Judgment"
Definately worth the time to read. A very good overview of the congressional investigation, proceedings, and verdict. It includes a pretty good idea of some of the background and what was going on during the actual investigation and includes (of course) Clausen's own perceptions of the attitudes and the reluctances and the duplicity of some of the integral charactors and witnesses. This could save a bit of time in reading 40 volumes (But don't replace part 40, it is worth reading the entire thing when you have Time.)
Henry was Stimson's "independant" prosecutor and had "free rein" to get to the "truth" It is important to understand where it is he is comming from and appreciate who employed him. This does not detract a bit from his report but it is important to note and acknowledge that even very ethical individuals have agendas.
(Please note the behaviour of one of our very most recent "independant" prosecutors.)
"A Tri-Partite Pact and a Pacic War with the United States"
Witten and published before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It outlines a Japanese perspective of how a war with the US might take place and is so accurate in so many respects and evaluations that is is erie to read knowing when it was written.
Kinoaki was a Lt. in the Japanese intelligence community. Understanding where he is comming from is important to his credibility. Published in both London and in Boston it has a Library of congress id number but is very hard to come by (my copy is now lost to me) but read it if you can find it. It is down-right wierd to read given when it was written but do so.
"I was There."
He was... and he has an agenda identify it and understand it. Insight is good but qualify it.
(Not the martial artist.) "Marching Orders"
A very good and well researched perspective on our code breaking intelligence of the time (not what we are used to now.) It is a pretty fair evaluation of what we knew what we learned and how it determined our "Marching Orders". Bruce worked with Henry C. Clausen on "P.H. Final Judgment" His perspecive and allegences are similar. Read it too. Worth the time.
"Japan's Imperial Conspiracy" volumes I&II.
Though an american He writes from an "Austrailian" or more regional pespective. His personal history as a very young boy was to have seen the fringes of the "Rape of Nanking" and to have been a teenage internee in a Japanese internment camp in the Phillipines. His brother (a US Marine) was killed in the war and he had experienced both the humane and in-humane aspects of the Japanese people. His insight to Japan: the language, history, people, ethics, political mechanics, and personal research ethics are noteable. Close proximity and contemporary research is both critical and accurate in my opinion. Though there are some facets and dialogs that may never be fully corroborated.
Even though his is a perhaps more accurate and detail oriented perspective of the perspectives, perrogotives, and motivations of the Imperial Throne, it's council, history and prime ministers, he too has an agenda.
This is a very enlightening couple of volumes. Well
worth the reading if you can find them.
Billed by his Publisher as "one of America's most respected historians..." My question is: Respected by WHOME?
There are some interesting pieces in the puzzle here but little or no substance or logic to this theory. Nothing is driven home with any irrefutable evidence. Questions are rasied through inuendo then answered with minimal or no factual evidence and the attempt is made to support "the theory" with totlally faulty logic and more obtuse innuendo.
If the author HAD credibility it went down the throne with this book. It is a good book to read after you have done some "REAL" research into the whole Pearl Harbor Issue. Please keep in mind what our attitudes, capabilities and limitations were relative to the time. Read the facts with a "contemporary" and realistic point of view. This piece does have some facts in it (however laced with absolute fiction they may be.) Keep in mind the perspective and the motivation. Read it to see just how convoluted a concept history can be and then read it no more.
Tripe is Tripe. ...and this is TRIPE.
Always, Always, ALWAYS QUALIFY the perspectives of who and what you read.
Even me. (As you can see I too have opinions.)
This should help.
If you do this with each of your authors you will at least be able to draw your own conclusions based on what can be substantiated rather than what is just plauseable or perhaps probable. Ultimately, we each still make our own call on this.
There is much material to decypher out there. Some of it treasure and some of it treasure. Much may still be obscure, Some may never be uncovered.
For the record, I do not think that FDR knew that Peal Harbor would be attacked. I DO believe that He did know that we would be atacked somewhere in the Pacific. I DO believe it was expected at the P.I. or elsewhere but not P.H.
The time was not known but "Soon" was expected. That Japan's agression and "Ulimatum" to the US amounted to "cornering the US into making a stand for or against them and re-open their supply of war goods with assurances to stay out of their way.
I believe: That FDR did NOT need a war on two fronts and would rather have preferred NO WAR. That FDR would not have to have "pushed Japan's buttons" in order to go to war with hitler's Germany it was ineveitable once they continued to sink our shipping. There was no requirement in the Tri-Partite Pact to go to war with an opponent of a country a member attacked first. (Perhaps why FDR's orders were that they (Japan had to make the "first act of agression". Effectively for Germany, once we were no longer "neutral" with "Lend Lease" it was all over but the shouting. Things were bound to escallate on theere own. They would have to. Germany did not have nor could they gain the navy that they required to prosecute and support an invasion of England or the US and could not if we chose not to let them. We also had to insure that The Soviets did not accomplish what hitler was trying to do as well...own Europe Proper.
In the end we also had to keep them from "owning" Japan.
Say, "Domo Arrigato!" to your nice Uncle Sam Mr. Hirohito.
In fact it was inevitable in both the East and the West. It was no longer a matter of "IF" but rather "When" and "How". (Perhaps a question of whether we might even be able to postpone one until we could have delt with the other?) Why was it a "Europe First" strategy?
At the velocity and direction Japan was heading we would have gone to war with them even if there were no "Second European War".
That both situations helped to precipitate each other's timing is obvious but Japan Imperial strategies had placed the US and Japan inexorably on a collision course when hitler was a corporal and no a threat to the world.
I believe that a great many mistakes and assumptions were made in Washington and in P.H. that compounded and exacerbated the situation but it is completely irrational to think that a president would deliberately throw away his best weapons in the region at the exect time when their absolute need was so immenent.
It is particularly unlikely when he had such a close personal affinity and attachment to that particular branch of the service.
None of these re-visionist FDR conspiricy theories will stand in the light of day. I do think that the a decision was made to supress information and limit the exposure of the upper military to protect the American people from themselves and to further limit the damage and confusion caused to the American military echelon and American public psyche' of the time. It just stands to reason that this would be prudent.
We simply were not thinking like Japanese at the time...and it hurt us.
Keep and open mind but Q-U-A-L-I-F-Y !