It was not a question, then, of whether or not Hitler intended to go to war against the United States but of the date he would choose to embark on it. By the following spring the date was beginning to sprout in the Führer's mind. On May 22, 1941, Admiral Raeder conferred with the Supreme Commander and reported ruefully that the Navy 'must reject the idea of occupying the Azores.' It simply didn't have the strength. But by this time Hitler had warmed to the project and, according to Raeder's confidential notes, replied:
'The Führer is still in favour of occupying the Azores in order to be able to operate long-range bombers from there against the United States. The occasion for this may arise by autumn.'[Germany had no long-range bombers capable of reaching the American coast from the Azores, much less getting back, and it is a sign of the warping of Hitler's mind by this time that he conjured up the non-existent "long-range bombers." This habit of his was nothing new, he created Army Divisions later on, during the retreat from Russia that did not exist. sic]
After the fall of the Soviet Union, that is. The turn of the United States would come then. He put this clearly to Raeder when the Admiral saw him just two months later, on July 25, when the offensive in Russia was in full swing. "after the Eastern campaign," Raeder notes him as saying, "he reserves the right to take severe action against the U.S.A." But until then, Hitler emphasized to his Navy chief, he wanted to avoid having the U.S.A. declare war... out of consideration for the Army, which is involved in heavy combat." Raeder was not satisfied with this stand. In fact, his diary accounts of his meeting with Hitler, which one can now peruse in captured documents, show his growing impatience at the wraps which the Führer had placed on the German Navy. At every interview he sought to change the Leader's mind.
|A U-boat shells a merchant ship which has remained afloat after being torpedoed'|
All through the spring and early summer he continued to put them off. On April 20 he refused to listen to Raeder's pleas "for warfare against merchant ships of the U.S.A., according to prize regulations." [Unrestricted submarine warfare is a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink vessels such as freighters and tankers without warning, as opposed to attacks per prize rules (also known as "cruiser rules"). Prize rules call for submarines to surface and search for merchantmen and place crews in "a place of safety" (for which lifeboats did not qualify, except under particular circumstances) before sinking them, unless the ship has shown "persistent refusal to stop ... or active resistance to visit or search, sic]"The first recorded clash between American and German war vessels had occurred o April 10 when the U.S. destroyer 'Niblack" dropped depth charges on a German U-boat which showed signs of attacking. On May 22 Raeder was back at the Berghof with a long memorandum suggesting countermeasures to President Roosevelt's friendly acts, but could not move his Supreme commander.
'The Führer (the Admiral noted) considers the attitude of the President of the United States still undecided. Under no circumstances does he wish to cause incidents which would result in the U.S. entry into the war.'
|Crewmen of U-550 abandon ship after being depth charged, rammed and shelled.'|
When Raeder attempted to argue that at night it was difficult to distinguish enemy from neutral warships Hitler cut him short by instructing him to issue new orders to avoid incidents with America. As a result the Navy Chief sent out orders the same night calling off attacks on any naval vessels "inside or outside the closed area" unless they were definitely identified as British. A similar order was given the Luftwaffe.
On July 9, President Roosevelt announced that American forces were taking over the occupation of Iceland from the British. The reaction in Berlin was immediate and violent. Ribbentrop cabled Tokyo that "this intrusion of American military forces in support of England into a territory which has been officially proclaimed by us to be a combat area is in itself an aggression against Germany and Europe."
Raeder hurried to the Wolfsschanze, from where the Führer was directing his Armies in Russia. He wanted a decision, he said, on "whether the occupation of Iceland by the U.S.A. to be considered as an entry into the war, or as an act of provocation which should be ignored." As for the German Navy, it considered the American landings in Iceland an act of war and in a two page memorandum it reminded the Führer of all the other acts of "aggression" against Germany committed by the Roosevelt government. Moreover, the Navy demanded the right to sink American freighters in the convoy area and attack U.S. warships if the occasion required it. Hitler refused.[It might be noted here that on the stand at Nürnberg, Admiral Raeder insisted that he did everything possible to avoid provoking the Unite States into war, sic]
|A Fleet Air Arm Avenger machine gun attack on a U-Boat during a convoy to Russia, April 1944'|
But "mistakes", as Raeder said, were bound to occur. On May 21 a U-boat sank he American freighter 'Robin Moor en route to South Africa at a place well outside the German blockade zone. Two more American merchant vessels were torpedoed toward the end of the summer. On September 4, a German submarine fired two torpedoes at he U.S, destroyer 'Greer', both missing. A week later, on September 11, Roosevelt reacted to this attack in a speech in which he announced that he had given orders to the Navy to "shoot at sight" and warned that he Axis warships entering American defence zone did so "at heir peril."
The speech incensed Berlin. In the German press Roosevelt was attacked as "Warmonger number One.' Ribbentrop recalled at Nürnberg that Hitler 'was greatly excited'. However, by the time Admiral Raeder arrived at the Wolfsschanze headquarters on the Eastern front on the afternoon September 17 to urge a drastic retaliation to the " shoot on sight" order, the Führer had calmed down. To the Admiral's plea that the German Navy at last be released from the restriction against attacking American ships the Supreme Commander again gave a firm No.
"President Roosevelt has ordered his ships to shoot the moment they sight German ships. I have ordered German ships not to shoot when they sight American vessels, but to defend them selves when attacked. I will have any German officer court-marshalled who fails to defend himself.
German submarine U-48 was a Type VIIB U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II, and the most successful that was commissioned. During her two years of active service, U-48 sank 55 ships for a total of 321,000 tons; she also damaged two more for a total of 12,000 tons over twelve war patrols conducted during the opening stages of the Battle of the Atlantic.
U-48 was built at the Germaniawerft in Kiel as 'werk' 583 during 1938 and 1939, being completed a few months before the outbreak of war in September 1939 and given to Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze. When war was declared, she was already in position in the North Atlantic, and received the news via radio, allowing her to operate immediately against Allied shipping.She was a member of two wolf packs.
U-48 survived most of the war and was scuttled by her own crew on 3 May 1945 off Neustadt in order to keep the submarine out of the hands of the advancing allies.
|Leigh Light fitted to a Royal Air Force Coastal Command Liberator, 26 February 1944|
The U-boat commanders who survived reported a particular fear of this weapon system since aircraft could not be seen at night, and the noise of an approaching aircraft was inaudible above the din made by the boat. The aircraft made contact with the submarine using centimetric radar, which was undetectable with typical U-boat equipment, then lined up on an attack run. (When metric radar was used, the set would automatically lower the radar power during the approach so the submarine would not detect it.) With a mile or so to go the searchlight would automatically switch on, immediately and accurately illuminating the target from the sky, giving about five seconds warning before it was hit with a stick of depth bombs. A drop in Allied shipping losses from 600,000 to 200,000 tons per month was attributed to this ingenious device.
And on November 13, he issued a new directive that while engagements with American warships were to be avoided as far as possible German submarines must defend themselves against attack. They had , of course already done that. On the night of October 16-17, the Us destroyer 'Kearny', coming to the aid of a convoy which was being attacked by German submarines, dropped depth charges on one of them, which retaliated by torpedoing it. Eleven men of the crew were killed. These were the first casualties in the undeclared war with Germany. More were quickly to follow. On October 31, the U.S. destroyer 'Reuben James' was torpedoed and sunk while on convoy duty, with the loss of 100 men of the 145 crew , including all its seven officers. Thus long before the final formalities of war, a shooting war had began.["History has recorded who fired the first shot," Roosevelt declared in reference to this incident in a Navy Day speech October 27. In all fairness it would seem that in dropping depth charges the United States fired the first shot. According to confidential German Navy records this was not the first such occasion. The official U.S. naval historian confirm that as early as April 10th 'Niblak" attacked a U-boat with depth charges.sic]
Major ceremonies were held in 1982 to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. With the exceptions of Washington and Lincoln, he was glorified and eulogized as no other president in American history. Even conservative President Ronald Reagan joined the chorus of applause. In early 1983, newspapers and television networks remembered the fiftieth anniversary of Roosevelt's inauguration with numerous laudatory tributes.And yet, with each passing year more and more new evidence comes to light which contradicts the glowing image of Roosevelt portrayed by the mass media and politicians.Much has already been written about Roosevelt's campaign of deception and outright lies in getting the United States to intervene in the Second World War prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Roosevelt's aid to Britain and the Soviet Union in violation of American neutrality and international law, his acts of war against Germany in the Atlantic in an effort to provoke a German declaration of war against the United States, his authorization of a vast "dirty tricks" campaign against U.S. citizens by British intelligence agents in violation of the Constitution, and his provocations and ultimatums against Japan which brought on the attack against Pearl Harbor -- all this is extensively documented and reasonably well known.
Not so well known is the story of Roosevelt's enormous responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War itself. Focusings on Roosevelt's secret campaign to provoke war in Europe prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. I deal particularly with his efforts to pressure Britain, France and Poland into war against Germany in 1938 and 1939.
Franklin Roosevelt not only criminally involved America in a war which had already engulfed Europe. He bears a grave responsibility before history for the outbreak of the most destructive war of all time.
|The submarine base in Lorient"|
President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy." On that day, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii Territory. The bombing killed more than 2,300 Americans. It completely destroyed the American battleship U.S.S. Arizona and capsized the U.S.S. Oklahoma. The attack sank or beached a total of twelve ships and damaged nine others. 160 aircraft were destroyed and 150 others damaged. The attack took the country by surprise, especially the ill-prepared Pearl Harbour base. The ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbour, known as the Commander-in-Chief Pacific, sent this hurried dispatch to all major navy commands and fleet units. Radio stations receiving the news interrupted regular broadcasts to announce the tragic news to the American public. Most people knew what the attack meant for the U.S. even before Roosevelt's official announcement the next day. The U.S. would declare war on Japan. The U.S. was already close to joining the war, but in an attempt to preserve its stance of isolation and neutrality, it had only committed to sending war supplies on loan to the Allied forces, mainly Great Britain, France, and Russia. Within days, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy (known collectively as the Axis powers), declared war on the United States. December 7, the "date which will live in infamy," brought the United States into World War II.
|Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tōjō'|
Hideki Tōjō after his attempted suicide during his arrest'
One member of such group was Admiral Kishisaburo Nomura, who arrived in Washington in February 1941 as the new Japanese ambassador and whose serious of confidential conversation with Cordell Hull which began in March, with the aim of settling peacefully the differences between the two countries, and which continued right up to the end, gave considerable worry in Berlin. In fact, the Germans did their best to sabotage the Washington talks. As early as May 15, 1941, Weizäcker submitted a memorandum to Ribbentrop pointing out that "any political treaty between Japan and the United States is undesirable at the present" and arguing that unless it were prevented Japan might be lost to the Axis.
Secretary Hull learned immediately of this German pressure, thanks to "Magic", as it was called, which since the end of 1940 had enabled the American government to decode intercepted Japanese cable and wireless messages in Tokyo's most secret ciphers, not only those sent to and from Washington but those to and from Berlin and other capitals. The German demand was cabled by Tokyo to Nomura on October 16, 1941, along with instructions to present a watered-down version to Hull. The Konoye government fell and was replaced by a military cabinet headed by the hotheaded, belligerent General Hideki Tōjō . The sand were now rapidly running out. On November 15, Saburo Kurusu arrived in Washington as a special ambassador to aid Nomura in the negotiations, but Secretary Hull soon sensed that the diplomat, who as the Japanese envoy in Berlin was somewhat pro-German, had brought no fresh proposals with him. His purpose, Hull thought, was to try to persuade Washington to accept the Japanese terms at once, or, if that failed, to lull the American government with talk until Japan was ready to strike a heavy surprise blow. On November 19 came the ominous "Winds" message to Nomura from Tokyo, which Hull's cryptographers promptly deciphered. If the Japanese newscaster on short wave Tokyo broadcast, which the Embassy picked up daily, inserted the words"East wind, rain," that would mean that the Japanese government had decided on war with America. Nomura was instructed, on receipt of the "Winds" warning, to destroy all codes and confidential papers.
Nazi misapprehension were due in large part to the failure at this junction of the Japanese to take the German government into their confidence as to their fateful decisions regarding America. Secretary Hull, thanks to the "Magic" code breaker, was much better informed, As early as November 5, he knew that the new Foreign Minister, Shigenori Togo, had wired Nomura setting a deadline of November 25 for the signing of an agreement, on Japanese's terms, with the American government. The final Japanese proposals were delivered in Washington on November 20. Hull and Roosevelt knew they were final because two days later "Magic" decoded for them a message from Togo to Nomura and Kurusu which said so, while extending the deadline to November 29. 'There are reasons beyond your ability to guess (Togo wired his ambassadors) why we wanted to settle Japanese-American relations by the 25th. But if the signing can be completed by the 29th...we have decided to wait until that date. This time we mean it, that the deadline absolutely cannot be changed. After that things are automatically going to happen.'
NOVEMBER 25, 1941, THE CRUCIAL DATE.
|Oahu and the Parent Submarine'|
|Photograph from a Japanese plane of Battleship Row at the beginning of the attack. The explosion in the centre is a torpedo strike on the USS Oklahoma. Two attacking Japanese planes can be seen: one over the USS Neosho and one over the Naval Yard'|
|Main Entrance to USS Arizona Memorial|
Will your Honour, the message directed, therefore immediately interview Chancellor HITLER and Foreign Minister RIBBENTROP and confidentially communicate to them a summary of developments. Say to them that lately England and the United States have taken a provocative attitude, both of them. Say that they are planning to move military forces into various places in East Asia and that we will inevitably have to counter by also moving troops. Say very secretly to them that there is extreme danger that war may suddenly break out between Japan and the Anglo-Saxon nations through some clash of arms and add the time of the breaking out of that war may come quicker then anyone dreams.[Hull says that he received a copy of this message through "Magic". Thus Washington, as well as Berlin, knew by the last day of November that the Japanese might strike against the United States quicker than anyone dreamt.'sic]
|Method of design on the remains of the battle ship Arizona|
|The 'tears of the Arizona barbett' .Oil slick visible on water's surface above the sunken battleship 1993.'[A barbette is a protective circular armour feature around a cannon or heavy artillery gun. The name comes from the French phrase en barbette]|
|The Japanese attack, the first wave|
|The Japanese attack2ndwave.jpg|
On December 9, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour and hastened the entry of the United States into World War II on the side of the Allies.
|President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Japan on the day following the attack.|
The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of United States Congress. Roosevelt called December 9 "a date which will live in infamy". Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan amid outrage at the attack and the late delivery of the note from the Japanese government breaking off relations with the U.S. government, actions considered treacherous. Pacifist Representative Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, cast the only dissenting vote. Roosevelt signed the declaration of war later the same day. Continuing to intensify its military mobilization, the U.S. government finished converting to a war economy, a process begun by provision of weapons and supplies to the Soviet Union and Great Britain.
The Pearl Harbour attack immediately galvanized a divided nation into action. Public opinion had been moving towards support for entering the war during 1941, but considerable opposition remained until the attack. Overnight, Americans united against Japan in response to calls to "Remember Pearl Harbour." American solidarity in the war effort probably made possible the unconditional surrender position later taken by the Allied Powers. Some historians, among them Samuel Eliot Morison, believe the attack doomed Japan to defeat simply because it awakened the "sleeping giant", regardless of whether the fuel depots or machine shops had been destroyed or even if the carriers had been caught in port and sunk. U.S. industrial and military capacity, once mobilized, was able to pour overwhelming resources into both the Pacific and Atlantic theatres. Others, such as Clay Blair, Jr., and Mark Parillo believe Japanese trade protection was so incompetent that American submarines alone might have strangled Japan into defeat.
Perceptions of treachery in the attack before a declaration of war sparked fears of sabotage or espionage by Japanese sympathizers residing in the U.S., including citizens of Japanese descent and was a factor in the subsequent Japanese internment in the western United States. Other factors included misrepresentations of intelligence information (none) suggesting sabotage, notably by General John DeWitt, commanding general of Western Defence Command on the Pacific Coast, who had personal feelings against Japanese Americans. In February 1942, Roosevelt signed United States Executive Order 9066, requiring all Japanese Americans to submit themselves for an internment.
Propaganda made repeated use of the attack, because its effect was enormous and impossible to counter. "Remember Pearl Harbour!" became the watchwords of the war.
The American government understated the damage inflicted, in hopes of preventing the Japanese from learning it, but the Japanese had, through surveillance, a good estimate.
Masterminding the attack on Pearl Harbour, Admiral Yamaotyo
Operation Vengeance, the planned attack
|Hawaii Operation, track of Japanese Task Force|
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to "Get Yamamoto." Knox instructed Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of Roosevelt's wishes. Admiral Nimitz consulted Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander, South Pacific, then authorized a mission on 17 April to intercept Yamamoto's flight en route and shoot it down. A squadron of Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft were assigned the task as only they possessed the range to intercept and engage. Select pilots from three units were informed that they were intercepting an "important high officer" with no specific name given.
The crash site and body of Yamamoto were found the next day in the jungle north of Buin by a Japanese search and rescue party, led by army engineer, Lieutenant Hamasuna. According to Hamasuna, Yamamoto had been thrown clear of the plane's wreckage, his white-gloved hand grasping the hilt of his katana, still upright in his seat under a tree. Hamasuna said Yamamoto was instantly recognizable, head dipped down as if deep in thought. A post-mortem of the body disclosed that Yamamoto had received two 50-caliber bullet wounds, one to the back of his left shoulder and another to his left lower jaw that exited above his right eye. The Japanese navy doctor examining the body determined that the head wound killed Yamamoto. The more violent details of Yamamoto's death were hidden from the Japanese public; the medical report was whitewashed, changed "on orders from above", according to biographer Hiroyuki Agawa.
His staff cremated his remains at Buin, and the ashes were returned to Tokyo aboard the battleship Musashi, Yamamoto's last flagship. Yamamoto was given a full state funeral on 5 June 1943, where he received, posthumously, the title of Marshal and was awarded the Order of the Chrysanthemum, (1st Class). He was also awarded Germany's Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Part of his ashes were buried in the public Tama Cemetery, Tokyo, and the remainder at his ancestral burial grounds at the temple of Chuko-ji in Nagaoka City. He was succeeded as commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet by Admiral Mineichi Koga.
PEARL HARBOUR CONTROVERSY
Perhaps the most persistent problem concerning the Japanese planning for and conduct the attack on Pear Harbour concerns American intelligence or, more accurately, the treatment afforded American intelligence by various investigations, hearings and apparently historical works on the subject. The last that can be said is that in the immediate post-war situation, indeed even before victory over Japan was an accomplished fact, there were a series of moves, primarily by a deliberately and biterly partisan Republian Paty in an attempt to discredit Franklin D. Roosevelt, president, administration and memory, which gave rise to a number of conspiracy theories. These, frankly, have been afforded infinitely more attention than they deserved. Specially these charges have been that Roosevelt personally, and Washington, generally knew that the attack on Pearl Harbour was coming but that the commanding military and naval officers in Hawaii were not properly warned, that the British knew that an attack on Pearl Harbour was planned but made no attempt to warn the Americans because it was in Britain's national interest to ensure American entry into the war, not necessarily that she avoided attack, and the Soviet Union also knew but, like the British and for similar reasons, her representatives managed to avoid mentioning this knowledge in conversation with their American opposite numbers.
In addition to these three main theses, there were repeated claims by the commanders on Oahu, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander-in-chief US Pacific Fleet, and Lieutenant-General Walter C. Short, overall commander of the Army Air force formations in the Island, that they were deliberately denied vital information which prevented their being alerted against surprise attack, this information supposedly being available in Washington. Kimmel and Short protested their innocence until their deaths, since which time various individual shave continued that both men be reinstated with full rank in order to provide some form of posthumous vindication.
|Admiral Husband E. Kimmel'|
Kimmel retired early in 1942. His son, Manning, died when the submarine he commanded (USS Robalo) was sunk near Palawan in July 1944.
Kimmel himself worked for Frederic R. Harris, Inc. after the war. Kimmel died at Groton, Connecticut, on May 14, 1968.
In 1994 Kimmel's family, including his grandson, South Carolina broadcaster Manning Kimmel IV, attempted for the third time to have Kimmel's four star rank re-instated. President Bill Clinton turned down the request, as had Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan before him. A 1995 Pentagon study concluded other high-ranking officers were also responsible for the failure at Pearl Harbor but did not exonerate Kimmel. On May 25, 1999, the United States Senate, by a vote of 52–47, passed a non-binding resolution to exonerate Kimmel and Short and requested that the President of the United States posthumously restore both men to full rank. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), one of the sponsors of the resolution, called Kimmel and Short "the two final victims of Pearl Harbor." Neither President Clinton nor President Bush after him did so. The Senate enquiry in 2000 issued a lengthy exoneration of Kimmel's conduct.
|Short as a lieutenant general'|
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Pearl Harbour visit