Seventy five years ago today Japanese airplanes bombed Pearl Harbor and initiated a war of words that has engaged conspiracy nut cases for decades. Their essential argument is that President Franklin Roosevelt knew the attack was coming, but did nothing in order to get America involved in a war. So, what are the facts?
1. Early in 1941, at a time when the US was neutral and England stood alone facing the powerful German army, secret meetings were held in Washington D.C. by American and British military leaders to discuss what should be the military plan IF the US got involved in the war. Their plan was termed the ABC-1 plan. Its basic concept was that Germany was the main enemy,and the US should attempt to AVOID A WAR WITH JAPAN.
3. At this point Japan was engaged in its invasion of China. This war was draining Japan of its resources, and it was clear there was no immediate prospect of victory. Japan took over French Indo-China(Vietnam) when France surrendered to Germany. This resulted in June, 1941 with an American embargo of oil to Japan. The Japanese needed US oil to continue its war in China.
4. In June, 1941, Germany invaded Russia. As America struggled to equip its armed forces, it had to provide military assistance to England and Russia. This resulted in serious shortages for US armed forces.
5. In September, 1941, a secret meeting of Japanese leaders concluded that either they had to get oil if they wanted to win in China. The recommendation to Emperor Hirohito was either resolve problems with the US or go to war.
6. The Japanese navy feared war with America. Admiral Yamamoto had studied at Harvard, understood that Japan could never win an extended war with the US. He finally agreed to conduct a secret attack, win an overwhelming victory, and force the US to agree to peace that would allow for victory in China.
7. On December 4th TWO Japanese fleets sailed. One headed south toward the Dutch East Indies(Indonesia) which had oil, the other towards Pearl Harbor. American planes spotted the fleet headed south.
8. The US military had broken the Japanese diplomatic code. Not, the military. American military leaders believed Japan was going to attack the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. They never expected an attack on Pearl Harbor. NO Conspiracy.