Conspiracy: Did FDR Deceive the American People in a Push for War?

By Mallary A. Silva
2010, Vol. 2 No. 01 | pg. 3/3 |

With access to documents from people who were there, it is easy for historians to document this cultural response. According to a diary entry on the day of the attack, Lt. Cornelious C. Smith wrote, “Hell, we could blow them out of the water in three weeks! But here we were with our pants down and the striking force of our Pacific Fleet is settling on the bottom of east Loch, Pearl Harbor. Who wouldn’t be ashamed?”54 There is no doubt the Japanese were seen as inferior.

With this attitude by the majority of the American public, a scapegoat was needed so that the people had closure, but to blame to Japanese was out of the question due to their “backwards ways.” Kennedy writes “…could this have happened the only explanation is someone on the American side…these are natural psychological reactions.”55

There are other authors and historians that emphasize the Japanese decision for an act of aggression as to place the blame on the actual aggressors, “The Japanese convinced themselves that necessity and self-protection … to break through real or imagined encirclement and beat off the challenge of any one or combination of their international rivals…”56 This is a classic example of creating a black and white picture of who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. While Japan is viewed as the aggressor, after exposure to the McCollum document, one may think differently.

Since the birth of this country, people have been paranoid that their “experiment with freedom” would result in failure, whether through foreign penetration or a conspiracy from the inside.57 Is America so young that it may self-destruct? In America, freedom has always been the ideology which has been defended. But like the many top dictators who suffered paranoia, does America, the top nation, suffer from the same paranoia that everyone is out to sabotage it, including its own government?

It is hard to believe that FDR master manipulated an entire country into a war and deliberately withheld vital information. Of course, critics of Roosevelt would use him as a scapegoat. However, people close to him were uncertain as to whether he caused the attack, “Political enemies of Franklin Roosevelt accused him of responsibility for the disaster, even his friends were dismayed.”58 The warning signs in regards to the attack on Pearl Harbor existed yet were vague, and those warnings may have been handled poorly by those involved.

The documents Stinnett presents stated that war between the U.S and Japan was inevitable. However no document exists that specifically states that there would be a bombing at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th, 1941. With the pacific fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor it could have been assumed the Japanese had taken full responsibility for the attack, thus invalidating many of the conspiracy theorists accusations and research to date.59

Nonetheless, anti-conspiracy theorist’s retaliations against conspiracy theories have not invalidated the claim of one. The evidence of prior knowledge to the attack is astonishing and believable. A few of the Pearl Harbor files became declassified in the early 1990s and provided evidence supporting the conspiracy.

Only when the files become completely declassified in the future will the public know the full truth.60 Without question, Pearl Harbor was the event which lead the U.S into WWII, and there is enough evidence, although circumstantial, to illustrate the United State’s provocation of the Japanese into an act of aggression. FDR’s motives could have not only lead to the deception of the American people, but also lead the United States into WWII through the backdoor of Japan.


References

I. Books

Gannon, Michael. Pearl Harbor Betrayed: The Story of a Man and Nation Under Attack. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. 

Olmsted, Kathryn S. Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Prange, Gordon W. At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. New York: Penguin Group, 1991.

Riebling, Mark. Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11--How the Secret War between the FBI and CIA Has Endangered National Security. New York: Osprey Productions Inc, 1994.

Stinnett, Robert B. Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor. New York: Touchstone, 2001.

Victor, George. The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable. Virginia: Potomac Books, 2007.

Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962.  

II. Government Documents

U.S Department of the Army. Pearl Harbor Operations: General Outlines of Orders and Plans. Prepared by Military History Section Headquarters, Army Forces Far East. Washington, DC: United States Printing Office, 1945.

U.S Department of State. Peace and War United States Foreign Policy 1931-1941. Prepared by the Superintendent of Documents. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1943.

 U.S Senate. Development of Untied States Foreign Policy: Address and Messages of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Complied from Official Sources Intended to Present the Chronological Development of the Foreign Policy of the United States. Washington, DC: United States Printing Office, 1942.

III. Video Recordings

Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor (2005). Produced by Baseline Studio Systems. 47 min. A&E Television Networks. DVD.  

IV. Websites

The Independent Institute. "The Truth About Pearl Harbor: A Debate Between Robert Stinnett and Stephan Budiansky." The Independent Institute Online http://www.independent.org (accessed April 13 2009).


Endnotes

1.) U.S Senate, Development of Untied States Foreign Policy: Address and Messages of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1942, 77th Cong., 2d sess., House Executive Document 188 (Washington, DC 1942), 125.

2.) Ibid 125.

3.) Ibid

4.) Kathryn S. Olmsted, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 45.

5.) Ibid, 52.

6.) Ibid, 42-43.

7.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor, DVD, Produced by Baseline Studio Systems (A&E Television Networks, 2005).

8.) Gordon W. Prange, At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor (New York: Penguin Group, 1991),2.

9.) Ibid, 2.

10.) Olmsted, 58.

11.) Ibid, 48.

12.) Ibid, 49.

13.) George Victor, The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable (Virginia: Potomac Books, 2007),3.

14.) Ibid

15.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor.

16.) Victor, 2.

17.) Olmsted, 48.

18.) Ibid, 43.

20.) Ibid, 51.

21.) Ibid 52-54.

22.) Ibid, 55.

23.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor.

24.) Ibid

25.) Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (New York: Touchstone, 2001), 6.

26.) Ibid 6.

27.) Ibid, 9.

28.) Ibid, 275.

29.) Ibid, 17.

30.) Ibid, 17.

31.) Ibid, 18.

32.) Ibid, 28.

33.) Ibid, 275.

34.) Ibid, 57.

35.) Ibid, 294.

36.) The Independent Institute, "The Truth About Pearl Harbor: A Debate Between Robert Stinnett and Stephan Budiansky," The Independent Institute Online http://www.independent.org (accessed April 13 2009).

37.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor.

38.) Olmsted, 57.

39.) Stinnett, 23.

40.) Ibid, 262.

41.) The Independent Institute.

42.) Stinnett, 23.

43.) Ibid

44.) Olmsted, 58.

45.) Ibid

46.) Olmsted, 57.

47.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor

48.) Prange, 686.

49.) Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962), 172-173.

50.) The Independent Institute.

51.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor.

52.) Ibid

53.) Victor, 3.

54.) Michael Gannon, Pearl Harbor Betrayed: The Story of a Man and Nation Under Attack (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001),1. 

55.) Ibid

56.) Prange, 2.

57.) Olmsted, 3.

58.) Victor,1.

59.) Conspiracy: FDR and Pearl Harbor.

60.) Ibid

Suggested Reading from Inquiries Journal

This article compares the media's framing of five groups in response to a societal catalyst that propelled them into the public and media spotlight: Native Americans during the Indian Wars; women during the suffrage movement; African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement; Japanese Americans following the attacks on Pearl Harbor... MORE»
Advertisement
The “Great Game”, as Rudyard Kipling famously referred to the art of Intelligence, is a “game” that comes with a large slice one of chance, and just like any other game there is as much chance of losing as there is of winning. As Shulsky illuminates above there is a cast iron guarantee that with the pursuit of intelligence there comes intelligence failure. This work will examine why this is so, drawing on the examples... MORE»
The Roosevelt Corollary, outlined in Theodore Roosevelt’s 1904 and 1905 State of the Union addresses, proclaimed a new imperialist doctrine for American foreign policy in the western hemisphere and represents the culmination... MORE»
Patience, the third poem in Cotton Nero A.x., tells the story of the Old Testament prophet Jonah, placing the narrative within the context of the virtue “pacience” (ll. 1, 531). This, however, is the crux: how much of Patience is simple translation, and in what ways did the poet augment the... MORE»
Submit to Inquiries Journal, Get a Decision in 10-Days

Inquiries Journal provides undergraduate and graduate students around the world a platform for the wide dissemination of academic work over a range of core disciplines.

Representing the work of students from hundreds of institutions around the globe, Inquiries Journal's large database of academic articles is completely free. Learn more | Blog | Submit

Follow IJ

Latest in History

2020, Vol. 12 No. 11
This paper examines the peasantry's response to modernization measures taken by Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the pursuit of modernity, the Tsarist Russian and early Soviet regimes altered... Read Article »
2020, Vol. 2020 No. 1
The 19th century, a tumultuous period which saw a momentous change to a way of life, also saw the implementation of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, a decisive change in England’s relationship with its poor. The local parish based poor... Read Article »
2020, Vol. 2020 No. 1
This study analyzes the publications of Dr. Wu Lien-teh, health commissioner during the Manchurian plague epidemics, to demonstrate how poor cultural communication can adversely affect medical care and health policies. Combined with a case study... Read Article »
2020, Vol. 12 No. 09
The man who powered NASA through the Apollo Era had no background in science or engineering. Rather, NASA achieved one of history’s most thrilling tasks on an ambitious timeline in turbulent political conditions precisely because NASA Administrator... Read Article »
2019, Vol. 11 No. 10
The status of women and their role in Late Antiquity has been a topic of inquiry among historians. It is a particularly challenging study to achieve a degree of certainty because of the biases present in historical evidence. This paper shall explore... Read Article »
2018, Vol. 10 No. 03
On February 14th, 1965, just one week before he was assassinated, Malcolm X delivered a speech in Detroit. He spoke about his beliefs concerning segregation and civil rights, and made a point of contextualizing the civil rights movement globally... Read Article »
2018, Vol. 10 No. 01
The British Empire of the nineteenth century displayed and embodied racism in its composite. In embodying this idea of racial inequality, the Empire created grounds on which it could justify the imperialist actions that it executed throughout the... Read Article »

What are you looking for?

FROM OUR BLOG

"Should I Go to Graduate School?"
How to Use Regression Analysis Effectively
5 Tips for Publishing Your First Academic Article