Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 21, 2018

The US must have known about Japan’s “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbour

Filed under: Brian A. Mitchell,WWII — louisproyect @ 5:30 pm

A Brian A. Mitchell guest post

The US must have known about Japan’s “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbour.

The US had intercepted and deciphered Japanese communications since 1940. With their surveillance and technology at the time, the US would have known about the “surprise” Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941. With Britain and its empire on its knees; the US wanted to grab the chance to further dominate the world, and Pearl Harbour gave them the excuse they wanted to enter the war by overcoming the “isolationist” policy of the American public and Congress in opposition to involvement in the war. This is not “proof” that the US knew about the attack, but there’s no reason to conclude otherwise.

“If by these [economic, trade and military] means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.”

(Secret memo from US Naval intelligence officer Lieutenant Commander McCollum to Commodore Knox October 7 1940, detailing options for provoking Japan to attack the US, all of which were carried out. Not declassified until 1994. Many documents on this are still classified.)

“we face the delicate question of the diplomatic fencing to be done so as to be sure Japan is put into the wrong and makes the first bad move – overt move.

(US Secretary of War Henry Stimson in his diary October 16 1941.)

“For a long time I have believed that our best entrance into the war would be by way of Japan.”

(US Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, in his diary, October 18, 1941.)

“We are preparing an offensive war against Japan.”

(US Army Chief of Staff General Marshall, in a “secret” report, November 15 1941.)

“Eighty percent of the American people in 1940… were against going to war in Europe against Hitler. Roosevelt did the next best thing… He needed something to cause an important trauma and make the Americans’ mind up regarding the war. Therefore, he provoked the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.”

(US author and political historian Gore Vidal.)

“It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side.”

(Winston Churchill, in a secret directive to the British War Cabinet, April 28 1941.)

“The President had said he would wage war but not declare it. … Everything was to be done to force an incident.”

(Winston Churchill, to the British War Cabinet, August 18 1941.)

“[Roosevelt] brought up the event that we were likely to be attacked perhaps next Monday [December 1], for the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning, and the question was what we should do. The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”

(US Secretary of War Henry Stimson, in his diary, November 25 1941.)

“The task force, keeping its movement strictly secret and maintaining close guard against submarines and aircraft, shall advance into Hawaiian waters, and upon the very opening of hostilities shall attack the main force of the United States fleet and deal it a mortal blow. The first air raid is planned for the dawn of x-day. Exact date to be given by later order.”

(Japanese Admiral Yamamoto to Japanese Air Fleet, November 26, 1941, decrypted by the US.)

“the news got worse and worse and the atmosphere indicated that something was going to happen.”

(US Secretary of War Henry Stimson, in his diary, December 6 1941, the day before the attack.)

“Prior to December 7, it was evident even to me… that we were pushing Japan into a corner. I believed that it was the desire of President Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Churchill that we get into the war, as they felt the Allies could not win without us and all our efforts to cause the Germans to declare war on us failed; the conditions we imposed upon Japan – to get out of China, for example – were so severe that we knew that nation could not accept them. We were forcing her so severely that we could have known that she would react toward the United States. All her preparations in a military way – and we knew their over-all import – pointed that way.”

(US Rear Admiral Frank Beatty, Aid to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox.)

“Japan was provoked into attacking the Americans at Pearl Harbor. It is a travesty on history ever to say that America was forced into the war. Everyone knows where American sympathies were. It is incorrect to say that America was ever truly neutral even before America came into the war on a fighting basis.”

(British cabinet Minister of Production Oliver Littleton, June 20 1944.)

Brian was born in the bombed out wartime East End of London and developed an interest in political books early on. He worked in various technical fields for 20 years, all of which thoroughly bored him. He entered academic life (History and Classical Economics) and became an independent journalist, worked for the ANC (secret at the time) until the end of apartheid, and was a trade union representative in a large hospital. He is now retired and still works (when able) as an independent journalist.


  1. I am struck by how many different photographs of the attack exist. It seems someone (or some agency) knew the attack was coming and was prepared to milk it for maximum effect on the pacifist-minded US public by getting those photos published. Hence all the different pictures of it. It’s unlikely that Joe Blow was carrying a camera around in those days. This is not “proof” but certainly corroboration.

    Comment by uh...clem — April 21, 2018 @ 5:58 pm

  2. there is even more to this. Some years ago I spent a fair amount of time at the Library of Congress and came across an article in a Hawaiian newspaper that plainly stated by an AP release from the Orient that the Japanese were going to launch an attack eastward across the pacific. This was the day before the attack on Pearl. I later was involved in a course regarding spying and cryptography. the instructor had enough pull and connections that he could actually bring in one of the original Enigma machines. During one discussion I mentioned this newspaper article which so far as I know never was carried anywhere else or even discussed. Since I was dealing with responsible adults there was no ridicule or laughter but they were insistent that I was getting my newspapers mixed up and I must have been thinking of the Omaha beach crossword puzzle matter before the normandy invasion. I was insistent and the instructor said that he would call the curator of the Pearl Harbor museum. Everyone contacted said they never heard of this, etc. I tried to find the article again but could not for a while because I was looking in papers on the main island. I later discovered that I was looking in the wrong place and it was a newspaper on the island of Hilo. if you are interested in that you may now be able to find it by some sort of digitizaton process. I know it exists. You would have thought that a newspaper article would have put someone on high alert??? >

    Comment by Charles ShieldsIII — April 21, 2018 @ 9:35 pm

  3. Absolutely ! Our Dad, who was a China Marine in the mid to late 30’s told us when we were kids that everyone on the ground knew this was coming with the Japanese. It was no surprise. I’ve brought this up on other sites over the years, just to be dissed. Daddy Eddie returned from China late 1939, went on to become the one of the first Marine Paratroopers and participated in the Raid on Choiseul, a suicide mission which was a diversion for the attack on Bougainville in the Soloman Islands. JFK actually rescued some of the men from Choiseul.

    Anyway, I don’t think he ever recovered from WW11. “War is a racket”.

    Thank You for this ! So, what ever happened to the Peking Bones?

    Jeez, I cannot keep up with all of your posts !

    Comment by Maggie — April 21, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

  4. Charles,
    Did you mean the town of Hilo on the Big Island (the one called Hawaii Island)? [As in, the Hilo side of the Big Island (east of the island, where the volcano is), as opposed to the Kona side (west; where more touristy establishments are).]

    Comment by Reza — April 22, 2018 @ 3:07 am

  5. One small correction. It’s Oliver Lyttelton, not Oliver Littleton.

    Comment by Mark Brady — April 22, 2018 @ 4:45 am

  6. Readers will be even more horrified by the truth about September 11, 2001. A great place for anyone to begin to learn the truth is Kevin Ryan’s website: digwithin.net.

    Comment by Tyler — April 24, 2018 @ 5:58 pm

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