Pearl Harbor 74th Anniversary

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Flag flown on the U.S.S. St. Louis at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 with Franklin D. Roosevelt in foreground. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from U.S. Air Force and Farm Security Administration / Wikimedia
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Today is the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Like many historical events, it is subject to interpretation and debate. Here, we offer a link to a 1999 C-SPAN discussion of various theories on what the United States suspected or possibly knew about the coming onslaught — an event that produced a profound shift of public sentiment away from isolationism and toward support for US entry into the ongoing wars in Asia and Europe.

What do you think? We would like to hear from our readers, so please comment below or on our Facebook page.


We also offer other videos of interest on the topic. And further down, we link to past WhoWhatWhy pieces on the American actions to end the war in the Pacific, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Also of interest:

Documentary in original color, showing attack and response in Japan.

Rare footage of Pearl Harbor attack

High quality film — by both Japanese and American photographers of the attack.

Rare footage of Pearl Harbor attack

Links to information on related controversies.

WhoWhatWhy stories on America’s war-ending response four years later, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

How the Hiroshima Bombing Got a Hollywood Makeover

Hiroshima Series, Part 1 — Hiroshima/Nagasaki: Atomic Devastation Hidden for Decades

Hiroshima Series, Part 2 — How They Hid the Worst Horrors of Hiroshima

Hiroshima Series, Part 3 — Death and Suffering in Living Color  

Please share your reactions below in our comments section. And remember: reasonable people can disagree respectfully.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (U.S. Air Force), USS Maryland (BB-46) alongside the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37). USS West Virginia (BB-48) is burning in the background. (U.S. Navy / National Archives), President Roosevelt delivers the “Day of Infamy” speech (National Archives)

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5 responses to “Pearl Harbor 74th Anniversary”

  1. Stoney says:

    Yes, Robert Stinnett’s book “Day of Deceit” is excellent. It discusses many things such McCullom’s “Eight Action Memo” ( available on wikipedia ) and the fact that all Japanese codes had been broken. It also discusses how an Admiral was forced to resign after disagreeing to place forces in Honolulu. There is also an audio book if you are busy. Stinnett’s book is a classic must read. It would be great if someone would interview him before he passes away.

  2. andrew1212 says:

    Author Robert Stinnett discusses “DAY OF DECEIT: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor”

    Stinnett speaks about a Japanese spy who was known to the U.S. Navy and the FBI in 1941–as of 2000 the FBI was still keeping the records from the public under the “national security” banner (60 years later)…

    Stinnett also describes the complicity of the U.S. press–on Nov. 15, 1941 the U.S. Army Chief of Staff called the Washington bureau chiefs into a meeting and told them about an attack which would occur the first week of December. The Asscoiated Press, the New York Times, Time, and Newsweek were among those who swore to keep the secret.

    The Chicago Tribune did publish a banner headline on December 4, 1941–three days BEFORE the strike at Pearl Harbor: “F.D.R.’s WAR PLANS” which included a plan for 5 million U.S. forces to invade Germany on July 1, 1943…(D-Day was 1 year behind schedule).

  3. From Our Facebook Page says:

    (Comment by reader Larry Rochelle) Very effective to get us into War II….. used by the Neo-Cons as an example to attack Iraq.

  4. RichCabot says:

    Read “Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor” by Robert Stinnett. Be sure to get the paperback edition. Published after the hardback version, it includes additional declassified government documents which prove that the US intercepted radio transmissions to the Japanese fleet which detailed the date and location of the impending attack. Other material in both versions of the book proves that FDR intentionally forced the Japanese to attack.