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Author Topic: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary  (Read 2029 times)

mgk920

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Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« on: December 07, 2021, 10:20:45 AM »

Salute!

Mike

[Changed topic to be a bit more specific in case it lasts past December 7. -S.]
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 03:29:31 PM by Scott5114 »
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2021, 10:34:41 AM »

I'm the person who thinks of a different anniversary today. My grandfather (I only ever knew one of my grandfathers because the other died before I was born) died 30 years ago today—50 years to the day after the better-known incident. It was a Saturday and I wasn't able to attend the funeral the following week because of college exams. I'm sure I could have taken exams later, but all my relatives were adamant that I not do that.
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2021, 10:39:32 AM »

Before 9/11, Pearl Harbor was the worst American tragedy ever. But then again, Hawaii would not become a state for another 18 years.
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2021, 01:02:51 PM »

It's amazing how many bad decisions and assumptions surround the Pearl Harbor attack.  Hindsight is 20/20 but there were many spectacular failures on the part of the United States to catch wind of this attack beforehand or at least be at a slightly higher state of alertness in the context of world events at the time.  There's a certain arrogance to it all of "Oh we've got nothing to worry about."

Then there's the tremendous miscalculation on the part of Imperial Japan that this would somehow knock the US out of the growing conflict in the Pacific.  I get the idea that they wanted to hit several places around the Pacific all at once so as to not give other powers like the US and UK time to respond and reposition after a less extensive first strike.  But they had to know they were over-extending already and would find themselves in a terribly undefendable situation fighting on multiple fronts.  Again, there's an arrogance in assuming they could handle it and assuming the adversary was weak.

Japan is a resource-poor country in terms of the things one needs to fight an industrial war.  That's why they were so keen on invading China and Southeast Asia.  But Hawaii adds nothing to that war effort and only brings in another powerful enemy.  Conflict between Japan and the United States was probably inevitable, but it was a huge mistake to get the drop on America before they achieved their objectives in mainland Asia.  Now they're pulled in too many directions and defeat became inevitable.

Pearl Harbor serious pissed off America.  It had dramatic effects on how America treated their opponent in the subsequent war.  We indiscriminately carpet bombed entire cities as part of "vengeance" for Pearl Harbor.  But I think any reasonable person can acknowledge we overdid it.  2400 dead Americans at Pearl and a few years later 100,000 Japanese die in a single bombing raid on Tokyo.  And that's before we nuked them.  Never forget Pearl, but also never forget what happened afterward.  Just because their war crimes were worse than our war crimes doesn't let us off the hook completely.  Learn from the whole experience, not just the pop on the nose that started the fight.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2021, 01:16:31 PM »

^^^

Don’t forget about all those big interment camps that popped up on the West Coast.  I know this was a “total war” but there is no positive way to look at detaining people solely because of their nation of origin. 

Speaking of the USS Arizona I paid a visit last month:

https://flickr.com/photos/151828809@N08/sets/72157720111647749
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2021, 02:00:24 PM »

I think this topic falls under politics which is in a guideline here.  Yes we should remember our fallen, and give them respect, but take this to Facebook or Twitter to discuss what should have been done to people who want to hear this.

I leave the Moderators to decide, but just suggesting to leave out debates on the line of breaking forum rules in this.
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2021, 02:03:00 PM »

I think this topic falls under politics which is in a guideline here.  Yes we should remember our fallen, and give them respect, but take this to Facebook or Twitter to discuss what should have been done to people who want to hear this.

I leave the Moderators to decide, but just suggesting to leave out debates on the line of breaking forum rules in this.

This topic doesn't seem controversial.
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2021, 02:07:42 PM »

I think this topic falls under politics which is in a guideline here.  Yes we should remember our fallen, and give them respect, but take this to Facebook or Twitter to discuss what should have been done to people who want to hear this.

I leave the Moderators to decide, but just suggesting to leave out debates on the line of breaking forum rules in this.

This topic doesn't seem controversial.

No it’s in early stages yet. All you need is certain users on here to ignite the flame.
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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2021, 03:18:57 PM »

I think this topic falls under politics which is in a guideline here.  Yes we should remember our fallen, and give them respect, but take this to Facebook or Twitter to discuss what should have been done to people who want to hear this.

I leave the Moderators to decide, but just suggesting to leave out debates on the line of breaking forum rules in this.

History is not politics, even if it was at the time the history happened. (Yes, this means there's a point at which one changes to the other that I'm deliberately not nailing down at present, but I think an election which no active member was eligible to vote in would count as history, for example.)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 03:22:27 PM by Scott5114 »
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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2021, 06:21:47 PM »

Don’t forget about all those big interment camps that popped up on the West Coast.  I know this was a “total war” but there is no positive way to look at detaining people solely because of their nation of origin. 

One of the great stains of our nation's history.

It was, however, a great opportunity for white landowners to smash and grab the prosperous Japanese farms in Washington and California. One of the leading Washington advocates for "internment" (even before the war), Miller Freeman, bought up a ton of strawberry farms to start his real estate empire in Bellevue, which is still managed by his grandson Kemper (owner of the Bellevue Square mall among others).

Ironically, Bellevue is now 36% Asian. The "internment" decimated Seattle's Nihonmachi (Japantown), which is now near invisible and mostly absorbed into Chinatown-ID.

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Re: It was 80 years ago - Today.
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2021, 08:11:27 PM »

It's amazing how many bad decisions and assumptions surround the Pearl Harbor attack.  Hindsight is 20/20 but there were many spectacular failures on the part of the United States to catch wind of this attack beforehand or at least be at a slightly higher state of alertness in the context of world events at the time.  There's a certain arrogance to it all of "Oh we've got nothing to worry about."

Then there's the tremendous miscalculation on the part of Imperial Japan that this would somehow knock the US out of the growing conflict in the Pacific.  I get the idea that they wanted to hit several places around the Pacific all at once so as to not give other powers like the US and UK time to respond and reposition after a less extensive first strike.  But they had to know they were over-extending already and would find themselves in a terribly undefendable situation fighting on multiple fronts.  Again, there's an arrogance in assuming they could handle it and assuming the adversary was weak.

Japan is a resource-poor country in terms of the things one needs to fight an industrial war.  That's why they were so keen on invading China and Southeast Asia.  But Hawaii adds nothing to that war effort and only brings in another powerful enemy.  Conflict between Japan and the United States was probably inevitable, but it was a huge mistake to get the drop on America before they achieved their objectives in mainland Asia.  Now they're pulled in too many directions and defeat became inevitable.

Pearl Harbor serious pissed off America.  It had dramatic effects on how America treated their opponent in the subsequent war.  We indiscriminately carpet bombed entire cities as part of "vengeance" for Pearl Harbor.  But I think any reasonable person can acknowledge we overdid it.  2400 dead Americans at Pearl and a few years later 100,000 Japanese die in a single bombing raid on Tokyo.  And that's before we nuked them.  Never forget Pearl, but also never forget what happened afterward.  Just because their war crimes were worse than our war crimes doesn't let us off the hook completely.  Learn from the whole experience, not just the pop on the nose that started the fight.
I would like to add a couple things.

Japan only invaded Pearl Harbor because their supply chain was being destroyed by America. America had ships in the Bungo Strait near Japan and they were funding the Flying Tigers (meant to destroy Japan in its war with China) well before Pearl Harbor. America was also issuing terms of Unconditional Surrender (after Pearl Harbor, but still) which basically meant that if Japan surrendered to those terms, there were no limits to what the Americans could do to them. If China today was funding Mexico with bombers flying around American airspace, had battleships in the Gulf of Mexico or even Puget Sound, and said that even if America surrendered, there would be no guarantee of even being allowed to live in a concentration camp, Americans would be very disturbed. I can only imagine how the Japanese felt. They were essentially a caged cat that only had two choices: stay in the cage and starve to death, or fight back. So they chose the less bad (for them), but nonetheless foolish, option of fighting back.

America was goading them on to fight, however. America sent submarines and heavy cruisers to the Philippines, cut off Japan's oil supply, and gave aid to all of Japan's enemies. In addition, the US Pacific fleet was moved from San Diego to Pearl Harbor (a harder to defend location) so that "Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war" (in the words of Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum back in early 1940). This was done because President FDR wanted to get into the war so that America could help Britain defeat Germany and rule the world. He knew that American opinion at the time was against going to war, so he found a way to change it by making the enemy look evil, and him look good.

The admiral in charge of the Pacific fleet, Admiral Richardson, complained that the fleet was moved to Hawaii because it would be more vulnerable to attack, resulting in him getting fired. Admiral Kimmel, the man who is generally blamed for Pearl Harbor, also complained, but to no avail. On October 9, 1941, the US intercepted a "bomb plot" from the Japanese about Pearl Harbor, but no one tells Kimmel. He had no idea such an attack would be coming. For these reasons (as well as the internment) I consider FDR to be the worst president of all time.

I recommend Richard Maybury's book World War II for more on this.

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2021, 12:51:49 AM »

How many survivors of Pearl Harbor are left? Even someone who would have been in the womb at the time would be 79.
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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2021, 08:46:37 AM »

In an alternate history, the US forces are on high alert and ready to react when the USS Ward sinks the Japanese mini-sub followed by the Opana radar station detecting the incoming Japanese aircraft.  What if Pearl Harbor had been an American victory on the same scale as Midway with the Kido Butai losing all six fleet carriers?  Books like "The Surprise Attack That Failed!" would be around.  WW2 in the Pacific would have been a relatively short war most likely.

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2021, 10:43:37 AM »

How many survivors of Pearl Harbor are left? Even someone who would have been in the womb at the time would be 79.

I think there were at least 20 at the ceremony.  Talk about surviving!  Good on them.
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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2021, 01:35:16 PM »

How many survivors of Pearl Harbor are left? Even someone who would have been in the womb at the time would be 79.

I think there were at least 20 at the ceremony.  Talk about surviving!  Good on them.

Wow, that’s awesome. More than I expected, honestly.
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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2021, 01:53:33 PM »

There was a story in the Detroit News Free Press this weekend about a 101 year old veteran, a survivor from the Oklahoma, who was planning to attend the memorial.
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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2021, 04:41:01 PM »

My ex-wife's mother was a a 16-year old living in Honolulu at the time.....below is an excerpt from her diary.  (Unfortunately, she died long before I met my ex, so I never got to hear these stories first-hand.
---
Sunday, December 7, 1941

This morning at 7:55, Pearl Harbor was attacked. We are now at war with Japan.

We were all ready to go to church when Dad turned on the radio. There was an announcement telling all reserve officers to report to their stations. Thinking it was just a routine mobilization, he went down to the governor’s office. We, here at home, were not quite sure what it was. After listening to the radio for a while, we realized that it was really war. The announcers kept saying, "Keep off the streets. Get your car off the streets. Do not use the telephone. This is an order. Anyone refusing to comply will be dealt with by the Army." They played various types of music, then every once in a while an announcer would break in with some kind of announcement. They kept repeating, "Keep off the streets. Don’t use your telephones."

Our first reaction was, "It isn’t so. They can’t be actually attacking Pearl harbor." We have been so smug and self-assured and confident. We have lulled ourselves into the belief that we were invincible, that nothing could touch us, that we were perfectly safe. But here it is – there’s no getting away from it. We were asleep while the rest of the world was alert, and we’re paying for it.

I was simply terrified when I heard of it. My teeth chattered and my feet seemed frozen. It seemed so awful that I just couldn’t seem to stop shivering.

An extra came out about 10:00 A.M. It said in screaming headlines 6 inches high, "WAR! OAHU BOMBED BY JAPANESE PLANES!" Some bombs fell in town – one practically in the yard of Washington Place. Dad came home for lunch and told us what had happened. It seems that the planes had swooped down and bombed most of the planes at Hickam Field in their hangars before anyone could do anything. Four big ships were sunk in Pearl Harbor, and Wheeler Field was badly damaged. This was a terrible blow, because it cripples us in the air and whittles our navy down to the size of the Japanese navy. More planes are undoubtedly coming from the coast, but until they get here, we are practically helpless. Of course we have anti-aircraft guns, but they are not so effective as planes.

Tonight we are having a total blackout beginning at nightfall – in other words, we just aren’t going to turn on our lights at all. No doubt they are just waiting for dark to begin another raid.

Nelson’s friend Dale Cunningham called about 12. He said that Hickam Field (where he lived) was being evacuated. He sounded terribly excited and wrought up, and he said that he and his mother didn’t know where to go. We thought that the army would find a place for them. Then about 4 Captain Cunningham called to ask if we knew where they were; because he didn’t, and they were supposed to come here. We haven’t seen them at all, and it’s about 5 now.

The radio was dead for quite a while, from about 10 to 4, during the worst of the battle. The stations just weren’t sending – Army orders. However, there was an Army station sending, and we listened to that. They mentioned a landing party and five troop ships off Nanakuli. Gee! And we were going fishing today, in that very spot! We haven’t as yet heard any more about the landing party. But boy, and I glad that Dad didn’t have time to get a permit to go out!

Beyond a doubt Frank and Bob and Betty and Franny and Bruce and the Lightfoots know all about it. It must be terrible for them to read in an extra that war was raging around the ears of their relatives.

We’re all sure that these ships and planes that are attacking us are German-commanded. Their strategy was too good for Japanese commanders. In fact, it was perfect. They kept stalling and stalling in Washington; and Kurusu, the special Japanese envoy kept taking his time and making polite conciliatory statements, while the enemy got completely ready. Then, on a Sunday morning, without a sign of warning they appeared and pretty well crippled us. They got at the very base of actions, instead of picking off the outer limbs, such as Guam, Wake, Midway, etc. Manila was attacked, also, it seems. But it will take three years to replace those ships. It was all intended to draw the fleet from the Atlantic, so it couldn’t convoy ships to Britain.

The worst part of this war is the waiting. We just sit here, not knowing what is going on and not daring to go to find out.

Monday, December 8

We had a blackout last night. It was really rather exciting, sitting in the dark and listening to police calls, army broadcasting, etc. However, we couldn’t help being scared. All the news seemed so perfectly awful – it seemed that the Americans had been taken completely by surprise, and the place was practically ruined. The mosquitoes were dreadful; and how I hate going to bed in the dark!

This morning Frank [Burns, Mamo's nephew] went down to try to get us some food at Piggly-Wiggly. The army has rationed all the food; we can still buy it, but only regular customers can buy food (that is, the store will sell food only to regular customers), and the customers can buy no more than what he usually orders. Frank was away practically all morning, and Mother was terribly worried. We’re still pretty panicky, because the shock of yesterday hasn’t worn off yet. Anyway, he finally appeared. It seems that there was a perfectly terrific line down there, and he had to wait for hours. They let him buy only one pound of butter and one dozen eggs at a time. Of course it was to prevent people from buying the store out, then hoarding all the stuff and keeping it away from other people. He (Frank) said that there were practically no staples, such as flour, rice, bread, etc., left. Eventually he came home, about 1. He had been gone since 8.

Nelson was called to work by the Boy Scouts this afternoon. He got into his Scout uniform and Frank took him to Punahou. From there he went to City Hall, where he sat around all afternoon and finally mailed one letter.

Blackout again tonight. Foo! More mosquitoes!Mary Lou & Nelson, 1941

Tuesday, December 9

Last night Nelson’s friend Dale Cunningham appeared. It seems that he was staying with some friends of Mrs. Cunningham who lived up Nuuanu. They were too crowded, and yesterday Mrs. Cunningham phoned and asked if they could leave him with us. Anyhow, last night he walked up the front steps during the blackout. Nelson was thrilled. I think it will be a good thing for him to have some companionship.

All the markets were closed this morning – to remain closed all day. The military governor ordered that they be closed until a complete inventory of all food in the Territory was taken. I think it’s a good idea, because until convoyed food ships can get in here, we have to go awfully easy on our food. We mustn’t waste a scrap.

We spent all morning working at our vegetable garden. We dug up most of the front lawn’ and when (and if) Akamine comes on Saturday we can get him to finish the job. I planted a lot of potatoes, beans, tomatoes, marigolds, Chinese cabbage, and birdseed. It rather worries me about what to feed the birds. There is enough seed on hand to last perhaps three weeks or a month for the canaries and two weeks for the lovebirds, but after that I don’t know if I can get anything to feed them. The goldfish don’t bother me any; they don’t eat much, and anyhow, I have enough fish food to last for ages.

Pat Behrens came by while we were digging. I felt sort of queer, because there I was, a perfect mess, with dirt all over me and my hair in my eyes, while she looked cool and neat and not at all flustered. She was taking her little cairn terrier for a walk. War doesn't seem to have bothered the Behrens family – yesterday I saw Mrs. Behrens walking the hound around the block. Gee, I don’t know what they are going to do – they were all set to leave on the 19th because Pat’s dad got his orders to leave for Coronado. They’ll just have to stay here, that’s all. Anyhow, Pat said she volunteered to be a blood donor, down at Queen’s. They haven’t called her het, and she’s just waiting.

Nelson went down to Scout headquarters this afternoon with Dale. They have been just aching to do something ever since this business broke out.

Wednesday, December 10

Today mother, Matah and I went down to the market. The place was simply mobbed. We were lucky enough to get there rather early, so we could go right in. Some people coming a little later had to wait in line outside, because the clerks would allow only a certain number of people in at a time. We got all we wanted, except rice, sugar, flour, and bread. There was a great deal of canned food, but the staples had been cleaned right out. The perishables, especially milk, are not hard to get at all; in fact, there is a surplus of fresh milk.

There were so many people in the place that Matah almost fainted. She got weak and had to sit down and drink some ice water. Finally I helped her out to the car and took her place in line.

Mother bought yards and yards of blue denim at Ireton’s. She got it to lightproof some rooms, so that we wouldn’t have to sit in the dark night after night. This afternoon she and I fixed the study, her bedroom, and my bedroom. It’s really grand, because it shuts out light but lets in air. The one drawback is that during the day we can’t take off the denim shades without prying off all the tacks. Oh well, it’s worth it.

Frank volunteered for coast Guard duty and went down this afternoon to get his identification papers and such. He’s going out tonight with George Stepp and a C.G. crew on the Ahi. Apparently he is to get his breakfasts and dinners from the Coast Guard. Well, he got into the CG service sooner than he expected! Mother is rather worried about him; but she says that we all have to do our part. Besides, Frank and Bob would be doing the very same thing if they were here; and if each one of us said, "My life is too precious to risk," we would all be so soft that we would be beaten completely.

This afternoon from 3 to 3:15 we had a practice air-raid alarm and all the Coast Artillery guns fired a few shots for testing. It really didn’t affect us much, because we were in the house anyway; however, the radio announcers ordered everyone under cover. We just went about our business (inside the house, of course) and 15 minutes later the radio announced that the "air-raid" was over.

For quite a while there has been a searchlight beam that looked as if it came from Fort DeRussy. We don’t know what it’s all about, but we suppose it’s to guide planes in. Bombers have been arriving steadily since Sunday afternoon, and by now we ought to have a perfectly enormous force around here. Also, one bright spot in the sinking of the ships Sunday – a comparatively small number of men were killed. Most of the sailors were in town on shore leave. If those ships had been at sea, fully manned, and sunk away from land, the loss of life would have been simply horrible. It was bad enough, but it could have been worse.

The army has put a ban on the sale of food seeds. We have some on hand, but about all we have are bean seeds – hundreds of them. The seed stores must have licenses before they can sell seeds, and we are just waiting until the Honolulu Seed Co. gets its license.

Mother told Nelson and Dale that they were not to go on Scout duty, and may be they weren’t wild! But Captain Cunningham phoned today and said that he positively did not want Dale to go, and advised mother not to let Nelson go. He said that they were a little too young and impulsive. There are too many guards around with jittery nerves and itchy trigger fingers, and if the boys don’t jump exactly as and when told, they are apt to get shot. Of course Nelson was terribly disappointed, and I can’t say that I blame him; but there are plenty of older men who can handle the job, and the army doesn’t need the boys.

Thursday, December 11

Today I went quite a few places. To the Honolulu Seed Co., for one. They were selling birdseed in quantities of not more than five pounds at a time, so I got five pounds each of canary seed and lovebird seed. Then I hiked up to Piggly Wiggly and bought some more food – canned goods and bread and peanut butter. After that I went up to Sears and bought a sweatshirt for Frank. He was awfully cold last night and needs something to keep him warm tonight. The shirt was scarlet, and he hopes they won’t throw him overboard to cool him off. Anyhow, the color will keep him warm.

I saw Pat Behrens this morning. She said that Cuffy Wilson had enlisted in the army! Of all the loony things! Now he’s stuck for at least a year. Golly! Besides, he’s under age. Frank acted much more wisely, I think. At least, he’s a volunteer and won’t be so much under the thumb of officers and such. I guess Cuffy was just carried away by his enthusiasm. We can’t help feeling sympathetic and understanding his motives, even though I privately think it was a dumb thing to do.

Golly, I haven’t seen Cathy for a week.

Saturday, March 7

This diary has been sadly neglected for some time, the reason being that I have been both too busy and too tired to write in it.

School has started again. We were down at Central Union Church for a while – three weeks, to be exact. Of course it was cramped and not as nice as Punahou – but our poor school! The U.S. Engineers have taken it over, and what a mess! They have dug great holes all over the campus, and goodness knows what they’ve done to the inside of the buildings. They have guards all over the place now – the crummiest, seediest lot I have ever seen. It’s just sickening! In fact, we just don’t mention it to Dad. The subject makes him furious. Anyhow, we are now having school in the University Teachers’ College – hours from 8:30 (daylight saving) to 12:15. It’s really very nice, but I’d rather be back at Punahou.

We all wear slacks to school, even Dr. Browne and Miss Dodge. I have a new red pair that just about knocks your eye out. Quite a sight! Then, too, since gasoline has been rationed (10 gallons a month) we have had Nelson’s and my old bicycles fixed. I painted mine a lovely bright blue.

Of course my dear lovebirds would have to pick a time like this to start raising children! I don’t even know how long I’ll be having food for them. The feed stores seem to have it, but I don’t know at all about whether they’ll be getting any more.

This morning we had another air raid warning. That makes the second in a week! Altogether we have had four since Dec. 7. The army just have the jitters. Goodness knows we do, with those darn Japs taking Java just as they have taken everything else. We’re so afraid we’re next. And everybody – the President and Winston Churchill and practically every important military or civilian leader – seems to think it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Anyhow, to get back to the alarm, we all (Mother, the maid, the yardman, me) went tearing out and got in the bomb shelter. We had our gas masks with us, so we were ready for almost anything. Honestly, what a way to live! Running into a hole in the ground and shivering until you think the shooting’s over!

We still have blackouts every night – 7:30 (war time) to 7 A.M. We have the whole house blacked out, so that it isn’t so very uncomfortable or inconvenient, but it is hard not to be able to go anywhere. We do go for walks, though. Dad has just been appointed block warden, and tonight we went around to inspect Dad’s beat for blackout violations. We’re allowed to walk until 9, but must have cars off the street by 7:30.

Sunday, March 8

This morning we all went to communion – 7:15 mass. With daylight saving time it was really 6:15 – and it was cold! And did I hate to get up! Oh my! The weather has been simply frightful for quite a while–
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Scott5114

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2021, 05:56:56 PM »

That diary is such a fantastic first-hand account of the attack that you should really look into finding an archive, library, or museum to donate it to for preservation. As great as this forum is, I don't think a researcher would be likely to find it here, and it could be a very useful primary source for a historian studying the attack and how it affected the civilian life of the island.
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kendancy66

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2021, 07:31:11 PM »

How many survivors of Pearl Harbor are left? Even someone who would have been in the womb at the time would be 79.


I think there were at least 20 at the ceremony.  Talk about surviving!  Good on them.

My father was stationed at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack.  He was a Naval Officer who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1939.  He was lucky as his ship was out at sea, at the time of the attack.  He did witness the horror of the attack after returning though.  He passed on in 2012 at the age of 96.
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Bruce

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2021, 10:04:05 PM »

The newspaper mentioned in the diary:

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2021, 10:43:53 AM »

Reading the diary was interesting.  Where the lady wrote that the Germans had to have been the ones to plan the attack since it was so well done, it made me think of a line from the movie "Animal House": "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"...LOL!

Rick
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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2021, 01:14:00 AM »

It's amazing how many bad decisions and assumptions surround the Pearl Harbor attack.  Hindsight is 20/20 but there were many spectacular failures on the part of the United States to catch wind of this attack beforehand or at least be at a slightly higher state of alertness in the context of world events at the time.  There's a certain arrogance to it all of "Oh we've got nothing to worry about."

Then there's the tremendous miscalculation on the part of Imperial Japan that this would somehow knock the US out of the growing conflict in the Pacific.  I get the idea that they wanted to hit several places around the Pacific all at once so as to not give other powers like the US and UK time to respond and reposition after a less extensive first strike.  But they had to know they were over-extending already and would find themselves in a terribly undefendable situation fighting on multiple fronts.  Again, there's an arrogance in assuming they could handle it and assuming the adversary was weak.

Japan is a resource-poor country in terms of the things one needs to fight an industrial war.  That's why they were so keen on invading China and Southeast Asia.  But Hawaii adds nothing to that war effort and only brings in another powerful enemy.  Conflict between Japan and the United States was probably inevitable, but it was a huge mistake to get the drop on America before they achieved their objectives in mainland Asia.  Now they're pulled in too many directions and defeat became inevitable.

Pearl Harbor serious pissed off America.  It had dramatic effects on how America treated their opponent in the subsequent war.  We indiscriminately carpet bombed entire cities as part of "vengeance" for Pearl Harbor.  But I think any reasonable person can acknowledge we overdid it.  2400 dead Americans at Pearl and a few years later 100,000 Japanese die in a single bombing raid on Tokyo.  And that's before we nuked them.  Never forget Pearl, but also never forget what happened afterward.  Just because their war crimes were worse than our war crimes doesn't let us off the hook completely.  Learn from the whole experience, not just the pop on the nose that started the fight.
I would like to add a couple things.

Japan only invaded Pearl Harbor because their supply chain was being destroyed by America. America had ships in the Bungo Strait near Japan and they were funding the Flying Tigers (meant to destroy Japan in its war with China) well before Pearl Harbor. America was also issuing terms of Unconditional Surrender (after Pearl Harbor, but still) which basically meant that if Japan surrendered to those terms, there were no limits to what the Americans could do to them. If China today was funding Mexico with bombers flying around American airspace, had battleships in the Gulf of Mexico or even Puget Sound, and said that even if America surrendered, there would be no guarantee of even being allowed to live in a concentration camp, Americans would be very disturbed. I can only imagine how the Japanese felt. They were essentially a caged cat that only had two choices: stay in the cage and starve to death, or fight back. So they chose the less bad (for them), but nonetheless foolish, option of fighting back.

America was goading them on to fight, however. America sent submarines and heavy cruisers to the Philippines, cut off Japan's oil supply, and gave aid to all of Japan's enemies. In addition, the US Pacific fleet was moved from San Diego to Pearl Harbor (a harder to defend location) so that "Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war" (in the words of Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum back in early 1940). This was done because President FDR wanted to get into the war so that America could help Britain defeat Germany and rule the world. He knew that American opinion at the time was against going to war, so he found a way to change it by making the enemy look evil, and him look good.

The admiral in charge of the Pacific fleet, Admiral Richardson, complained that the fleet was moved to Hawaii because it would be more vulnerable to attack, resulting in him getting fired. Admiral Kimmel, the man who is generally blamed for Pearl Harbor, also complained, but to no avail. On October 9, 1941, the US intercepted a "bomb plot" from the Japanese about Pearl Harbor, but no one tells Kimmel. He had no idea such an attack would be coming. For these reasons (as well as the internment) I consider FDR to be the worst president of all time.

I recommend Richard Maybury's book World War II for more on this.

Seriously far fetched to think that FDR welcomed the attack on Pearl Harbor or moved the Pacific Fleet to Pearl in order to be bait.  Moving the fleet to Pearl put it closer to East Asia in case it was necessary to back up the embargoes with force.  Yes, FDR and a whole lot of other people were not at all pleased with Japan's war on China, Manchuria, etc.  Yes, a lot of great powers had empires back in the 1930s, but most of them were acquired slowly, as a result of commercial ties, not by conquest.  Embargoing their oil was a way to make that war more difficult for them without necessarily starting war between the US and Japan.  The League of Nations authorized the sanctions against Japan - and Japan resigned from the League.

There was a large anti-FDR smear campaign trying to blame him for everything from the Great Depression to WW II.  It's mostly the rich and industrialists who were unhappy about the New Deal.

You know how long secrets stay secret in Washington.  Days or weeks usually.  If not that soon, then at least they come out after the 40 year rule and the automatic declassification of records that old.  So how could something as big as that - treason by a U.S. president - have stayed secret for 80 years?
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frankenroad

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Re: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2021, 03:01:12 PM »

That diary is such a fantastic first-hand account of the attack that you should really look into finding an archive, library, or museum to donate it to for preservation. As great as this forum is, I don't think a researcher would be likely to find it here, and it could be a very useful primary source for a historian studying the attack and how it affected the civilian life of the island.

My ex-sister-in-law has provided it to a number of relevant organizations.
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Highways I've lived on M-43, M-185, US-127

 


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