Five myths about Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Pathfinder Jack, Dec 3, 2011.

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    President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.” And that day, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, has lived in infamy for 70 years. Yet even as the memory of the attack has lasted, so have the misperceptions surrounding it. On this anniversary, here are a few myths worth dispelling.

    1. The U.S. government had no knowledge of a potential Japanese attack before Dec.


    Article posted automatically from, the UK's first historical military online magazine.

    Comments welcome!
  2. BrunoNoMedals

    BrunoNoMedals LE Reviewer

    Is it true that it was quite a cold day, by Hawaii standards?
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  3. Is it also true that the Local srfers tried to ride some of those Shock Waves dude
  4. A bit of useless knowledge:

    The only ship to survive Pearl Harbour was the USS Phoenix. The yanks later sold the USS Phoenix to Argentina. The Argies then renamed her ARA General Belgrano.....which we sunk during the Falklands Islands conflicts.

    The Belgrano was, and still is, the only ship to be sunk in anger by a nuclear submarine.
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  5. Where did these myths come from?

    No.2? Every US Newspaper on Dec 8th headlined the attacks in Hawaii , Phillipines, Landings in Malaya, Hong Kong, Wake, Guam etc.

    No. 5? is the most ludicris yet Of course we were going to enter the war after we were attacked who the hell would need convincing? 4 days Later Germany declared War on the USA was their a choice after that point?

    Day of Infamy speech - YouTube
  6. Now that is fasinating!
  7. It's also not true. Many ships survived the Pearl Harbor attacks.

    The Following US Navy SHips were present during the Japanese Attack and were NOT sunk, or destroyed

    Heavy Cruisers
    USS New Orleans
    USS San Francisco

    Lt Cruisers
    USS Helena
    USS Honolulu
    USS Raliegh
    USS St Louis
    USS Detriot
    USS Phoenix

    USS Allen
    USS Schley
    USS Ward
    USS Dewey
    USS farragutt
    USS Hull
    USS McDonough
    USS Worden
    USS Dale
    USS Monaghan
    USS Aylwin
    USS Selfridge
    USS Phelps
    USS Cummings
    USS Reid
    USS Case
    USS Conyngham
    USS Tucker
    USS Bagely
    USS Blue
    USS Mugford
    USS Ralph Talbot
    USS Henly
    USS Patterson
    USS Jarvis


    Well you get the drift there are at least 50 other vessels not named in my post which also survived.

    Ships Present at Pearl Harbor, 0800 7 December 1941
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  8. Sorry I should of made that clearer - the fact that the Phoenix went on to be the General Belgrano.
  9. I actually meant "not hit" as opposed to sunk/not repaired. But alas that appears to be incorrect anyway. I learnt that useless fact from QI......I shall be writing Stephen Fry a stern email.

    The renaming of the USS Phoenix to Belgrano etc is true however.
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  10. If the Japs had pressed home attacks on the fuel tank farms they could have done more damage to the US Navy than sinking every Battleship present and strafing Schoefield barracks. the Fuel was never touched.
  11. Infamy infamy etc....
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  12. Rhymes with 'binfantry binfantry'
  13. It's entirely true that isolationism was an extremely popular position, it was the traditional default in US politics and back then there was a strong pacifist strain amongst the Godly.

    FDR had been trying to undermine this since the war began and had been following a policy of offshore balancing by supply the Brits and USSR. Pearl harbor and Hitlers stupid declaration of war on the US were something of a gift to him.

    The conscript army of the Greatest Generation was rather confused by the US entry into the European theatre on the same side as the USSR and not much better liked British Empire. The large minorities of Irish, German and Italian extraction in particular suffered from divided loyalties and a few went to fight for the axis powers. In general they loathed europe and especially the French and did not see why they should be dying in a squabble between countries their families had abandoned. The great evil of the Holocaust was needed to make sense of it but that was only public knowledge after the wars end. This is evident in their contemporary correspondence if not memory and this si entirely understandable for europeans this was a literally existential struggle while America was safe between two shining seas.

    It's very possible to imagine a different leader leaving the USSR and Nazis to slug it out. The British establishment was rather tempted. It might even have been wiser for the US given the close run game of suicidal MAD that followed.

    Traumatic wars are often re-imagined. The Irish either saw WWI as a great patriotic sacrifice to preserve Protestant identity (fairly accurate though it changed that identity profoundly) or an idiotic distraction from the Catholic martyrs liberation struggle, a view that is being reevaluated just lately. The Brits turned WWI from a great patriotic war against German militarism to a story of mud and men who die as cattle, walking slowly towards the machine guns. WWII became a struggle of plucky little Britain against the German Goliath when it was really a clash of empires of which the British was still one of the strongest.

    Americans romanticized their internecine Revolutionary War and later turned their squalid, avoidable Civil War into a tale of sacrifice for heroic ideals, the chivalry of Dixie protecting states rights or the freeing of the slaves, both are distortions of what was an horrific event. They did much the same with WWII which was grubby and confusing at the time rather than the black and white struggle it is remembered as.
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  14. Were ALL the US Aircraft Carriers fortuitously out of the Harbour at the time?

    The "state" class battle ships were largely made "redundant" and carriers were now the crucial important ships of the new type of naval warfare.
  15. Have you asked the site grown-ups if you can post your links to your subscription-only magazine?

    Your initial post is not to generate discussion but simply to punt your wares.
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