Previous Knowledge of the Pearl Harbor Attack? Mythbusters Claim #2

“Interestingly enough, on Sunday morning all of the Aircraft Carriers were moved out of the Pearl Harbor into open water for “exercises.” Never before, had the Aircraft Carriers been out on a Sunday morning for exercises. The ships that were left in port were much smaller (and expendable). Other declassified memos state that…Pearl Harbor was the “back door to war in Europe.”

Claim 2 is the inference that the U.S. knew that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor, and this knowledge was the reason why the most valuable ships were not in port.

Circle one: this claim is TRUE – FALSE because this source:

says:  “After meeting with President Roosevelt on October 16, 1941, Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary: “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.” On November 25, the day before the ultimatum was sent to Japan’s ambassadors, Stimson wrote in his diary: “The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot….””

“How untrue that was! On October 9, 1941, the War Department decoded a Tokyo-to-Honolulu dispatch instructing the Consul General to divide Pearl Harbor into five specified areas and to report the exact locations of American ships therein. There is nothing unusual about spies watching ship movements — but reporting precise whereabouts of ships in dock has only one implication. Charles Willoughby, Douglas MacArthur’s chief of intelligence, later wrote that the “reports were on a grid system of the inner harbor with coordinate locations of American men of war … coordinate grid is the classical method for pinpoint target designation; our battleships had suddenly become targets.” This information was never sent to Kimmel or Short”


(15 points)


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