Tuesday , January 21 2020
Home / Adam Smith Institute / A day that will live in infamy

A day that will live in infamy

Summary:
One day after the Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour on December 7th, 1941, President Roosevelt made a speech to Congress describing it as “a date which will live in infamy.” History has usually shortened and corrected “a date which” to “a day that,” and often abbreviated it simply to “Day of Infamy.”The Japanese attack was made without a declaration of war against a country at peace that had hitherto refrained from entering the Second World War, already raging in Europe and elsewhere. Japanese diplomats in Washington DC were pretending to talk peace even as its carrier fleet sailed towards its target in the Hawaiian Islands.The unprovoked nature of the peacetime attack, compounded by the duplicity of the Japanese, outraged American opinion. Congress declared war

Topics:
Madsen Pirie considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

SchiffGold writes The Dawn of the Dead on Wall Street

Tim Worstall writes We’d call this from Joe Stiglitz propaganda, not economics

Tyler Durden writes “Eat The Rich”: Davos Beefs Up Security As Protesters Gather

Tyler Durden writes Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who’s Really In Charge Of The US Military?

One day after the Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour on December 7th, 1941, President Roosevelt made a speech to Congress describing it as “a date which will live in infamy.” History has usually shortened and corrected “a date which” to “a day that,” and often abbreviated it simply to “Day of Infamy.”

The Japanese attack was made without a declaration of war against a country at peace that had hitherto refrained from entering the Second World War, already raging in Europe and elsewhere. Japanese diplomats in Washington DC were pretending to talk peace even as its carrier fleet sailed towards its target in the Hawaiian Islands.

The unprovoked nature of the peacetime attack, compounded by the duplicity of the Japanese, outraged American opinion. Congress declared war immediately after the President’s speech, and Americans rushed to enlist in the armed forces. Roosevelt had long been trying to edge US public opinion towards what he saw as an inevitable war with Nazi Germany. He had been unsuccessful, but now Hitler solved the problem by declaring war on the United States four days after the Japanese attack. His action enabled Roosevelt to make Europe the main theatre of US action, even though it had been attacked in the Pacific by Japan.

The Japanese people had been brainwashed by a ruthless and racist ideology that regarded other races as lower forms of humanity, just as their Nazi counterparts in Germany had idealized the ‘superior’ Aryan race. Japan thought it could win a short war against the US by a preemptive strike against its ability to hit back. They needed overseas possessions to provide raw materials and slave labour for their imperial ambitions.

While the Japanese attack sank or severely damaged US battleships, cruisers and destroyers, the US aircraft carriers had left port days earlier and were not hit. This was a serious blow because naval warfare was on the cusp of a change from direct ship-to-ship engagements to attacks from long range by carrier aircraft. The Japanese attack therefore failed to establish their command of the Pacific waters.

When the US hit Tokyo with B25 Mitchell bombers flown from the USS Hornet, Japan sought to establish a protective shield by taking Midway Island. US Navy codebreakers uncovered the plan and enabled the Japanese task force to be attacked by US carriers lying in wait. Four of the carriers that had carried out the Pearl Harbour attack were destroyed, and hundreds of their most skilled and experienced pilots were killed. This took place only 6 months after their Pearl Harbour attack.

A fatal weakness of the Japanese was their neglect of defence. It was part of their ideology that they would attack. Their Zero fighter was a superb machine, fast and agile, but it lacked any protective armour or fuel tank baffles, and a single hit could turn it into a fireball. Their carriers, unlike the US ones, lacked effective fire control systems. Their fuel hoses did not shut down during a battle, and torpedoes and bombs were scattered across the decks instead of safely stowed. The result was that when a bomb struck, the Japanese carriers became exploding and raging infernos.

The lessons of Pearl Harbour lasted throughout the Cold War, in that the West was determined that no surprise attack should destroy its ability to retaliate. Aircraft sat fueled up on runways, with some already airborne. Ballistic missile submarines patrolled the oceans, with reconnaissance planes and later satellites watching for any signs of a surprise attack. It was fraught with danger, but it kept the peace. That December day in 1941 had taught vigilance, and the lesson lasted.

Media enquiries: 07584 778207 (Call only, 24 hour)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *