December 7, 1941, the Japanese struck a powerful blow at the US naval base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack aimed to suppress the enemy’s fleet and its dominance in the air. Partially this was achieved by the Japanese – 4 battleships were sunk, 4 more were damaged, the Americans lost more than three hundred aircraft, and more than two thousand military personnel were killed.
Those events immediately attracted interest, creating even in America a lot of conspiracy theories. It is said that the American authorities knew about the impending strike, but did nothing to get the occasion to enter the Second World War. Rumors appeared already during the war, Congress even conducted an investigation on this topic. On July 26, 1946, a report was published that refuted most of the rumors.
Nevertheless, 23 volumes of documents did not put an end to speculation. Already too few stories related to that attack were strange. Today, on the Internet, you can find many documents that were previously hidden in the archives. They allow finally to dispel most of the myths about Pearl Harbor. But the colorful film with the same name made many believe in the “Hollywood” version of events.
America hastily withdrew aircraft carriers before the attack to save them for the coming war. Roosevelt already knew then that such vessels would dominate the seas. Shortly before the events at the base in Pearl Harbor were two aircraft carriers, Enterprise and Lexington. But the command sent them to deliver fighters for the bases at Wake and Midway atolls. The ships went west, towards Japan. Between them was quite a long distance, and the accompaniment is only symbolic. December 7, 1941 Enterprise was 200 miles from the base, and Lexington – at 400 miles. And the nearest aircraft carrier was doing everything possible to return to Pearl Harbor as soon as possible. The estimated time of arrival was on Saturday evening, December 6th. But the aircraft carrier was delayed because of the storm. The next scheduled time was at 7 am, literally an hour before the attack. But even here the military proved too optimistic. At the time of the Japanese attack Enterprise was pretty close to having time to send planes to help. Some of them were even knocked down by friendly fire. So the story of the hasty withdrawal of aircraft carriers from the base is a myth. Enterprise just a little late, and so could be the largest prey of the Japanese. And the schedule of such movement of ships was published in August 1941, without changing since. And at that time still battleships were considered the main strike force of the fleet, it was no coincidence that the Japanese focused their attention on them.
In the morning of December 7, an urgent message about the attack was not sent to Pearl Harbor.
According to another version of this myth, a commercial telegraph was used to transmit the message, which led to a delay in the valuable message. The radio communication session between Washington and the base in Hawaii was prevented by atmospheric conditions. In this regard, the commercial telegraph was, although not the best option, but the only one. A direct message arrived at the base at 7:33 local time, but the military did not have time to react to it.
The US military considered itself safe, and the harbor unsuitable for torpedo attacks.
The investigation found the place of the chief of naval operations. He directly claims that no harbor can be considered safe from torpedo attacks. The base in Pearl Harbor was planned so that the fleet could leave it in the shortest possible time. The installation of an anti-torpedo network could lead to a slowdown of the ships’ exit from the harbor. That’s why such a protective device was removed at that time.
Half an hour before the attack, the Japanese ambassador gave the US Secretary of State a message, which was essentially a declaration of war.
Yamamoto planned to attack Pearl Harbor an hour after Nomura’s ambassador notified Secretary of State Cordell Hall about breaking diplomatic relations between the countries. The diplomat was instructed to deliver a note at 13 o’clock on December 7 at Washington time.However, the message was more than five thousand words in length. The decoding of all fourteen parts took longer than expected. When the ambassador conveyed the message to the Secretary of State, the clock was 14:20. The Americans already knew about the attack that happened 35 minutes ago. So Japan began the war without formal declaration.
The captain of the patrol against submarines at the entrance to Pearl Harbor, an hour before the attack began, reported the destruction of the enemy submarine.
Captain Outerbridge reported on the submarine attacking base, and was able to sink it with guns and depth charges. At the center at 7:12 the encoded message 1810Z arrived. However, it took time to decode. When it became clear what the captain wanted to say, it was already late – bombs were falling everywhere.
The Opana Point radar reported an attack by Japan an hour before the aircraft arrived, but Admiral Kimmel decided not to do anything.
Behind the radar on the Opana Point was observed by ordinary Eliot and Lockard. They noticed a strong surge of activity on the instruments and turned to the Information Center, which was not yet fully operational at that time. The signal was received by the ordinary McDonald, who handed it to the only officer on duty. Lieutenant Kermit Tyler, who is studying at the Center, decided that the points on the radar are B-17 bombers flying from the mainland. He told the operators: “Forget about it.” The report did not go above, and Admiral Kimmel simply did not know anything. So the blame lies on ordinary employees and, in part, on those who conducted training.
Michael Bay movie “Pearl Harbor” in details restored the incident.
The three-hour epic of 2001 became very spectacular, forcing the viewer to believe that this was the way it was. However, a well-read historian will find many errors in the script. Director Michael Bay traditionally focused on special effects, not on observing the truth. So, Japanese aircraft had a completely different coloration – not dark green, but light gray. Admiral Kimmel did not play golf in the morning before the attack. Air fights at such a low altitude and even with maneuvers between obstacles is a sure way of suicide. The ships of Nevada, Tennessee and Pennsylvania were not completely sunk, they were repaired and continued to be used. Effectively shows the scene of the death of Arizona – a huge bomb pierces the partitions and gets stuck in the arsenal for a few seconds. In fact, this is completely illiterate fiction – the bomb exploded immediately at the moment of touching the deck. During the attack of a nurse, not one of them perished. And there are a lot of such blunders in the film.
Roosevelt knew about the impending attack.
It’s easy to believe in the duplicity of politicians. Presidents often plunge their peoples into wars, guided by selfish financial interests. But in this case, Roosevelt, realizing the high probability of war with Japan, knew nothing about the impending attack. In addition, the presidential administration, following the generally accepted isolationist policy, hid from it any information about military preparations.
The film “Torah! Torah! Torah! “Akira Kurosawa was not sent for illness.
This joint Japanese-American tape was released in 1970 and even received an Oscar for special effects. The film is considered the best film-display of events in Pearl Harbor. The Japanese part of the tape was filmed by Akira Kurosawa. But two years of his work resulted only in exceeding the budget, and not in shooting a suitable material. Then Kurosawa was simply fired. For the preservation of the director’s face was invented the story of his serious illness. The final version of the film included just a minute from the filmed Kurosawa.
Pearl Harbor was to become the pledge of victory for the Japanese in that war.
Some historians consider the Japanese to be arrogant. Allegedly they believed that one attack on the US base could win the war. But in the same movie “Torah! Torah! Torah! “It is clear that the Japanese military leaders had very much doubted that, even by a successful attack, one could win a whole war and defeat a great country.
The main purpose of the attack was warships.
According to the original plans of the Japanese, first of all American planes were to be destroyed. Fortunately for the United States, aviation was either sent to other bases or patrolled at that time.
Because of Pearl Harbor, America entered the Second World War.
President Roosevelt did not enter the World War until Germany and Italy themselves declared a war with the United States on December 11, 1941. Books on history ignore this fact, arguing that it was Pearl Harbor who ended the policy of isolationism.
American citizens of Japanese origin became the only members of the internment camps.
The US took only a couple of days to arrest all Japanese living in the country and send them to special camps. But gradually they were added to 600 thousand Italians and 11 thousand Germans. The only difference with the fascists was that the Americans did not exterminate their ethnic prisoners deliberately.
December 7, 1941 was attacked only by Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese attacked not only the US base that day. Guam, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Wake Island and Midway were attacked. It’s just that the events were not as bright as in Pearl Harbor, and it’s customary not to talk about them.
USS Arizona Ship received 21 holes.
Today in the official memorial created on the basis of this vessel, there are 21 holes. However, they are made solely for the sake of facilitating the weight of the structure. Today, through them, 21 cannon salute fire.
After the events in Pearl Harbor USS Arizona was decommissioned.
In 1950, the vessel was re-commissioned. It raised the American flag, but Arizona’s functions were purely motivational. A memorial was built over the sunken ship, reminiscent of the victims of the attack.
The Japanese carried out two waves of blows, as planned.
And although in fact the attackers beat the base twice, a third wave was planned. The first was to suppress enemy aircraft at airfields, the second – battleships and ships, and the third wave, according to the intentions of the Japanese, was to destroy fuel supplies. After the successful first two waves, it was decided not to complete the final phase, especially since the Americans began to pull their forces to Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese attacked first.
This is a simple and common myth. In fact, as early as 6:37 AM USS Aaron Ward attacked and sank a Japanese mini submarine during his routine patrol.
The Japanese did not have bombs capable of penetrating the armor of heavy ships.
Many historians talk about how, at the last moment, the Japanese decided to attach stabilizers to conventional armor-piercing shells in order to fulfill the functions of bombs. And the vertical hit of such a projectile penetrated any armor. But this approach itself seems strange – ammunition was refined under the operation, although usually the military builds on what they have available. Having studied the design of the Japanese bomb sample 99 number 80 model 5, it becomes clear that it was developed as far back as 1939. The ballistic and armor-piercing tips were dismantled at the projectile, and the total number of changes was from a dozen. So there was a completely new ammunition, the initial artillery shell was only a blank with similar dimensions.
All ten Japanese sailors who flew five ultra-small submarines died during the attack.
A few miles from the island of Oahu, Japanese submarines fired five dwarf submarines. These tiny vessels had battery power, in each there were two people. They were ordered to sow panic in the harbor during the attack. During the attack four of these submarines were sunk, another one ran aground, losing control. When trying to get out, Inegaki’s sergeant-general took to the sea, but the sailor Sakamaki was captured by the Americans, becoming the first Japanese in this capacity.
Japanese pilots-kamikaze participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
None of the participants in those events can be called suicide bombers. In fact, the chances of a return were not only the crews of mini submarines. A kamikaze in the Japanese army appeared much later.
This was the only attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese made a second raid on the base of the Americans in Pearl Harbor. It happened on March 4, 1942. Then a couple of seaplanes dropped a few bombs. But then there was bad weather and none of the goals were amazed.
The US military responded quickly and harshly to the Japanese.
This myth is pretty beautiful and cinematic to be true. A few months after those events, the Americans in the Pacific theater were defeated after the defeat. Another December 8 in the United States rumors that the fleet chased the Japanese to avenge them. But on that day the imperial army invaded the Philippines. Commander of the garrison of the Americans, General Douglas MacArthur, sent President Roosevelt a telegram, begging to send the fleet to the rescue. Especially useful would be the submarines, which could hunt for transports with infantry. But the government ignored requests, the Philippines was lost by June 1942. The first significant offensive of the American army was in February 1942, when the Pacific Fleet attacked the islands of Gilbert and the Marshall Islands.