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The American President, Franklin D Roosevelt spent the first few years of his presidency trying to bring the United States out of the great depression. He, however, did not ignore the country’s foreign policy interests, as he is responsible for crafting the new deal policy. It is a reason that dug the country from their economic position to stability. The president always kept an eye out on the events that happened in the international scene particularly those in Europe and Asia, as they were the major stakeholders in global events at the time. This was especially during the world war period when Germany, Italy, and Japan started to become quite chummy so to speak.
The war with the United States came in an unexpected way at least from the public point of view. The Japanese held a surprise attack for the Americans at Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii. The United States was a super power at the time however a new one at that. It is said that it started in the First World War when America displayed its military might and since then has inevitably been pulled into many of the globe’s conflict (Tuchman 247). It is probable it will not withdraw from the scene. Therefore, the attack could only be seen as eventual however much of a ‘surprise attack’.
At the time, his sympathies clearly lay with the other team, which is Britain and France. However, he was kept back by the bureaucratic isolationist policies and neutrality acts that congress had set up as part of the legislation from the previous wars the country was involved. However, when the war broke he could not change legislation so instead he urged that he could not make everyone have a neutral stand, but if they were to take a position, it would be wise for the nation to support the allied forces.
By the fall of 1941, Germany and the United States were at war, but had not made it official. America could enter unless necessary. Thus, it had to provoke an attack within its borders (Barkdoll 2). The Japanese entered the Indochina border by the summer of 1941 in order to secure industrial supplies to retain a military advantage. The US responded by freezing Japanese assets in the country. This infuriated the Japanese machinery of leadership and further goaded them into a necessary offensive against America. Similarly, Roosevelt and his advisers girded for war.
It was, thus, official that the country was in a state of war, but there are questions whether someone or some people pushed the country on to the slippery slope of conflict. Some factions blame it on the British. During that time, the British were having a hard time fighting the Germans and were in a desperate need for reinforcements seeing as France had already fallen to the enemy. It was just a matter of time, before the German’s marched through London. Therefore, some suggested that British intelligence had prior knowledge on the Pearl Harbor attacks.
Roosevelt was compelled to use some unorthodox methods which he would term as the best course of action for America. Roosevelt could be a dictator hiding behind the propaganda of war as he also created a system that would rely on the central figures in government for help as stated by Tugwell (Billias and Grob 279). The US would be infuriated by the offensive and decide on an immediate offensive as fast as possible. This would strengthen the British position and take the weight off. Therefore, in the best interests of the British, Churchill decided to withhold critical information on the attacks. On the other hand, this may be an attempt to paint the English as a scapegoat to what may actually be the government’s fault.
Absolving Britain from Blame
There is a new declassified document stating the British did not have advance warning on the Pearl Harbor attacks. It casts a lot of doubt on whether Churchill withheld critical information from Roosevelt about the pending attacks on American soil. The blame should be directed elsewhere if, in fact, it exists in the first place. The overall suggestion was that the United States and the British forces knew that it was impossible to keep track of every Japanese vessel and its plans. There was enough current information and previous analysis to surmise there would be a raid on American soil. The investigation carried out on the events leading to the strike was thorough. However, doubt was only partly dispelled (White 76). The government would try to deny but still there are questions begging answers.
There are personal accounts from some of the military officers during the time that place the US government in a position to be directly responsible for the Japanese attacks on American soil. One such an account from an intelligence officer at the time of world war two places the American government as the culprits. He starts by introducing himself as an officer working directly under Clifford Andrew former assistant chief of Staff, military intelligence. He states that he was under direct orders from the president of the United States.
In this capacity, he and his colleagues were under orders not to reveal vital information regarding the whereabouts of the Japanese fleet to their commanders. In other words, they were to distort information from the inside and sabotage the surveillance efforts in order for the attack on the US to come as a surprise from the American angle. He goes on to say that, it was 24 hours before the attack before he got the message. It was top secret, and a radio operator handed it to him for decoding. The gist of the message suggested that the Japanese would attack at an appointed time.
The order was not to assign any retaliatory forces to combat the attacks because there was a need for full sympathy of the American people to fuel the mood of war. This as stated by others has been the methodology for FDR’s leadership which is mass psychology (Sanford 189). Recruitments would subsequently go through the roof in the spirit of getting even with the Japanese and the axis powers. This suggests the direct involvement of the US government including the military. The intelligence officer was acting under the orders of the US president. That means entry to the war was orchestrated all the way from sabotaging the attempts at surveillance to giving American’s false information on the reasons for war, not to mention sacrificing the country’s citizens like live bait.
If the evidence is carefully examined, many relations show the US government was at the least guilty of negligence if not fully fledged involvement in the cover up. The government had already broken the Japanese codes, even the diplomatic ones. By December 6, it was probable the Japanese would go to war with America. Depending on past information on how the Japanese conducted their military campaigns, there would be a surprise raid.
The Americans may state in their defense they knew that an attack was coming they did not know where it would be on American soil or on American interests abroad. The thing is that most of the battleships left in Pearl Harbor were quite outdated. The majority of the carriers essential for war were in the sea carrying out maneuvers. Therefore, if the Americans were unawares, why did the attack only cost them lives and vessels that were of no consequence? Think about it, there were no casualties or damages that would cripple the American force.
This was just coincidence or was it carefully planned to the last detail. Even Churchill, then prime minister of Britain thought that it would be inconceivable for the Americans to have had no knowledge of the impending attacks by the Japanese. He sent messages to Churchill saying that he would die before seeing the British go down to the Nazis. In this way, encouraged him stating it was just a matter of time, before he had the capacity to persuade Americans send their boys into battle. In fact, he stayed true to his word even up to his death.
He was still writing war letters to Churchill on strategy literally hours before he was going to die. On the other hand, Churchill did not know of the grievous condition Roosevelt. This made Churchill feel quite bad for troubling him with such matters when he was in such a bad shape. One of the regrets that Churchill had was that he could not attend the funeral because he ending to war matters.
However, he suggests that the American president may have prevented the advance warnings from the eventual attack, resulting in an outraged America that wants vengeance. It is the rare privilege of the great democracies of the world especially America to be embroiled in controversy (Tolischus 207). This extends to everything in their daily affairs including the way they handle war. A recent close-set example is Vietnam and Afghanistan just to mention a few. Roosevelt was just fulfilling the nation’s reputation.
He and the advisors had come to the conclusion that if they stood by the sidelines of the European conflict for much longer, it would be too late even if the United States decided to enter of on its own volition. By that time, the German force would be strong and too powerful to handle. If the Americans were to tackle it by themselves, the rest would have already been conquered. Churchill was of the opinion that if they really did allow the attack to happen then they did so in the clear knowledge that they were acting in the best interests of the American people and the rest of the allied forces.
In The Best Interests on America
Of course, the government would never admit to such treachery even in the most declassified documents, centuries in the future. They will deny the allegations to the very end (The Washington Post and Times Herald 9). However, no one can prove that they were right or wrong given the circumstances and if the same people were given a chance, they probably would have repeated their actions. The future may have been quite different if the Americans did not get involved. The British department of nuclear research was quite advanced and in the stage of nearing testing. Therefore, had the Germans invaded the British, capital and seized control of the country, they would have their hands on the British nuclear research.
This would have meant a nuclear war between the Axis powers and the United States, which would have been quite disastrous for all the sides involved. The reason being congress was strongly against the idea of join the war in Europe preferring to stay neutral. However, this attack would give them no choice, but to react. In this way, he did a few things to secure the offensive.
This included denying intelligence to Hawaii, making them quite vulnerable to attack. On the 27 of November that year, he led the commanders into thinking there were negotiations going on to prevent them from thinking the war was still imminent. Other sources state that the president did more than just with hold intelligence on an impending attack. These sources say that he provoked the attack and covered up the failure to warn the Hawaiian commanders. It is said he needed the attack to sucker Hitler to enter war with the Americans.
The president had false information sent to Hawaii in order to make them think the Japanese fleet was not in the vicinity at the time. This is not the first time; intelligence blunders caused severe damage to the country in the form of un-prevented attacks against the civilian population, case in point, and the twin tower attacks in 9/11. As usual there was an investigation conducted into the matter, of which Roosevelt appointed the overseers to control the situation and to appear concerned. The senate blazed into the affair with a lot of fury because they were in a situation they did not want to be in and the republicans decided to have a field day with the Roosevelt’s democratic side citing incompetence (Trussel 1).
There was technology and software to detect such things. However, for some reason the two blunders happened because of the same reasons. The systems had detected a raft of indications that an attack was imminent within weeks before both of the occurrences. Yet for some reason the intelligence apparatus had not been able to discern where it would be which made the warnings all, but useless in the first place. The system could not get to the next level, which would have made tactical attack possible to intercept the strikes.
The only situations where this would have been possible would if they were cover-ups where the government was fully involved in the attack itself. Thus, both 9/11 Pearl Harbor attacks were cover ups is a possible theory, which is possible because there are incoming theories that the government was not so innocent in the recent attacks. When comparing the two instances the opposition was provoked into an offensive with the United States. In 9/11, the Al Qaeda had suffered a number of attacks in the form of strategic attacks on foreign soil by American Special Forces.
The attack jolted the American people to the realization there is a conflict with the Islamic terrorists. Therefore, in the previous cases, the Axis and more specifically, Japanese powers were provoked to an offensive (Roche 1). They were provoked into attacking Pearl Harbor. At the time, they were quite vulnerable in an economic capacity. It was more vulnerable even more than most other industrial powers of the time because of its over-reliance on oil imports and industrial products from foreign markets. Therefore, one could say that it had great reliance on the United States.
Goading Japan into Warfare
Therefore, it was quite a surprise and detriment when the United States cancelled the trade agreement with Japan, which had been in place since 1911. There were more serious trade embargoes imposed in the early 1940s, when the United States stopped the export of petroleum and petroleum products to the Japanese empire. These included other essential products such as lubricants, iron, and steel crap. The economic warfare reached the climax when the United States froze all of the Japanese assets currently in America at the time. This ended all of the subsequent trade between the two. All that was necessary at this point was the proverbial match to light the oil fire.
Both side needed to make a final step and the pacific would be set on fire. The government set a memo for the preparation of a possible offensive with the Japanese and to further antagonize them to take the bait. The memo suggested the giving of all possible aid to Japanese enemy, China. They also sent two divisions of submarine regiments to the orient and kept the main strength of the American fleet in the pacific, but in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
The next step was to embargo all trade with the Japanese and this would be in collaboration with the embargo by the British Empire. The influence of the united states was also to extend to the Dutch in the form of insisting they refuse to grant all of the Japanese demand for undue economic concessions, and these was especially true of petroleum. Through these efforts, the Japanese will have no choice, but to declare war and even better commit an offensive on the United States. The American people will be moved to react, and congress will have no choice but to sign the war act.
We see that the American president did a few things to ensure American went to war with the axis powers. The calculated actions led the country to conflict. This included manipulating the public into being pro war in their choices. Some of these actions included introducing a massive arms build-up that originally went to the supply of Britain. The country originally made a fortune selling arms to help the allied forces. Therefore, war was economically profitable. One would think that the Japanese did not have a choice by the way the U.S. goaded them to act.
When the combined effort of America, Britain, and the Netherlands froze Japanese assets, Japan lost 75 percent of its trade and specifically 90 percent of the oil supply. For a country already engaged in war, it had little option but to engage the aggressor that so happened to be the United States. However, it so happened that victims were portioned as bait such that they never saw the attack coming. Some would assess the situation terming it as a necessary loss for the greater good.