Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures FDR book cover

Did He or Did He Not? 

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States pursued an aggressive policy of expansionism, extending its political and economic influence around the globe from Africa to Asia to Latin America and the Islands of the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Based on the influence of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, a lecturer in naval history and the president of the United States Naval War College, who in 1890, published “The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783”, a revolutionary analysis of the importance of naval power as a factor in the rise of the Empire, all of the American presidents from Theodore Roosevelt thru President Franklin D. Roosevelt followed his lead in creating American Imperialism, which is no different than racism. Notice all of the lands taken are non-white.

As ships crossed the vast ocean to trade in Asia, islands in the Pacific became important stops for coal, provisions and repairs. In the South Pacific, the American navy negotiated with awestruck natives for the rights to build bases on the islands of Midway and Samoa. The Hawaiian Islands, which lie closest to the American mainland, had long been an important stop for the Pacific fleet. Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, offered one of the most attractive natural bases in the Pacific.

In 1939 FDR in a successful bid for his fourth term, promised to keep the American people out of the war in Europe. He then followed a deliberate course of bringing America into the war by transferring ships and planes to Great Britain, creating the Lend-lease plan and repealing the Neutrality Act.  Congress would not give FDR an act of war on Germany.  The only way into that war had to be “another country.”  That country was to be Japan. Japan had committed atrocities in Asia and therefore made a great target.

The decision to relocate the Hawai’i local Japanese was made in 1936 by Lt. Col. George S. Patton, as a part of his Orange Plan, and President Franklin Roosevelt. The plan was to move all of the Islands’ Japanese to the “Big Island” of Hawai’i, where they could be watched.   But Hawai’i’s Asian population was much too large for this sort of an effort.  Later plans called for relocation to Molokai, a smaller island with fewer natural resources than Oahu.

In the 1930’s during the worst world-wide depression the American Army and Navy had invested more than several billion dollars on Oahu, secured it with 40,000 soldiers and sailors; making it the strongest defended sea-fortress in the world. From 1940-1941 the Federal Government invested $12 Billion ($12,000,000,000 in 1941 had the same buying power as $198,339,574,468 in 2014) in Hawaii military facilities.

The McCollum Memo:  The Smoking Gun of Pearl Harbor: 

On Oct. 7, 1940, Lt. Commander Arthur McCollum of the Office of Naval Intelligence submitted a memo to Navy Captains Walter Anderson and Dudley Knox. Captains Anderson and Knox were two of President Roosevelt’s most trusted military advisors.

The memo, detailed an eight step plan to provoke Japan into attacking the United States. President Roosevelt, in 1941, implemented all eight of the recommendations contained in the McCollum memo. Following the eighth provocation, Japan attacked.

Summer of 1941 the U.S. placed an embargo around Japan. 

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures Hilo Tribune Newspaper

Secretary of War, Henry Stimson recorded in his diary, October, 1941 “we face the delicate question of diplomatic fencing. Japan must make the first bad, overt move.” Again in December he writes “how can we put them into the position of firing the first strike without too much danger to ourselves?” 

FDR is on record as having told Congress on the 4th of December 1941 “do not take a recess for more than three days.” 

In the meantime the US Flying Tigers were conducting a secret air war against Japan over China against American & International law.

The New York Times in its 12/8/41 PH report on page 13 under the headline “Attack Was Expected” stated the U.S. had known that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked the week before.

In 1942 Ambassador Joseph Kennedy writes in his memoirs “that he had been exploited by the President in the course of Roosevelt’s secret efforts to bring the United States to war.” He went on to tell Herbert Hoover “that the memories would put an entirely different color on the process of how America got into the war and would prove the betrayal of the American people by Franklin D. Roosevelt”

The manuscript documents three years of conversations beginning in 1938 at Hyde Park, (FDR’s home) between the President and the Ambassador continuing until American Intervention. As history has recorded the President was a master at ambiguous diplomacy!

The claim that Japan attacked the United States without provocation was typical rhetoric. It worked because the public did not know that the administration had expected Japan to respond with war to anti-Japanese measures it had taken in July 1941.  There was no 24-hour cable news.  The public had to rely on what the Roosevelt Administration told them.

The Attack

Though the attack on Pearl Harbor was the most crippling and caused the most American losses, Japanese forces also struck the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Thailand and Midway that day. In the Philippines, the capital fell to the Japanese in January 1942 and U.S. forces surrendered in May. In the Pacific, Wake Island was shelled by Japanese aircraft and ships until Dec. 11, when the Japanese attempted the first of two invasions before the island finally fell. Guam was bombed and later invaded on Dec. 10. Malaya (now Malaysia) was invaded and fell early the following year. The invasion of Thailand lasted only a few hours before that country surrendered in December 1941. Other than Hawaii, Midway was the only target on Dec. 7 not to fall under Japanese control.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures Pearl Harbor under attack

Pearl Harbor under attack

7 December – 7:55 A.M. Hawaii time AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT DRILL.

Dec. 7, 150 ships of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet were in Port. The mobile radar units operated every day except Sunday.

Lots of men and Officers had gone ashore the night before and were still asleep below when the strange sounds echoing from above put a very final end to yesterday. The world was forever altered.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures radioset


Sunday morning services had just concluded . . . the band was playing . . . the bugler was in place . . . the colors were about to be run up and . . . 7:55 a.m. The battleship, West Virginia, with 1,587 men aboard was moored alongside the Tennessee. The ill-fated Arizona was forward, the Missouri, the Utah, the Maryland, the Oklahoma battleships and most of the entire Pacific Fleet was anchored in the beautiful waters of Pu`uloa.

Wave after wave of Japanese planes pierced the clouds hovering over the Koolau Mountains, across the Schofield plateau and down Kolekole pass of the Wai`anae Mountain range straight for Pearl Harbor.

“The sky was filled with huge, black, billowing clouds of smoke.  Those clouds suddenly were illuminated with gigantic flashes of fire.  The sounds of explosions were a crescendo of awesome noise, bloodied white uniforms were everywhere.” Loren Bailey, a Pearl Harbor survivor, reported.  “Expressions upon the faces of survivors were an example of the entire range of human emotion.


The USS West Virginia

My friend the Late Marine Sgt. Richard I. Fiske was the bugler on board the USS West Virginia. If you look closely you can see him up in the “crow’s nest.”Two armored-piercing bombs struck the Tennessee, moored inboard of the West Virginia. Jagged hunks of metal were hurled across the West Virginia, one searing into the bridge. A torpedo hit the ship, lifting her out of the water; she shuddered and broke into flames.

(1) On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 at 0805, after two torpedo hits, the target ship

Utah strained against her mooring lines with a 30-degree list. Her crew did not have time to finish raising her flag at her stern. With her torpedo blisters removed, Utah had little chance of surviving the torpedo attack. She capsized at 0810. A layer of heavy timber came loose from the dock, tumbled into the water, snarled the channel and the waters surrounding Utah’s berth,)  preventing the crew’s attempt to abandon ship. Making her one of the first watery graves at Pearl Harbor with 58 men forever entombed.  She is still down in the location where she was hit.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures USS Oklahama

USS Oklahama

(2) USS Oklahoma rolled over in the water with men running down her sides and across her bottom. She sank within 20 minutes.

(3)  High ranking officers dressed in Sunday White uniforms, were rolling and pushing depth charges.

(4)  An Army chaplain who was preparing his altar for an outdoor Mass, found himself under attack, got hold of a machine gun, mounted it on his altar and began to fire back at the attaching planes.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures USS California

USS California

(5)  Sailors were jumping from the bow of the USS California into the fires raging on the surface of the water.  Other were blown overboard when she was hit by incoming torpedoes Bodies were so covered with oil and other burning in the water making rescues almost impossible.

(6)  Fuel oil on the surface of the water moved with the tide, engulfing ships.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures USS Arizona

USS Arizona

(7)  The USS Arizona was struck by an armor-piercing bomb penetrated her foredeck and exploded her ammunitions magazines. She sank in 9 minutes; the ship exploded forever entombing 1,102 men.

(8)  Debris from the USS Arizona rained down on the decks of the Tennessee.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures Women with hose

Women with hose

(9)  The USS Honolulu in brave efforts to fight fires that threatened the Tennessee. The ship herself caught fire several times. It continued fighting fires and pulling people from the inferno.

(10) The USS Pennsylvania, The flag ship of Admiral Kimmel, was in dry dock.  She took

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures USS Pensylvinia

USS Pennsylvania

a direct hit.  The heat from fires was so enormous that ammunition and torpedoes on the ship exploded.

(11)Hawaiian born, Tugboat Captain, George Yoshio Nakamoto, risked his own personal safety and assisted in moving a U.S. Navy vessel and rescuing injured sailors. (He ONLY received a citation- no medals).

The Japanese bombed a location in the Pacific everyday in the month of December 1941.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures Honolulu Star-Bulletin-Martial Law Declared

Martial Law Declared

Many historians have recorded that sixty-eight civilians were killed and 35 wounded that December Day.  Most believe that shells fired from American guns at Pearl Harbor caused more casualties than Japanese bombs. American soldiers sacked Japanese temples and carried off men . . . some never to be seen again.  Shinto priests, the principals of Japanese language schools and affiliates of the Japanese consulate made up the bulk of the 350 Japanese that were rounded up on December 7 & 8.  The total came to about 1600 within a week.  On the West Coast over 100,000 Japanese were interned in concentration camps along with the thousands from Hawai`i.

After the bombing, fires broke out throughout the city including one at the Lunalilo School first aid station. A building next to the school had caught fire and some of the residents had died, trapped behind a wall of flames. Fifty-seven civilians died on O’ahu that day, and another 280 were injured in fires caused by American anti-aircraft action.

People who remembered that day tell of the radio stations were broadcasting orders to the residents of O’ahu: “Do not use your telephone. The island is under enemy attack. Do not use your telephone. Stay off the streets. Keep calm…In the event of an air raid, stay under cover.” Governor Joseph Poindexter came on the radio to proclaim a state of emergency, and, at 11:41 a.m., the army ordered all commercial radio stations off the air, fearing that Japanese planes could navigate by their signals during another attack. Later that day, the stations returned to the air to announce that Hawai’i was now under martial law. The statement was broadcast three times: twice in English, once in Japanese.

With martial law instituted, constitutional liberties were suspended. Civilian courts were closed, and all government functions—federal, territorial, and municipal—were placed under army control. The commanding general declared himself the “military governor” of Hawai’i, and controlled the entire civilian population with absolute discretionary powers as a state of emergency had been declared.

Afro- A grateful Nation - pictures Americn Prison camp inHonolulu

Prison Camp in Honolulu

Martial Law, a policy that was written long before December 7th, was a part of the belief that the threat was from within. (Everyone looked like Japanese to them) It began within hours of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As many more local Japanese were herded into “re-location camps”, Hawai`i Governor Joseph Poindexter (an FDR appointee) requested that General Walter Short, Commanding General of the Army in Hawai`i, take control of the territorial government.

Twelve days later, incoming Lt. General Delos C. Emmons, became Hawaii’s military governor with harsh, mean spirited, racist powers that seem unimaginable today.  Backed by the power of the President of the United States and the full weight of the U.S. military, Emmons had absolute jurisdiction over virtually every aspect of life in Hawai`i. All civil rights were suspended; jury trials and habeas corpus petitions were forbidden.  Islanders could be taken into custody and held indefinitely on any charge. All citizens, resident & visitors alike, could be tried, convicted and even executed without benefit of counsel. The average trial lasted five minutes, with guilty verdict handed down in 99 percent of the time.