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Pearl Harbor, could it have been prevented

Chris King
Fort Myers High School
Fort Myers, Fl
Mr. Greg Martin

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I chose to write my essay on Franklin D. Roosevelt and the mis-guidance and deception

about the attacks on Pearl Harbor. My title is Pearl Harbor, could it have been prevented. It

reflects the evidence about the events leading up to the war and the actions taken by Roosevelt.

Not many know about the conspiracy theory regarding Roosevelt and the United States

government. The essay is based on the failure of the commanders at Pearl Harbor hearing about

the information that the Navy knew and that Roosevelt allowed the attacks to take place for his

master plan to work out. It is important to know that nobody knows for certain about if the

attacks on Pearl Harbor could have been prevented and that my paper is based on facts and

opinions I have collected regarding this subject and my analysis of these facts and opinions. In

the essay you find the different information the Navy knew and the different types of equipment

the Navy had to decode messages. In the essay you find the warnings that were given to the

United States government and to Roosevelt. In the essay you find about the mis-guidance and

deception of the United States government. I believe that the government and Roosevelt knew

that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor and allowed it to happen to be able to enter

World War II.

Word Count:2924

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Table of Contents




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On the morning of December 7, 1941, the attacks on Pearl Harbor conducted by the

Japanese navy came as a surprise to many. The Japanese attack was intended as a preventive

action to keep the Pacific Fleet from intervening in the war Japan was planning to have on other

nations. The effects from the attack were almost catastrophic which killed 2,402 people and

wounded 1,282. The Japanese also sank and damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one

minelayer. A minelayer was an allies’ ship that was used by the United States during World War

II. Could the attacks on Pearl Harbor been stopped and thousands of people saved? The President

of the United States at this time was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt was the only U.S.

President elected to four terms. Roosevelt was a leader during the great economic crisis and

world war. Before the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the public and Congress were against entering the

war in Europe. There are many who believe that Roosevelt knew about the oncoming attack and

on how he failed to warn the commanders in Hawaii. It was Roosevelt’s backdoor into the war

without displeasing the American people and Congress. Firstly, leading up to the attack on Pearl

Harbor the United States government had been cracking Japanese codes. Anything that the

Japanese was sending in codes was being deciphered by the U.S. government. Any planned

attacks would have been known. Secondly, there was an insurmountable amount of warnings that

the United States was aware of. Warnings from within the navy, wiretapping, and other nation’s

governments. Finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt made a promise to the American People. His

promise was, not to send their sons into war unless attacked. And without the Germans attacking

the U.S. Roosevelt could do nothing. But he knew that if we were attacked he would be forced to

go to war. As a result, when the warnings were available to the U.S. there were no immediate

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actions taken to prevent the attack. Many believe that Roosevelt needed Pearl Harbor to be

attacked for his plan of going to war with Germany to be credited. On December 7, 1942 one of

the greatest disasters in United States history occurred, “A date which will live in infamy.”

(Costello 1), not for the bombing itself, rather for the mis-guidance and deception of the United

States government and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

World War II started on September 1, 1939 with the Germans invading Poland and then

with preceding fashion there were declarations of war on Germany by most of the British Empire

and France. Then the Soviets invaded Poland also. In the war there were two major military

alliances fighting against each other. There were the Allies which included the United Kingdom,

the Soviet Union, and the United States of America, they were known as “The Big Three”.

Opposing the Allies were the Axis powers. They are comprised of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Before the attacks on Pearl Harbor the United States remained neutral during the early parts of

the war. Even though the United States was neutral throughout the war they began to strengthen

the alliance with the Allies by providing assistance to them, in the form of goods and military

weapons. Throughout the war the American people did not want to get involved. Franklin D.

Roosevelt was caught in the middle from the Allies and the American people. The Allies wanted

Roosevelt to enter the war to help strengthen and defeat Germany; Roosevelt heavily influenced

the American people and Congress to declare war but they were both against another war. With

the answer being no, Roosevelt needed another way into the war.

The United States government was deciphering codes from the Japanese during World

War II for as long as we know. There were thousands of radio messages sent from Tokyo to the

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attack fleet that were intercepted by the United States. The United States government had many

code breaking devices and codes that were available. Different codes were used leading up to
and after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Purple code is a machine cipher which took telephone

switches to separate and encipher every character that was sent. The JNA-20 is very much like

the purple code but is used for the Navy. The JN-25 was the Japanese fleets cryptographic

system. The Navy easily cracked the codes when the Japanese made a mistake by using random

books that were already solved by the Navy for their codes for many months. By December of

1940 the Navy had the whole codebook cracked. The result from cracking the codes could be

used as an advantage for the United States, you would think. The NSA has been quoted saying

“We Know now that they contained important details concerning the existence, organization,

objective, and even the whereabouts of the Pearl Harbor Strike Force.” (Parker 21). This is the

evidence that the Japanese were planning to attack. With the codes broken the United States had

plenty of time to prepare for the attack or even intervene before the Japanese planed on

attacking. Roosevelt did not send any of the new information received from the broken codes

about the Japanese fleet preparing to attack Pearl Harbor to any of the Hawaiian commanders

that were stationed at the base. Roosevelt was briefed twice a day on the codes that the Navy was

breaking and was asked every time he was briefed if any action should be taken or any warnings

be sent to the commanders. The Pacific commanders were sent a message telling them to be on

high alert for war but the message did not specify the chance of an attack on Pearl Harbor at all.

The main worry in the message was the war in the Far East and to be on alert. The United States

government was given an overwhelming amount of warning about Pearl Harbor. On November

30, 1941 the Japanese fleet received an order from Japan stating “Japan, under the necessity of

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her self-preservation and self-defense, has reached a position to declare war on the United States

of America.” (Congress Appendix D 415). Japan was planning months in advance to attack Pearl
Harbor. Roosevelt had the information at his finger tips; all he had to do was to act on the given


During World War II Roosevelt promised the American people that he would not send

them into war without probable cause or if another nation attacked the United States. With very

little to hardly no information being sent to the commanders in Hawaii about the possibility that

Pearl Harbor could be attacked shows how Roosevelt had other concerns on his mind. Roosevelt

first concern was the European war. With the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor, the attack was

Roosevelt’s back door into the war. Roosevelt’s actions and decisions seem to be very calculated

for the final product of Pearl Harbor being allowed to be attacked so he could declare war on

Germany. On December 8th, only one day after the attacks on Pearl Harbor Roosevelt was

recorded saying “Hitler is still the first target, but a great many of Americans will insist that we

make the war in the pacific at least equally important with the war against Hitler.” All

throughout World War II Roosevelt’s main priority was getting involved in the war against

Germany and he will not stop at anything, even if that means leaving Pearl Harbor to get

attacked. There is much evidence that supports the theory of Roosevelt knowing about

impending attacks on Pearl Harbor. In the summer of 1940, Roosevelt ordered that the Pacific

fleet be moved from the coast of California to Hawaii. The Naval base in Hawaii was missing

several key needs that the military needed. There was a lack of ammunition and fuel supplies, a

lack of support if the aircrafts or the ships broke down in any way, and a lack in facilities. The

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Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet at the time was Admiral James Richardson.

Admiral Richardson was an Admiral in the United States Navy who served from 1902 to 1942.

Richardson had a mind for the Navy. He graduated from the Naval Academy fifth in his class of

eighty five. When the matter came to naval strategy and positioning Richardson was one of the
best Admirals to call upon. So when Richardson was told by Roosevelt of his plans to take the

Pacific fleet to Hawaii and to stay there in till further notice Richardson was livid. Richardson

knew the problems and the exposure of staying in Pearl Harbor, the safety of his men was his

first priority. Richardson wanted to speak with the president so he went to Washington to speak

with Roosevelt. While there Richardson protested the redeployment to Hawaii stating all of the

negatives why it would be safer for the fleet to stay on the west coast. Roosevelt obviously did

not like the news of what Richardson was saying. Richardson was replaced by Admiral Husband

Kimmel four months later.

On June 23, 1941 Roosevelt’s advisor Harold Ickes wrote a letter for the President stating

that with an embargo on oil to Japan, there might be a situation where the United States could

possibly or even easily get into the war. And we would avoid any criticism about going in as an

ally to Russia. Roosevelt and his cabinet knew the agenda on what had to happen. Roosevelt was

a brilliant man; he was very witty and had a strategy to every decision and situation. When the

dilemma came up about going to war or not, he had joker in his hand which I believe was Pearl


Sixty years after the attack on Pearl Harbor the United States Government will not

identify or declassify many of the pre-warning messages that were decoded by the Navy by

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saying national security is at hand. If there was no controversy on the subject why wouldn’t the

government be willing to let people see the documents? There is obviously something the

government does not want us to see within those “classified” documents. On November 26

Washington ordered that both the Enterprise and the Lexington; which were aircraft carriers, out

of Pearl Harbor. Some knowledge had to be known to take fifty percent of Pearl Harbors

protection away from the island. The deception the government and Roosevelt are playing on the
American people is very clever. The American people didn’t understand the military aspect of

the decisions that were being made. The Admirals were not going to be so easily persuaded,

when any opposition came up about the plan that Roosevelt was executing, they would be fired.

The mere fact that Roosevelt replaced people who were opposing his plan proves that there was

more information going on behind the scenes for something bigger to happen. On December fifth

Roosevelt wrote to the Prime Minister of Australia telling him that the Japanese are to consider

for war and the next four or five days will decide everything. Roosevelt knew about an

impending attack on Pearl Harbor or unless he is a physic and could predict the future. Roosevelt

was a very popular and selfless man. With him being so liked by the American people he didn’t

have to worry about the after effects of Pearl Harbor being attacked.

The events that happened surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor are forever going to be

controversial in United States history. I believe that Pearl Harbor was President Roosevelt’s back

door into World War II. Roosevelt’s actions and decisions lean towards that he had the war with

Germany was the first priority. In till the day when the government comes out and releases all of

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the classified documents regarding Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 will always be remembered

as the day when American people allowed innocent people to die for the greater picture.
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Works Cited

"APFN." APFN. 8 Oct. 2009 <>.

Coker, Jeffrey W.. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies). New York:

Greenwood Press, 2005.

Costello, John. Days of Infamy. New York: Pocket Books, 1994.

Forstchen, William R., and Newt Gingrich. Pearl Harbor. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks,

necessary., any means. "WHAT REALLY HAPPENED | The History The US Government

HOPES You Never Learn!." WHAT REALLY HAPPENED | The History The US

Government HOPES You Never Learn!. 8 Oct. 2009 <>.