Pearl Harbor was the first action of the acknowledge war, and the last battle of a secret war upon which the administration had long since embarked. the secret war was waged against nations which the leadership of this country has chosen as enemies months before they became formal enemies by a declaration of war. It was waged also, by psychological means, by propaganda, and deception, against the American people, who were thought by their leaders to be laggard in embracing war. The people were told that acts which were equivalent to war were intended to keep the nation out of war. Constitutional processes existed only to be circumvented, until finally the war-making power of Congress was reduced to the act of ratifying an accomplished fact.
"For years before Pearl Harbor Mr. Roosevelt had talked of peace. For months he had schemed for war. His deeds belied his words," the author asserted in his chapter dealing with the "Back Door To War." Herein he listed the chain of events, from Roosevelt's October 1937 "quarantine the aggressors" speech to his arming of the British at the expense of the U.S. armed forces and the "undeclared war" he waged in the Atlantic. Morgenstern demonstrated that the United States had no great economic or political interests with China, which was at war with Japan. Indeed, while China accounted for less than 3 percent of U.S. foreign trade, Japan was America's third best customer. If Japan was a "threat" to any interests, it was those of Britain, France, and the Netherlands, holders of vast Asian colonies.
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Not all of the contributors to this volume support Revisionist positions. Michael Barnhart, associate professor of Japanese history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, contends that Hornbeck was a realist and the United States was better off for having followed his advice. Alvin D. Coox, chair of the Japanese Studies Institute at San Diego State University, writes on "Repulsing the Pearl Harbor Revisionists: The State of Present Literature on the Debacle." He reveals his own lack of qualifications to make an informed judgment when he avers that "the late Professor Gordon W. Prange demolished the supposed deviltry of Roosevelt and company in his book, appropriately titled "
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Admiral Morison joined the chorus in describing Mrs. Wohlstetter's as "The best book by far on the question of why we were surprised at Pearl Harbor." More recently, Captain Roger Pineau and John Costello (who should know better), have referred to her efforts as a "scholarly study."
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Percy L. Greaves who, by common agreement, knew more about Pearl Harbor than any man living at the time, wrote a scathing critique of Wohlstetter's book that should have led to its being quietly removed from library shelves and consigned to the recycling plants. "The Mystery of Pearl Harbor: 25 Years of Deception," was included with essays by Harry Elmer Barnes and Vice Admiral Frank Betty in the December 12, 1966 issue of magazine. Later reprinted in the special "Pearl Harbor: Revisionism Renewed" edition of (Volume Four, Number Four, Winter 1983-84), Greaves noted that a first reading of her book disclosed over one hundred factual errors, "not to mention child-like acceptance of Administration releases in preference to obscured realities." One fundamental error of assumption undermined her entire argument. Treating the intelligence phase of the story, she never learned that there was a five-hour difference between Navy time and Washington, D.C. time. As Greaves remarked, "How valuable is a book on pre-attack intelligence that is five hours off on the timing of all Naval communications coming out of Washington? How dependable is a Naval historian who acclaims such a book the best on the subject? ... One could go on and on for a hundred more blunders. The facts were just too much for Mrs. Wohlstetter." It says volumes about the quality of the current generation of academic historians that Wohlstetter's book continues to turn up on lists of "recommended" titles dealing with the Pearl Harbor catastrophe.
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Morison was hired by the Roosevelt Administration to write the official The passage of time did little to mellow his dedication to the cause of his war-time employer. Chapter 3 of dealt with Pearl Harbor. Here, the author claimed, that "Actually, the Administration and the heads of the armed forces were doing their best to prevent or postpone a war with Japan." The various MAGIC messages that Washington failed to send word of to Hawaii simply got mixed up with other warnings of forthcoming Japanese moves against Siberia, Peru, and other unlikely places. Morison blamed Kimmel and Short for not taking proper action, and went so far as to accuse them of "ignoring" and ambiguous "war warning" sent from Washington on November 27th. In the end, Morison chose to waffle, by claiming that, "Fundamentally, however, it was the system, the setup both at Washington and at Pearl Harbor, rather than individual stupidity or apathy, which muffled and confused what was going on." Roosevelt, Stimson, Hull, Marshall, and Stark did not have any blame affixed to their reputations in this narrative.