Plan of Investigation
The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate how the attack on Pearl Harbor wasn’t a surprise to Roosevelt and the United States. The main body of evidence will investigate what events lead up to the attack, diplomatic relations between Japan and the U.S., and the resulting factors of the attack. Evidence will include eyewitness accounts and newly released top secret documents. Documents will be analyzed in regards to their value, origin, purpose, and limitation in order to properly evaluate the evidence. Documents include a book containing top secret documents, letters, and theories written by Robert Stinnett as well as evidence from the U.S. Army Board. An analysis of these documents and a summary of evidence will be used to make a conclusion stating whether or not Pearl Harbor was a real surprise or not to the United States.
Summary of Evidence
Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, tensions between the United States and Japan had begun to become more serious in the 1930’s. When Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 the war was effectively on. Japan continued to expand into China over the decade, while the United States began to send arms and equipment to China to assist in the war. To make matters worse Japan invaded French Indochina. However, the relationship was growing tenser. In a move aimed at Japan, in 1939, the United States ended the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. Starting in July of 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act. This act authorized the President to license or prohibit the export of defense materials to the Empire of Japan. Under this act, exports of aviation motor fuels, heavy melting iron, and steel scrap were restricted. Effective October 16, Roosevelt slapped an embargo on all exports of scrap iron and steel to nations other than in Western Hemisphere. On July 26, 1941, Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States. This move brought commercial relations between the nations to an end. Finally the American oil embargo caused a crisis in Japan because they were reliant on the US for 80% of its oil.
The U.S. had broken the Japanese diplomatic and naval code in the late 1930s. The United States read everything coming to and from Japanese high command. Japan in the 1930s was an aggressive superpower. Taking over Korea, Manchuria, and starting a war with China. With both Japan and the United States having assets in the Pacific it was important for peace to exist between them. Unfortunately the Pacific was a ticking time bomb and it was only a matter of time before one pulled the pin.
A message from the War Department to Washington explains how the United States was telling the public that Japan was still Negotiating with the U.S. when the really stopped. From War Department, 27 Nov. 1941: “Negotiations with Japan appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. Japanese...