Talk:Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory

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Title[edit]

Shouldn't it be shortened to simply "Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory"? That seems to be normal for these topics. Green547 (talk) 00:53, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

Since the conspiracy revolves around the notional advance-knowledge, no. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 01:52, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

What specific advanced knowledge. We know factually from the McCollum memo that Naval Intelligence belived that a Japanese attack was possible, and that the US Government was engaged in acts that made such an attack more likely. Including "advanced knowledge" is ambigious. What specific "advanced knowledge". Detailed knowlege of the exact date and time and composition of attacking forces is one thing. Having knowlege that a Japanese suprise attack to US forces somewhere in the pacific was likely, is another. I think you should clarify, or remove it. (Montestruc) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Montestruc (talkcontribs) 05:37, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

Was unsure how to sign, I am checking if this is right. (Montestruc (talk) 18:05, 5 September 2016 (UTC))18:05, 5 September 2016 (UTC)18:05, 5 September 2016 (UTC)~~

No the term conspiracy theory shouldn't show up at all. But this is wikipedia, a well known fake news site so I wouldn't expect good coverage — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.107.5.117 (talk) 00:18, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

McCollum memo[edit]

The memo was written and is established as a bonefied US Government document. Circumstantial evidence exists that the president saw it and implimented it. That circumstantial evidences consists of several facts.

1- all eight of the advised policies were followed by the Roosevelt administration over the 14 months between the circulation of the memo, and the Pearl Harbor attack.

2- the memo remained classified for over 50 years after it was written, one does not classify trivia.

No this is not smoking gun proof that FDR read and was influenced by it, but the fact that all 8 of the proposals were followed is circumstantial evidence he did. Thus the burdon of proof should be on establishing some evidence that all of those policies would have been followed anyway. Montestruc (talk) 16:55, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Additional information. In looking at some of thedocuments proportingto "refute" the McCollum memo I note that the memo was not declassified till1994, while McCollum dies in the 1970s. At no could McCollum have legally discussed his memo in piblic. Thus "the assertion of other statements by McCollum as bein refutation of his memo are suspect -Montestruc (talk) 03:32, 28 September 2016 (UTC) Montestruc (talk) 03:32, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

If you can point to a reliable source which lays out the same argument, then perhaps this stuff can go in the article. Otherwise, it's just your personal analysis. Binksternet (talk) 05:20, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Reliable source for what information Binksternet? The FACT McCollum was dead before the document was declassified? Look on the bio page of McCollum. The fact that the document was declassified in 1994? http://12-7-9-11.blogspot.com/2009/03/mccollum-memo-analysis.html?m=1

Try that, what SPECIFICALLY are you claiming I need a reliable source for?

In any case Wikipedia is not an appropriate place to vent your spleen on the Author of a book. What motives that author did, or did not attribute to McCollum are irrelivent where said motives are not stated as fact here. One can simply read the bloody memo, and know that McCollum is willing to push the Japanese such that they might attack the USA. That is what McCollum wrote in his memo. Nothing he says 10 to 15 years later changes that. Montestruc (talk) 07:23, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Quote of Stinnett from day of Deceit.

“Lieutenant Commander McCollum’s five-page memorandum of October 1940 (hereafter referred to as the eight-action memo) put forward a startling plan—a plan intended to engineer a situation that would mobilize a reluctant America into joining Britain’s struggle against the German armed forces then overrunning Europe. Its eight actions called for virtually inciting a Japanese attack on American ground, air, and naval forces in Hawaii, as well as on British and Dutch colonial outposts in the Pacific region.”

Excerpt From: Stinnett, Robert. “Day of Deceit.” FREE PRESS. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/iDkVw.l

I would agree that Stinnett is engaging in hyperbole, but the McCollum Memo article in wikipedia does not make clear what Stinnett states, McCollum was "planning".

The "refutation" does not make clear what position the article is refuting.

The "refutation" does not negate what McCollum actually said in the memo. But the existing wording implies that McCollum's memo was not advocating a plan that seriously risked war with Japan, which is emphatically not true. Montestruc (talk) 03:25, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

The art & science of document classification.[edit]

As someone who handled classified material in the military for a number of years I can tell you that, within a classified area, section or department, the urge to classify *everything* is almost irresistible. In addition, it is assumed that when a document is classified, 1. it is often over-classified, and, 2. it will remain classified, ideally forever. Added to this is inter-service rivalry and bureaucracy. The general thinking is, This is our document; let others prove they have the 'need to know' - the holiest of mantras in the intelligence community. (This childish attitude continues to the present, unfortunately.) This is why one will note that documents from World War II and after being declassified in 2008, 2012, etc. The thinking is often the same as a pack rat - we used to call it 'classified clutter'. There is extreme reluctance to declassify anything for fear that 'we may need to keep this a secret a little bit longer'. The moral here is that much information needs some level of classification, absolutely. The problem occurs when the over-classification bug rears its ugly head. This behavior degrades and trivializes the entire concept of document secrecy. And that is never good. USAFSS60 (talk) 14:08, 15 November 2016 (UTC) USAFSS60

What you say is entirely true. The fact remains that McCollum could not legally discuss his memo publicly till it was declassified after his death.

Further, none of the other statements attributed to McCollum asserted to "refute" the memo In fact do so. McCollum was in the memo speaking to an intended audience of naval intelligence officers and White House policy advisors, and possibly the President, before the fact of the war. When he later wrote a political commentary his audience was the voting public years after the war was over. Anyone who thinks that the latter is more conducive to an honest opinion, is living in a dreamworld.

Montestruc (talk) 23:43, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Strength of historical consensus[edit]

This addresses the back-and-forth revisions over whether it is "most", or only "many", historians who reject the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory. I think it is obvious that "most" is the more accurate word. The other editor has repeatedly reverted to "many" with a demand for a scholarly source supporting "most." The problem, of course, is that scholarly sources don't resort to appeals to authority by collecting statistics on how many colleagues agree.

So we are left with statements in less scholarly venues, such as these:

"Most historians have rejected the claims of Beard, Tansill, and Buchanan as reductionist and unconvincing." https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pearl-Harbor-and-the-back-door-to-war-theory-1688287

"Orthodox historians argue that Japan had cloaked its attack in such complete secrecy that no form of intelligence then used by the United States could have penetrated it. Revisionists offer a different answer." http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2000/11/02/did-roosevelt-know/

"We should begin by establishing that the overwhelming majority of historians are not moved by this theory." https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4211

"...Brinkley asserts that the vast majority of historians would agree there is almost no evidence to support the claim that he knew ahead of time of the attack, and that he absolutely did not scale back defenses before the attack." http://www.sguforums.com/index.php?topic=25103.0

Or we can rattle off the vast numbers of historians who have rejected the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory, and see if the other editor can come anywhere close to matching the numbers.

Scholars who reject the theory:

Gordon Prange http://cliopolitical.blogspot.com/2006/12/history-of-pearl-harbor-conspiracy.html Roberta Wohlstetter " Marvin Melossi " Hanyok and Mowry http://www.csicop.org/si/show/pearl_harbor_winds_message Edward Drea http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/Articles/01spring/spr-rev.htm Phillip Jacobsen http://www.pearlharborattacked.com/cgi-bin/IKONBOARDNEW312a/ikonboard.cgi?act=Print;f=38;t=27 Stephen Budianski http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=445 Richard E. Young http://www.artbarninc.org/REY/Stinnett.pdf David Kahn http://www.artbarninc.org/REY/Stinnett.pdf Samuel Eliot Morison "The Rising Sun in the Pacific" Alan Brinkley http://www.sguforums.com/index.php?topic=25103.0 John Costello "The Pacific War" John Prados "Combined Fleet Decoded" Ronald Spector "Eagle Against the Sun" Walter Lord "Day of Infamy" H.P.Willmott "Empires in the Balance" A panel of ten historians who evidently did not even regard the theory as worthy of debate: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1999-12-08/news/9912080076_1_pearl-harbor-japanese-attack-war-warning

I could continue compiling names, but I should think I've made my point by now. --Kent G. Budge (talk) 23:33, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

Good work. "Most historians" is perfectly appropriate here. Binksternet (talk) 00:43, 22 December 2016 (UTC)


Dear All,

Merry Christmas. This is a discussion in the Talk section for the page, not the actual article. We can speak much more freely in this section.

In the articles themselves, Wikipedia has some strongly suggested guidelines, rules and policies that should be followed, which it seems to me that you are ignoring in favor of your biased personal opinions.

Specifically, paraphrasing and simplifying the guidelines/rules/policies you are in violation of.

Wikipedia is not a soapbox for your personal opinion.

Wikipedia is not a place for original publication.

Wikipedia articles should be written neutrally and with due weight.

Links to Wikipedia rules guidelines and policies. [1] [2]

The following is quoted directly from Wikipedia policy.

"Articles must not take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without editorial bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it."

To the specifics of this case:

You are arguing that "most" historians disagree with "the Pearl Harbor advanced knowledge conspiracy theory".

According to this page "the Pearl Harbor advanced knowledge conspiracy theory" page as now (25 Dec 2016 exists) that conspiracy is defined as:

The 'Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory is the argument that United States government officials had advance knowledge of Japan's December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

This above sentence in the article is poor use of the English language -it should be rewritten.

If taken strictly literally and exactly where "advanced knowledge of Japan's December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor" almost no one would agree with it, including me, and almost any historian.

The problem with that is, nobody, including you or I, interprets it strictly at all, and that definition is clearly a straw man attack on books by Stinnett, Admiral Theobald, Charles A. Beard, John Toland, or Admiral Richardson and many others who agree that; Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) provoked war with Japan in his handling of foreign policy with Japan in the lead up to Pearl Harbor, that FDR as commander in chief acted in a reckless and irresponsible manner pointlessly risking the lives of Americans, that resulted in the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of Americans, and that FDR willfully made knowingly false campaign promises to the American people to stay out of foreign wars.

One can divide the camps on this issue into Stinnett and like-minded persons being in the anti-FDR camp some of whom are quite fanatically opposed to FDR and might liken him to the devil incarnate, and various FDR supporters, some of whom are so fanatical one can I think fairly characterize those individuals as Hagiographers, or a personality cult followers of FDR. Definition of hagiography [3] 1
: biography of saints or venerated persons
 2
: idealizing or idolizing biography

What I am seeing in your insistence on "most" is that you are very, very obviously taking sides with the pro-FDR camp, you ignore any historian who disagrees with the hagiographic position that FDR could do no wrong, and could make no mistake in policy, and that in the full blown total fanatic mode, any historian who disagrees with hagiographic interpretation of FDR and his actions and intent, cannot really be a “real” historian. In the extreme, there is no real difference in terms of respect of historic accuracy between a hagiographer of Stalin, Hitler, or FDR other than the object of blind worship.

FDR was a man, who made mistakes, and who had character flaws like every other human being who ever lived. Recent psychological analysis of presidents indicates that FDR and several other US Presidents were sociopaths. [4] [5]

My point in this is the idea that FDR would not be manipulative and calculating in dealing with an issue, and was some sort of abstractly ideally moral man of peace is ludicrous on it’s face. So is the idea that FDR was Satan incarnate which Stinnett and others project. From the historical record, from people who knew and personally dealt with him, and from after the fact psychological analysis that is published and can be referenced, FDR can reasonably be characterized as a manipulative man, a very smart man, with strong sociopathic tendencies. Any moral judgements of him by editors, positive or negative, are inappropriate to a Wikipedia article.

Note that this sort nonsense (fanatical personality cultism or personality demonization, and editing or outright vandalism of articles which state things that you do not agree with) is not acceptable by Wikipedia policy.

Again, by Wikipedia policy, "Articles must not take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without editorial bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it.”

Regarding your list of historians, that violates Wikipedia policy as: 1. The list is one of your own devising and so is original work, and so not acceptable because original work is not acceptable, you must cite a respectable reference. 2. The list is blatantly biased on the pro-FDR side and includes zero anti-FDR historians which suggests you are either so ignorant of the field, or so blindly biased that you think none exist. 3. Again, going over and over Wikipedia policy "Articles must not take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without editorial bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it.”

This below is included for your reference, not to constitute a list for you to add to yours. If you want to show evidence that, a majority of historians disagree with the “the Pearl Harbor advanced knowledge conspiracy theory” as usually interpreted, not as strictly interpreted, you need to get an outside reference that is credible. Your personal work violates the “Wikipedia is not a place for original publication” clause, further your list is biased and incomplete. Your list is obviously, grossly biased toward the pro-FDR camp, and ignores numerous genuine historians of note, these include, but are certainly not limited to;

Charles A. Beard – former President of the American Historical Society author of "President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941: Appearances and Realities" 1948. [6]


John Toland – Pulitzer Prize winner wrote “Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath”, 1983 [7]


Admiral J. O. Richardson Commander in Chief, United States Fleet (CinCUS) Jan 1940-Feb 1941 [8] Quotation from the article-- [Richardson] was one of the Navy's foremost figures. Since his earliest days, after leaving Annapolis, he had made the study of Japanese warfare his life's work. He was beyond question the Navy's outstanding authority on Pacific naval warfare and Japanese strategy. He held this position during a stressful period marked by Presidential orders to deploy the Pacific part of the Fleet to Pearl Harbor from its traditional naval base in San Diego, California. Richardson noted that:

   ... In 1940, the policy-making branch of the Government in foreign affairs – the President and the Secretary of State – thought that stationing the Fleet in Hawaii would restrain the Japanese. They did not ask their senior military advisors whether it would accomplish such an end.

Richardson protested this redeployment to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and to others in Washington. He did believe that advanced bases like Guam and Hawaii were necessary but that insufficient funding and efforts had been made to prepare them for use in wartime. He also believed future battles in the Pacific would involve aircraft carriers and more scouting forces would be needed to locate them. End Quote Admiral J.O. Richardson also wrote with Admiral G. C. Dyer "On the treadmill to Pearl Harbor" Published by the Naval History Division - Department of the Navy, 1973, which government publication voices similar, if much less strident positions to Stinnett, that FDR made numerous errors in military judgement, refused to listen to sound advice of senior military advisors, that proved correct later, and factually was trying to provoke the Japanese into an attack. Note that Richardson does not morally judge that last the way Stinnett does, he simply notes that the US Military forces were not ready, not properly supplied and so on to do as FDR wanted, and win a quick victory over Japan, after letting the Japanese attack first, and correctly noted that a war with Japan would be long and costly.


Admiral R.A. Theobald -was at Pearl Harbor during the attack, and wrote -“The final secret of Pearl Harbor; the Washington contribution to the Japanese attack.” New York: Devin-Adair, 1954 [9]


Robert Stinnett - Author of “Day of Deceit” 2001. [10]


Thomas Fleming – Author of “The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War Within World War II” 2002. [11]

Further I suggest you become familiar with the subject matter, below is a link to the PDF files of the reports of the of the Pearl Harbor Attack congressional investigation. Total of many thousands of pages of documents. [12]

The idea that the anti-FDR side consists of liars, fools, louts, and ignoramuses, and they have no facts backing them, is nonsense. That the pro-FDR side resorts to character assassination, and personal attacks should be enough for you to understand that the fanatical hagiographic proponents of the pro-FDR side of the argument should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Bottom line, stating “most” without an reliable respectable (non hagiographic FDR fan) outside reference as a source violates these two policies:

Wikipedia is not a place for original publication. Wikipedia articles should be written neutrally and with due weight.

(Montestruc (talk) 20:44, 25 December 2016 (UTC))

  1. ^ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ten_Simple_Rules_for_Editing_Wikipedia
  2. ^ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view
  3. ^ https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hagiography
  4. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/psychopathic-personality-traits-president_n_1874567.html
  5. ^ http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/09/which-us-president-was-the-biggest-psychopath.php
  6. ^ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_A._Beard
  7. ^ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Toland_(author)
  8. ^ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_O._Richardson
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Alfred_Theobald
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Stinnett
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Fleming_(historian)
  12. ^ http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/congress/