World War II Controversies

Posted: November 29th, 2013

INSTRUCTIONS NOT FOLLOWED: You change nothing! There is nothing about John Ray in Hanson’s page 122 as you said in paragraph 9. Also, there is nothing about Barton in Hanson’s page 129 as you said in paragraph 10. In addition, page 134 in Hanson book is empty page!! Please fix that, and I prefer to quote from Hanson’s CH9.





World War II Controversies

“The Roosevelt Knew”

It has been claimed that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew about the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7 1941. According to John Toland, the President “received several warnings and messages from various sources” (Schweilkart 113). One of these sources included radio transmissions. Toland asserts that there is evidence that links Japan, the British counterintelligence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This evidence warned about the attack. Toland’s efforts to retrieve the evidence have been unsuccessful.

This claim has however been refuted by the Japanese intelligence agencies who insist that there is a mistake in the information obtained by Toland. The Japanese said that they did not have or send any spy in America. They also added that they were not coercing with Germans in any way to attack of invade America. Toland found this very hard to believe since all the evidence pointed to Japan and their collaboration with the Germans to attack the Pearl Harbor. The British and FBI leaders also dismissed claims that they had received any prior information about the attack from the captured spy.

The “misplaced” evidence contains information about the urgency that the Federal Bureau of Investigation took on informing the president about the espionage mission to Hawaii, which was requested by the Japanese government and organized by the German Secret Service. The spy who was sent to Hawaii presented documents that had instructions about the attack when he was arrested by the FBI. However, the FBI and the Roosevelt Library files only have a small section of what was sent to the president.

This small section does not reveal what the president was told by the FBI concerning the attack. This raises suspicion on the competence of the FBI during the Second World War. The intelligence that was developed by the Germans was in form of microdots, which meant they could write a whole page and reduce to the size of a tiny speck. This message would have to be read using a microscope. Some of the information on the document was about Pearl Harbor installations that the Japanese wanted to know about.

Once the British received this information, they did not send it to Washington as was expected. This was because of wrangles between the FBI and MI-6. Moreover, J. Edgar Hoover wanted to control the intelligence agency and impress the president so he made sure he edited the documents before them to the white house. The copy that was sent to the white house was addressed to the presidential secretary who presented it to the president. However, it only spelled out how the microdot worked and not what the message actually said.

The microdot questionnaire, which was given up by the captured spy, was evidence enough about Japanese’ attack on Pearl Harbor but it was ignored. When the information reached the white house, the presidential secretary who received it should have prioritized it as an emergency. The president failed to address the issue as a matter of national security. Had the president taken his time to investigate further about the contents of the letter, the attack on Pearl Harbor would probably have been prevented because the president would have taken the right measures to ensure this.

Robert B. Stinnett and Timothy Wilford imply that the Pearl Harbor attack was “foreknown by President Roosevelt and FDR” (qtd in Schweilkart 93). The Strike Force, Kido Butai, characteristically violated the complete radio silence order. This provided leeway for the Japanese to gain access to the Pearl Harbor and perform that atrocious act. The Kido Butai did not send any radio signals preceding the attack. The Japanese also used radio deception programs to mislead the Hawaiian officials.

“The Atomic Diplomacy”

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing marked the end of the Second World War. This bombing was ordered by President Harry Truman of the United States of America. There have been numerous theories as to why the president ordered that bombing. Some writers suggest that it was done to get back at Japan for the Pearl Harbor bombing, while others argue that the president only wanted to intimidate the soviets and not defeat the Japanese. However, there is no evidence on the plans that were made to ensure the success of this attack.

It is purported that says that the casualty numbers of the bombing were falsified. It was estimated that the numbers ranged between 250,000 to 1,000,000. However, the number exceeded one million. The Soviet’s entry into the pacific war got in the way of Japan’s plans to surrender after the atomic bomb was dropped. It is reported that the atomic bomb had to be dropped in order to end the war otherwise many American lives would have been lost in endless invasions.

There are claims that only a small fraction of the casualty number was predicted. The high casualty numbers given by Truman was done to prevent American citizens from questioning the bombing. It was not an easy decision for President Truman to make on whether to invade Japan or not. Nevertheless, there was concern over the increasing number of Japanese troops in Kyushu. These troops did not however know where on the island the American forces would land.

The decision to drop the bomb was a military decision. The United States military felt threatened by the massive build up of the Japanese troops on the ground and in the air hence, felt the need to act accordingly. The claim that the buildup of troops did not affect the casualty numbers is strongly disproved by those who argue that the American military was aware of the buildup and they knew it would affect the casualty approximation.

During the last days of the war, Truman feared that Japan would decline to surrender and retaliate to defend their land. This and many other concerns troubled President Truman. In a conversation the president had with Churchill, the president expressed his uncertainties for authorizing the invasion. This guilt came with the considerable number of American casualties. President Truman felt responsible for all the blood spilled during the invasion and that had brought about colossal losses to America.

The atomic bombing of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an unforeseen venture and its effects are still felt to date. Many Americans at the time felt that it was necessary because they felt it saved their lives. This notion was especially shared among the veterans of the war who had witnessed their friends and families brutally murdered. There are, however, those who feel it was superfluous and malicious. The actions of President Truman are condemned by many human rights activists today.



Work cited

Hanson, Victor D. Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Print.

Schweilkart, Larry. Technology and the Culture of War. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Pub, 2003. Print.

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