Sadly, I lacked the thoughts of what, if anything to post about yesterday, the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was distracted by a medical issue that occasionally plagues me, and I am thus on antibiotics again. However, there is no reason to even mention my ever so trivial problems.
There were thoughts in my mind in regards to the elements of surprise and the errors made by both the Japanese and the Americans. History has pretty much covered a lot of the issues on both sides, but I heard something on the radio that needs to be addressed.
There was a mention on the radio that Nimitz made some comments after he had first toured the damaged facility after he was assigned as the Pacific commander. Someone supposedly asked him what his thoughts were after seeing all the damaged warships and aircraft. His answer, while perhaps inspiring at the time, leaves some degree of doubt as to its validity.
Nimitz was to have stated that the Japanese had made three major blunders in their attack on Pearl Harbor. First, he stated that the attack had come on a Sunday morning when 90 percent of the crewmen were on liberty. Had the Japanese attacked while the fleet was at sea, they could have destroyed many of the boats and could have killed up to 38,000 men instead of less than 4000.
Second, he claimed that the Japanese were distracted with the opportunity to destroy the warships, but failed to attack the dry-dock facilities. Had they destroyed or seriously damaged those facilities, any ships re-floated would have to have been towed to the west coast of the United States for repairs. As it was, only one tug would have been needed to tow a raised ship to a dry-dock. Also, there was the ability to repair a ship and get it back into some service in about the time it would have taken to tow the ship to America.
Third, it was claimed that he pointed out that all of the Pacific fleet’s fuel reserves were in storage tanks only 5 miles away from the harbor, but that no Japanese airplanes attacked those reserves.
While I was doing some research as to the validity of the above statements, I found that the first was the only one that seemed to attract much attention as to being incorrect. In fact, one source said that probably at least 60 percent or more of the crews of the ships were actually on board or on the docks that morning. A major reason for believing this is that there had been a “warning order” issued to the Pacific fleet.
There is also the “mistake” that was pointed out by Yamamoto himself, in that attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor would, at best, give the Japanese only six months of freedom to do as they wished in the Pacific theater. Yamamoto had spent 3 years at Harvard University and served two postings to Washington, D.C. as a naval attaché. Thus, he knew what the capabilities of the American people were if called to mobilize for war.
However, in all the supposed mistakes that may or may not have been committed, one thing remains clear. Those that mobilized for war deserve the accolades that we give them, whether it was for old wars or for current ones.
There is the recognition of the fact that the United States is the greatest beacon of freedom in the world. They swear allegiance to this country and to protect its constitution. They may not know it at the time, but it is the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that has made America what it is, even considering its faults.
It was these and the freedoms they offered for which men, and women, served and died.
While I am not an expert on either document, there is an interesting read in the latest issue of Imprimus, which is a free monthly speech digest published by Hillsdale College in Michigan. This latest Imprimus, currently online but not yet mailed out to subscribers, is entitled: “The Unity and Beauty of the Declaration and the Constitution.”
That issue is actually an interview of Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. It is most definitely an interesting read. I should also mention that the Hillsdale College website for the Imprimus issues has an extensive archive of previous issues. I should also point out that free issues can be mailed to anyone interested in receiving them.
The website for the latest issue of Imprimus is here:
If you look at the archives of Imprimus, you will see a long list of distinguished educators and world leaders whose speeches have been put into the Imprimus issues. The one just previous to the current on online by Phil Gramm about Reaganomics and the American Character is also a good read.
I have enjoyed Imprimus for quite some time, and I am absolutely delighted to see such an impressive list of archived issues.
Enjoy the reading, if you so desire to do so.