Saturday, December 7, 2013
Nothing Funny Today
Even though it's has been joined by other "Where Were You?" moments (e.g., the Kennedy Assassination, 9/11), the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor still resonates.
I was far too young to remember, of course (what the hell do you mean by "of course...yeah right!", wise guy?), but I have developed my own beliefs on its impact. Unfortunately, many Americans seem to forget that World War II had been going on for over two years at that time. Unspeakable acts of barbarity had already been committed by then. Some of us know better, though, and don't look at things from a purely "black and white" perspective. I don't think the United States necessarily were the guys in white hats dragged innocently into war. There are shades of gray (and I don't mean dirty books) when you're talking about human beings.
NOTE: I'm proud of my country and could think of no other place in which to live. If nothing else, all of my stuff is here. I just don't think we have the market cornered on virtue.
For what it's worth (and without Googling anything, so if I get a fact wrong, you may direct your complaints to the Stratford, Connecticut School District)....
I believe Franklin Roosevelt knew that the Japanese were going to attack somewhere, although I'm fairly certain he didn't think it would be Hawaii. The U.S. embargo on oil and steel pushed the Japanese to the wall. To me, only the foolish would think they would not attack.
NOTE: I'm not crazy. The Japanese weren't choirboys, as evidenced by their rampages through the Pacific.
I believe that the Philippines was viewed as a real possibility or any of the other little American protectorates.
I believe that the administration viewed any possible attack would be quite small. Maybe a few people would die, but that would give the U.S. the excuse to go to war. Plus (conspiracy, perhaps?) this would also open the door to war with Hitler, as well.
NOTE: After the attack, Hitler declared war on the United States, thus relieving any machinations to go to with Germany. That seemed kinda crazy to me. But, hey, Germany had already invaded the Soviet Union by then. Methinks Adolph got a little too big for his britches.
I believe that, had the American aircraft carriers been in port, things would been different.
I believe (and this may be an incendiary thought) that, even though Roosevelt thought the Japanese would attack, they couldn't possibly do any real damage. Sure they laid a whuppin' on the Chinese and could probably handle the Filipinos, but, c'mon. They were little yellow men who couldn't possibly harm the United States. And cross the world's largest ocean to do it? Forget about it.
Incidentally, I'm not so sure the Japanese didn't think they were a special group of people, either. There were those who thought if they gave the Americans a bloody nose, there was no way they'd fight. They were soft white men, after all.
Maybe in the late 20th or early 21st centuries, perhaps, but it was still the 40's.
Racial hubris can be a deadly thing.
Thousands of dead Americans and Japanese would agree.
Yes, it's a day which lives in infamy. But, sadly, it has a lot of company.