There are a lot of myths about the Pearl Harbor attack -- chief among them being the pernicious idea that FDR allowed it happen. That lie, which originated with post-war American fascists, has gained a lot of traction through sheer repetition. Rather than engage in a point-by-point refutation of that myth and other fables, I'd like to provide a few links.This page
from 1996 -- a vestige of the "old" internet -- offers a lot of useful, detailed information.
Slate's piece "Who Lost Pearl Harbor?"
from 2000 is excellent (if you can ignore the last line). It must never be forgotten that the people who originated this conspiracy theory were enemies of the New Deal -- and, too often, apologists for Hitler.
The motivations were at least threefold. First, the GOP, then as now, disliked the principle of civilian control of the military, and many were convinced that higher-ups in Washington were scapegoating honorable fighting men. Second, the right's ideological hatred of Roosevelt ran deep—conservatives, refusing to use FDR's name, called him "That Man in the White House"—and Pearl Harbor presented another emotion-filled occasion for partisan attack. Third, many on the right remained defiantly isolationist even after the war began, and they believed that the American people would never have licensed entry into the battle had Roosevelt not hoodwinked them.
From 2008: "Pear Harbor warning tale debunked."
...historians for the National Security Agency concluded in a history released last week that decoded messages buried in Japanese-language weather reports, meant to alert Japanese diplomats to destroy codes, did not reach U.S. officials prior to the attack.
.Peal Harbor and 9/11.
A good piece by a self-proclaimed "independent historian." One comment is worth quoting:
The conspiracy theory about FDR and Pearl Harbor doesn't even make sense on the face of it.
Even if he had known about the attack and known exactly when it would occur, Roosevelt would have scrambled the American military and fended it off. The U.S. ould thenceforth be at war with Japan--and FDR would look like a hero.
So, even if FDR knew, there would be no need to let us get clobbered.
Revisionists and wacko conspiracists will nevertheless continue to push their lies. They know that they can win minds by never standing down, never rethinking, never conceding territory, never admitting the possibility of error. That's how Reagan created the "welfare queen" myth; that's how the fundamentalists have convinced half the nation that Creationism is science; that's how so many young idiots were duped into the belief that the mythical "Illuminati" controls rock music. The people who spread these myths don't have facts on their side, but they do have inexhaustible energy.Added note.
Here's a little-known fact about Pearl Harbor that the right-wingers prefer not to discuss: Japan was controlled by the zaibatsu
, monopolistic financial cliques which were usually family-owned. We were, in short, attacked by corporatism