The Real Infamy of Pearl Harbor

Published: 1983-12-01

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Percy L. Greaves, Jr., who had been research chief for the Republican minority in the joint Congressional Investigation, and contributed a masterly chapter on “The Pearl Harbor Investigations” to the fundamental revisionist work Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (1953), announced the completion and forthcoming publication of his own book, provisionally entitled The Real Infamy of Pearl Harbor. It is a work long-awaited by revisionists, who recognize in Greaves the man who probably knows more about the Pearl Harbor record than any other alive, having been in on the investigation from virtually the start and devoted some 40 years to the subject. His is a voice of authority which will have to be contended with, and which promises to raise a new storm of controversy over an issue that just won’t die.

Represented here are some of the fruits of Mr. Greaves’s new work, in the form of four chapters which he has granted us permission to pre-publish: “Marshall Comes on Stage,” “Marshall Before the joint Congressional Committee,” “Admission of MAGIC Demolishes FDR’s Claim of Surprise,” and “What We Knew.” These chapters contain extensive extracts from the testimony presented before the congressional investigators; precise citations from that record and other sources are dispensed with here, but will of course appear in the complete published book. The chapters are preceded by three of Mr. Greaves’s most trenchant essays from years past, quite deserving of re-circulation. These begin with “Was Pearl Harbor Unavoidable?,” which appeared originally in the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of 7 December 1947. This explores the missed chances in 1939 for the United States to cooperate with and encourage the Japanese peace party; that Washington was not interested in such a course meant that Japan, in opposing Stalin’s appetites in Asia, was left with nowhere else to turn for support than the Axis powers, and it explains a crucial part of the background to the later tragedy of war. Next appears “The Mystery of Pearl Harbor,” taken from an original article published in National Review of 12 December 1966. (Yes: William F. Buckley, Jr., was once unafraid to publish revisionist material.) This article has been noteworthy in revisionist lore as containing a devastating rebuttal of the book which was, before Prange’s, the anti-revisionists’ principal bulwark, Roberta Wohlstetter’s Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision – a work all too often cited by the innocent, even to this day, as “authoritative.” Greaves notes that there were more than 100 factual errors in Wohlstetter, including one fundamental error of assumption which fatally undermines her entire thesis. He also goes after FDR’s personal, hand-picked, paid, beranked and bemedalled court historian, the late Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. Finally, we have a unique inside-look at the joint Congressional Committee investigation in Greaves’s “Senator Homer Ferguson and the Pearl Harbor Congressional Investigation,” a valuable memoir written in 1948 and published here for the first time.

Remember Pearl Harbor? Of course you do. No American will ever forget December 7, 1941. Our casualties came to 3,435 – Japan's were fewer than 100. We lost 188 planes outright – Japan 29. Our proud Pacific fleet was smashed. Eight battleships were useless. Japan lost five midget submarines. It …

After the Pearl Harbor attack, Americans were told that it had come without any warning. The official story has been that it was a surprise attack that forced us into war against our wishes. For years the charges that Roosevelt lied and cajoled us into war were vehemently denied. In …

Prior to the Pearl Harbor Congressional investigation this writer had twice met Homer Ferguson. During the 78th Congress when Ferguson was a freshman Senator, I was Associate Research Director of the Republican National Committee. That sounds like a political position but essentially it was a fact-finding one – finding facts …

If the testimony on the knowledge and actions of the top Navy command on that momentous weekend seems to be confusing and inconsistent, that on the Army side was downright mysterious and almost impossible to comprehend without an understanding of two facts of human nature. The first is that few …

Truman's quick action had two immediate effects. First, the news of Marshall's appointment completely blanketed the media publicity that Hurley had hoped would be produced by his resignation and his startling reasons for doing so. Second, it called for a change in Marshall's schedule and that of the joint Congressional …

We now come to the critical twenty-four hour period before the attack. What did the leaders in Washington know? When did they know it? What did they do about it? Unfortunately, the testimony is a jumbled mass of contradictions. Most witnesses swore under oath that they had performed their duties. …

Before presenting the testimony relating to December 7th, it would be helpful to review the information available to Generals Marshall, Gerow and Miles as well as Secretary of War Stimson before they left their respective offices on December 6th. There was a mounting accumulation of facts and events that could …
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Author(s): Percy L. Greaves
Title: The Real Infamy of Pearl Harbor
Published: 1983-12-01
First posted on CODOH: Nov. 7, 2012, 6 p.m.
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