Tag Archives: World War II

Franklin Roosevelt, the Bomb Plot, and the Winds Code Messages – Unheeded Stark Warnings Of War

A veritable library exists about the December 7, 1941, attack by air and naval forces of Imperial Japan on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.    But I am not aware of any book which  focuses on the congressional report released on July 20, 1946 on the attack.  Buried in this report are factual recounts of intercepted Japanese messages that, if considered carefully, would have foretold the Pearl Harbor attack.  It is an  open  question as to why the Roosevelt Administration, in possession of these intercepts, failed to then act to prepare for the forthcoming attack.  This was a monumental failure of leadership that led the US directly into World War II.  The intercepts are all explained in the report.

Following a far-reaching 1945 investigation extending over several months, the 1o-member Joint Congressional Committee which conducted the investigation issued its report. The Joint Committee was comprised  of five Senators and five Representatives, but six Democrats and four Republicans.  Therein lay the problem.  The final vote of the Joint Committee on the report was 8-2.  The majority exonerated President Roosevelt and other high Washington officials of responsibility for the U.S. unpreparedness  for the attack.  This result was strongly challenged by two Senators, both Republicans.  Their well- documented views are the basis for my recently released book, “The Congressional Pearl Harbor Cover-Up – A True Account of How A Partisan Congress Misled the American People on the Pearl Harbor Attack, December 7, 1941.  Featuring Historic Lessons on the Failure of Leadership to Foresee the Attack and to Avert War With Japan.”

There were  several areas of focus by the two dissenters, none  more important than the so-called “bomb plot” message and related messages that they believed heralded an attack on Pearl Harbor.  Beginning on September 24, 1941, several intercepted and decoded Japanese messages indicated that ships in Pearl Harbor were marked for attack.  The September 24 1941 “bomb plot message” and other messages which followed it revealed detailed information about Japan’s strategic interest in Pearl Harbor  The message was delivered to President Roosevelt and other high ranking Washington officials on October 9,1941.  These messages were of singular importance in revealing Japan’s intentions in targeting Pearl Harbor for an attack.  Although the majority of the Joint Committee would not agree that the messages indicated a planned attack on Pearl Harbor, nevertheless they conceded that the messages should have received special attention.  They also reached the remarkable conclusion that  “Had greater imagination and a keener awareness of the significance of intelligence existed…it is proper to suggest that someone should have concluded that Pearl Harbor was a likely point of Japanese attack.”  The two dissenting Republican Senators put it quite succinctly:  “The probability that the Pacific Fleet would be attacked at Pearl Harbor was clear from the “bomb plot” available in Washington as early as October 9, 1941…”

However, the intercepted Japanese messages did not indicate WHEN the attack would occur.  This missing element was arguably supplied by the “Winds Code” messages.   On November 19, 1941, the Japanese set up an innovative code to warn their diplomatic outposts when a break in relations with the United States, Great Britain, or Russia was imminent.  The code incorporated weather elements as the heart of the warning.  Despite conflicting evidence the Committee majority concluded that no genuine winds message in activation of the code applying to the United States, “East Wind, Rain,” meaning war with the United States, was received by U.S. intelligence prior to December 7, 1941.  The two dissenters noted that evidence before the Army Pearl Harbor Board and the Hart Inquiry, each concluding in 1944, was that such a message had been received.  Moreover, the State Department and ostensibly the White House received a winds alert message on December 4, 1941.  Although it was not a winds activation message, it can be argued that taking all the information together, the White House and other high ranking Washington officials should have been on the alert that an attack against Pearl Harbor was imminent.



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Cordell Hull’s Historic Blunder – A Primer on the Failure of Leadership

This installment of my series on leadership and success is excerpted from my new book, “The Pearl Harbor Congressional Cover-Up – A True Account of How a Partisan Congress Misled the American People on the Pearl Harbor Attack,December 7. 1941. Featuring Historic Lessons on the Failure of Leadership to Foresee the Attack and to Avert War with Japan.” It is available on Amazon.

On November 26, 1941, Secretary of State Cordell Hull stood at the gates of history, a step away from becoming a diplomatic legend. What followed instead was catastrophic. Hull’s failure to avoid the unspeakable horrors of war with Japan and its enormous consequences is described in the book. It was a war marked by a devastating human toll and immense financial costs. Hull’s aborted November 1941 diplomatic efforts in abandoning the modus vivendi proposal to Japan for a 3-month truce is a lesson in the failure of accountability for all those who aspire to leadership, for no one can become a successful leader without being fully accountable for her/her actions.  This failure, marked by Hull’s admission that he was turning the whole thing over the the Army and Navy, effectively amounted to his “throwing in the towel.”  It was a total failure in accountability for America’s top diplomat, a failure to follow through and explore all avenues for peace, played out on a world scale.  His unfortunate lack of vision at this most crucial moment in history may stamp him as one of the most shortsighted, even incompetent, secretaries of state to ever hold office.

The scuttling of the modus vivendi and the substitution of Hull’s November 26 memorandum, considered by the Japanese to be an ultimatum, was followed 11 days later by the attack on Pearl Harbor, a result it may be observed, consonant with the Administration’s previously adopted policy of waiting for Japan to strike the first blow.  This course of events may never have come to pass had there been vision by Hull in those dark days of November, 1941.  There was simply too much at stake in terms of averting the prospect of total war not to have fully explored all possible avenues of peace.

The onus for Hull’s failure also falls on President Roosevelt for not following through on his hand written blue print for a modus vivendi which had been personally delivered to Hull some days earlier, likely on November 20 after receiving the Japanese proposal on that date.

A press release was issued by the White House on December 1, 1943, following a conference in North Africa attended by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.  The press release stated in part that, “The Three Great Allies expressed their resolve to bring unrelenting pressure against their brutal enemies by sea, land and air…The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan… It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped … of all territories she has taken by violence and greed…With these objects in view the Three Allies…will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.”   This press release constituted mute evidence of the daunting task faced by the Allies in 1943 in fighting the war with Japan.

Arnold G. Regardie

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