10-12 December 1941

Indian troops

Indian troops

 

Basically the Japanese Blitzkrieg continued on for approximately another six months, but from here on out the Pacific War data will be titled by month and year.  I hope my efforts help to make the sequence of events for this historic era more clear.  Please remember the comment section is always looking for the stories you know.  No one should ever be forgotten!

FDR's fireside chats

FDR’s fireside chats

10 December – Roosevelt gave his ‘fireside chat’ on the radio to unite the citizens of the US against the Japanese, (despite the fact that every military enlistment post being full of volunteers).  But, even though the majority appeared to hold a favorable acceptance of avenging Pearl Harbor, there were sounds of discontent in Congress as to the reason America was caught by surprise.  The unity, instantly brought on by the attack in Hawaii, was at this point halted by the question – WHY?

No.2 Company, Bombay Sappers  (Engineers)

No.2 Company, Bombay Sappers (Engineers)

One Representative quoted the news correspondent, Leland Stowe in Chungking, “…it seems incomprehensible here how the Japs were able to get to the Army’s big airfields in Oahu and without large numbers of American fighters getting into the air promptly… On Sunday evening [Chungking time], at least one hour before the Japanese blitz on Hawaii, an official of the US gunboat “Tulitz” [Tutuila], warned your correspondent: It is going to happen tonight.'”

11 December – Adolph Hitler solved a major problem for President Roosevelt by declaring war on the United States.  If the president had been forced to act first, he would have risked losing support of a large portion of the country.

Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh’s entry into his diary for 11 December read: “Now all that I feared would happen has happened.  We are at war all over the world and we are unprepared for it from either a spiritual or a material standpoint.  And then what?  We haven’t even a clear idea of what we are fighting to attain.”

004

12 December – the British 18th Division and four squadrons of fighters were diverted to Bombay to strengthen the Indian divisions.  No matter how serious the setbacks became in the Far East, Churchill will remain steadfast in his belief that it did not deserve a fleet.  It was Britain’s third matter of priority at the onset and would remain so.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

A quote from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet of Japan told a friend, “…after more than 4 exhausting years of operations in China, we are now considering simultaneous operations against the US, Britain and China, and then operations against Russia as well.  It is the height of folly.”

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Humor –  courtesy of our fellow blogger Chris, found HERE! 

 

"Alright sailor!  Let's get that hat squared away!"

“Alright sailor! Let’s get that hat squared away!”

Navy training...

Navy training…

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jewell Coffindaffer – Charleston, WV; US Navy, WWII, SeaBees (grandson, MSgt. Vance is currently in Afghanistan)

Andrew Cunningham – W. Australia; RA Navy, HMAS Perth, Karangi, Nizam, Napier, Nepal & 4th WSLS Category (14 years)

Charles Dyer – Jupiter, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Billy Gourley – Shreveport, LA; US Army, Korea, Signal CorpsTaps

Michael Heitzman – Louisville, KY; US Air Force (Ret. 20 years)

Kenneth Raines – New Zealand; RNZ Navy # 1459, WWII

Jadwiga Szyrynski – Ottawa, CAN; Polish Army, nurse, WWII

Frank Torre – Brooklyn, NY & Jupiter FL; US Army, Korea, (MLB player)

Charles Weber – Bridgeville, PA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 21 years)

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 17, 2014, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed this as always and was struck by your point that the ‘far east’ was Churchill’s third priority – a whole other blog perhaps on that subject in the future?… The why or how of the Pearl harbour attack was allowed to happen is an interesting one during a week when an intruder hopped the fence and easily made it to the White House!

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    • I don’t know if I would be able to make an entire post out of Churchill’s decision, Carol, but pretty much the gist of it is: the Far East nations were colonies, to be governed and used for the Kingdom’s agenda at will. They were quite distant from England – Japan wasn’t about to bomb London. He seemed quite obsessed with keeping the Middle East out of Germany’s hands AND he felt, since Japan DID bomb US territory, it was America’s priority, (only if it didn’t interfere with helping the “Europe First” campaign.) The Far East was considered expendable.
      The break-in at the White House was rather a unique coincidence, wasn’t it? But, I don’t think the intruder had Pearl Harbor in mind. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There will always be many questions regarding the attack on Pearl Harbour, as to preparedness and warnings, questions that will remain unanswered.
    Emu aka Ian

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  3. Egads… You just HAD to post up FDR’s photo again! LOL

    Your mention of Stowe and the related quote shows one example how the “why” will never be acknowledged by the government publicly. As hatred of the Japanese was still high, the post-war Pearl Harbor Commission would never, ever introduce into evidence items that they believed would damage America’s love of FDR… nor would they interview KEY personnel that were at the heart of the pre-Pearl intelligence gathering.

    While Yamamoto never said the quote about “awakening a sleeping giant” made famous by Hollywood, he had a career military man’s insight on war. Unfortunately, he was part of the Imperial Japanese Navy who ranked below the Imperial Japanese Army with respect to power and status. He was simply overruled and did his duty when ordered to do so by Tokyo.

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    • Yamamoto did as any obedient serviceman does – obeys orders. He really did believe that hitting Pearl was a big mistake tho, so for once, Hollywood wasn’t too far off the mark in describing his feelings. You’ve also got it correct about the Commission! The pix of FDR shows just how “close” he was to the American public as he had his “fireside-chats.” Thanks for coming, Koji.

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  4. Yamamoto certainly knew Americans and how they would react to Pearl Harbor.

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  5. The timing of this post is good for me because the Roosevelt’s have been on the history channel this past week – guess cos 9/14 is was when Teddy took office after McKinley died – and I am from Buffalo and so I always like to see some of the old footage from that town.

    anyhow, liked the little things you always give us – Lindbergh’s journal note, the “height of folly” quote – and of course sailor cartoons.
    peace G

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    • Glad you got to see your city when it was young. I haven’t watched the series because I know without seeing it that the History Channel will in no way smear their idols. They will not include Teddy’s way of having his picture taken to imitate old wild west characters like Buffalo Bill or FDR’s scandal page that is a mile long. IMO – if you’re going to tell a story – tell all sides as best you can. America could use some REAL heroes today – not created ones. Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The name Andrew Cunninghm drew me for two reasons, first one , the one mentioned in your post as RAN the ship should bethe HMAS Perth, a light cruiser ( which happened to visit New York in 1939) and was sunk at the battle on Sunda Strait fighting alongside the USS Houston, which was also lost both ships with heavy loss of lives.

    The second Andrew Cunningham, was a Royal Navy Admiral during WWII know throughout the British Navies as ABC, those were his initials. He was regarded highly and was referred to as the 20th century Nelson. Whilst in command of the Mediterranean Station during WWII the US Fleet entering Gibraltar after their entry into the war famously sent a signal of greetings to ABC which was the custom (probably still is).

    I can’t remember the signal verbatum but it went like this “Greetings from the worlds largest navy to the worlds second largest navy’ to which Admiral Cunningham replied ” Greetings from the worlds best navy to the worlds second best navy” He then invited the US Admiral aboard his Flagship for a drink, the Royal Navy are not dry ships and the US Admiral couldn’t wait to join ABC for a tipple or two. True story.

    ABC finished his career as Admiral of The Fleet the Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope; I think or rather hope your American readers may be a little interested in this man, he was a great Admiral and received many awards and medals from many countries including the USA so here’s the Wikilink for those interested enough to read about an extraordinary sailor and warrior who was not a Yank;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Cunningham,_1st_Viscount_Cunningham_of_Hyndhope

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    • Thank you for noticing my typo – it has been corrected to The HMAS Perth – and for the information and link to Andrew Cunningham. I wish I could mention everyone, but even here where I’m only dealing with the Pacific War, there are so many – THAT’s why I depend on you readers and friends so much to help me fill in the gaps! You know your stuff Lord Beari of Bow!

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  7. I’m riveted, I’ve not read much from the American point of view, so this is giving me a fresh perspective.

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  8. ” … Personally, I believe the men volunteered for duty out of revenge for Pearl … ”

    And having volunteered are promptly led by geriatric generals and addled admirals who haven’t a bloody clue. So the first waves thrown into the breach to hold the line are sacrificial—antique planes flown by amateurs become sitting ducks for prepared professionals, men with bayonets are pitted against machine-guns across open ground. I remember those photos of Polish cavalry charging with pennons snapping etc etc against German tanks (and Ethiopian horsemen likewise against Italian armour).

    In such a scenario of surprise attack the guys who were surprised should be promptly demoted to dogsbody and thrown into the breach as frontline grunts to make room at the top for someone who can actually think. Ain’t gonna happen …

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    • I am not qualified to even give an educated guess as the beginnings of the ETO, so I’ll take your word for it, no problem. I can certainly see your point and agree with your closing line…ain’t gonna happen….

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  9. Hi – I found your blog through a recommendation on Dan Antion’s No Facilities blog. With colder weather setting in, I look forward to spending time scrolling back through your earlier posts. Thank you so much for providing such an informative resource and tribute. Many in my family have served in the military and fought in wars, and I have been a supporter of our deployed troops since the Iraq War under Pres. George H. W. Bush.

    Dad will finally talk about his WWII experiences with the Marines in the Pacific IF I ask him specific questions rather than an ambiguous “tell me about” approach. Your blog will help me with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was thinking the same thing as people now are asking the question ‘Why?’ Good article, Everett.

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  11. In my mind, the question “Why” is pure sensationalism. The question should be “How”, because it leads to understanding.

    We were unprepared for World War II, because we were isolationists. “The U.S. Army in 1939 ranked 17th in the world in size, consisting of slightly more than 200,000 Regular Army soldiers and slightly less than 200,000 National Guardsmen–all organized in woefully understrength and undertrained formations.” Col. John T. Nelson II. “General George C. Marshall: Strategic Leadership and the Challenges of Reconstituting the Army, 1939-41.” Strategic Studies Institute. (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/summary.cfm?q=358 : accessed 17 September 2014) When we read those number, we need to remember that in those days the Air Force was not an independent organization. It was part of the U.S. Army. We should also remember that the U.S. Army at the start of World War II was moribund — led by officers long grown accustomed to a life style of garrison duty. Consider how many survived the start of the war, how many were supplanted by long-serving junior officers.

    A lot of books and magazine articles have been written about “Why”. They sell well. The “How” of it, though, seems to generate less enthusiasm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think because no one really wants to know “HOW.” It brings us to the conclusion and bottom line that no one is ever really safe. The link you supplied is excellent and I thank you for going to that trouble for us. Marshall, for not being well-known or influential in 1939, certainly turned things around rather quickly. Like the article stated, Marshall was in the front of the “Europe First” campaign, that might have been why FDR liked him so much.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. For all of the isolationism before the attack, my impression (from what my parents and others who lived through that period said or say) is that Americans quickly rallied behind the flag because they understood we were fighting for the life of the nation, that it wasn’t a sure win in the early years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At first, some people did panic and believe the Japanese were going to attack the west coast. I have not read anywhere that others felt the same, but of course, it’s only logical. Personally, I believe the men volunteered for duty out of revenge for Pearl – no one wants to see their country attacked.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lindbergh was at least half wrong. The brave men and women of that generation (generations I guess is a better term) were prepared in spirit for that war. All it took was the call. No matter the reason, when called upon, they rose to the occasion. Maybe we didn’t have the political will or maybe the political will was behind a twisted agenda, but the people who served can’t be faulted.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Why is still the question people are asking…

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