4 December 1941
General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson is appointed to take command of a new 9th Army
The Polish Government in London and the Soviet Union sign a declaration of friendship in Moscow
4 December 1941 - History
Subject: JAPANESE INTELLIGENCE AND PROPAGANDA IN THE UNITED STATES DURING 1941.
Note: Prepared by the Counter Subversion Section, Office of Naval Intelligence, from information received from various sources.
The Kurusu mission to Washington represents the culmination of a year of intense activity which has streamlined Japanese espionage patterns, conditioned programs of sabotage and determined the character and extent of their propaganda launched throughout this hemisphere.
As Ambassador to Berlin, Kurusu signed the Tripartite Pact of September 1940, but it is said that he did so with no great enthusiasm. A top-flight diplomat, he has also been Japanese Consul in New York, Chicago, and Honolulu, as well as Consul General in Manila. In 1929 he was Minister to Chile and for seven years thereafter served in Tokyo as a director of the Commercial Bureau of the Foreign Office.
Methods of Operation and Points of Attack
With tension growing between the United States and Japan, the Japanese Government decided its system for securing information was inadequate to meet a situation involving war. As early as February, 1941 and coincident with the arrival of the new ambassador Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, diplomatic and consular representatives were instructed to reorganize and strengthen the intelligence network in this country and to relax the former policy of "cultural propaganda and enlightenment".
Designed to continue in operation, even in the event diplomatic and commercial relations between the two countries were severed, an intelligence machine geared for war was put into operation. As a preliminary measure, Japanese representatives in the United States were instructed to maintain constant watch over American politics, as well as over the economic and social activities of representatives of the U.S.S.R. in this country, particularly as they affect Latin America. For this work, the Japanese planned not only to hire Americans but also to send competent "researchers" from Japan. A decision was also made to spread as much political propaganda as possible throughout the United States by means of personal contacts with members of the press and persons influential in American politics and business.
The focal point of the Japanese Espionage effort is the determination of the total strength of the United States. In anticipation of possible open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii. To this end, surveys are being made of persons and organizations opposing U. S. intervention int he present European War, and close attention is being paid to all anti-Jewish, Communist, Negro and Labor Movements.
Although not yet fully developed, this new Espionage organization is characterized by a a high degree of decentralization. The activity of the Military and Naval section, which is divided into a number of different groups, is supplemented by the work of independent agents, and the general pattern includes individuals, small groups and commercial organizations functioning separately and energetically. In the background lies the Imperial Japanese Government exercising direct control over individuals and organizations through the Embassy and the Consulates.
The new program envisages the use of citizens of foreign extraction, aliens, communists, negroes, labor union members, anti-semites, and individuals having access to Government departments, experimental laboratories, factories, transportation facilities, and governmental organizations of various kinds. Nisei (second generation) Japanese and alien Japanese residents have not been overlooked. Realizing, however, that its nationals in this country would be subject to prosecution "in the event of a slip," the Japanese Government has advised extreme caution in their employment.
In the event of open hostilities, Mexico will probably be the Japanese Intelligence nerve center in the Western Hemisphere, and in anticipation of war, U. S. - Mexican Intelligence routes are being established. This network, covering Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and the Central American countries, will come together in Mexico City, and Japanese co-operation with the German and Italian Intelligence organizations is expected. Such co-operation has been discussed in Tokyo with representatives of the Axis powers and the plan is said to have been approved by them.
At the present time, the District of Columbia, New York City, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle are the espionage centers in the United States with Mexicali, Baja California and Vancouver, British Columbia important boundary outposts.
As an incident of the treaty with the Axis powers, all possible avenues by which mutual benefit could be achieved began to be explored. Instructions were sent to all diplomatic and consular missions to maintain close contact with officials of Germany and Italy for purposes of exchanging information and encourage friendships between citizens of the three nations who were living abroad.
A recent investigation conducted in New York City disclosed that Takeo Ezima and Kanegoro Koike, Japanese Naval Officers attached to the Naval Inspector's Office, were co-operating with German espionage agents by accepting confidential data for transmittal to Germany by way of Japan.
On October 19, 1940, instructions were issued from Germany by shortwave radio for a German agent in the United States to contact E. Sato at the NIPPON CLUB in New York City. He made unsuccessful attempts to comply with these instructions until October 31, 1940 when another radio message was received from Germany directing that these efforts be discontinued.
Germany radioed again on May 18, 1941 asking whether its agent in the United States was prepared to turn over material, inscribed "Sato from Staemer", on May 22, 1941, to E. Sato in the Miyako Restaurant, 20 East 56th Street, New York City. The message also indicated that further meetings should be agreed upon and that this method of transmitting material was safe.
Shortly thereafter, two German agents in the United States complied with these instructions and established contact with an individual who gave his name as Kato. After identifying themselves, they were taken by him to a Japanese restaurant at 41 East 19th Street, New York City, where they occupied a private room. Kato there identified himself as Lt. Commander Takeo Ezima, I.J.N. and took from them a number of items for transmittal to Germany by way of Japan. These items consisted of information developed through the activities of the German Espionage system in the United States, some of which had been microfilmed. However, the original physical articles such as ammunition, a drawing of a hydraulic unit with pressure switch A-5 of the Sperry Gyroscope and an original drawing from the Lawrence Engineering and Research Corporation of a soundproofing installation were also turned over to Ezima on this occasion.
Immediately following a meeting on June 24, 1941, when Ezima received a number of microphotographs of material obtained by German espionage agents, he contacted Kanegoro Koike, Paymaster Commander of the Japanese Imperial Navy, assigned to the Office of the Japanese Naval Inspector in New York City. At the request of the State Department, Ezima was not prosecuted. however, he sailed for Japan on July 5, 1941, and Kanegoro Koike followed on August 14, 1941.
Reports from the middle west indicate that German and Japanese nationals are carrying on espionage activities through their control of re-insurance companies who underwrite insurance carried by National Defense Industries. Although they appear to be owned and operated by Americans, the largest re-insurance companies in the world are German owned.
In the summer of this year, the German Consul Fritz Wiedemann was said to have been considerably perturbed because Japanese steamship lines were not co-operating with him in evacuating German nationals from the United States. He was particularly incensed over the refusal of the NYK Steamship Company to grant accommodations to Karl Anton Bayer and claimed that the failure of the Japanese Consul General to override the Captain of the boat gave the Germans grounds for suspicion that the Japanese were working against them. Additional reports of friction were received from Shanghai where it was stated that the Japanese were generally hated by the Germans. However, German war vessels were know to have been overhauled in the ports of Nagasaki and Kobe and there has been a certain amount of trade in metals between the Germans living in Mexico and Japan.
German-Japanese conferences were scheduled to take place in Havana early in September, and it was reported that they would be attended by such important Germans as Wiedemann, Vanspiegel and Arthur Dietrich.
As early as May 1941, the Office of Naval Intelligence became aware that the Japanese Government was establishing connections with influential Negroes in this country for the purpose of studying the negro movement. A short time later it became apparent that representatives of the Japanese Government in the United States were attempting to organize the Negroes for the purpose of retarding National Defense efforts and to commit sabotage. In furtherance of this project, the Japanese expect to take advantage of the political strength of such organizations as the NEGRO CONGRESS, THE NEGRO ALLIANCE, and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE.
The Japanese decision to utilize this minority group for their own advantage was first manifest in the latter part of 1940 when the government in Tokyo financed the opening of a news service for negro newspapers by a negro literary critic named Utley. According to reliable reports, Utley has had relatively good results in stimulating subversive activities among the negroes.
A Japanese by the name of Hikida (probably K. Hikida of 257 W. 85th Street, New York City) is the most intimate contact with negro groups and their leaders. Reported to be a well-to-do research worker and writer, he led a round-table discussion on the Negro problem in the office of the Japanese Naval Inspector in New York City in December 1938. Since then, he is reported to have received grants of money from the Consul General in New York City to carry on propaganda among the Negroes in an effort to organize them.
The District of Columbia is the focal point of this particular branch of the Japanese Espionage system because nearly all Negro organizations have their headquarters in this city. However, Hikida's organization in New York will receive strong support for the purpose of encouraging its rapid expansion, and when organizations in both cities are working satisfactorily, attention will be turned to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.
Japanese authorities are watching closely the Negroes who are employed in defense production plants, naval stations, and other military establishments, particularly in the naval bases at Norfolk, Va., Philadelphia, Pa., and Brooklyn, N.Y. They plan to organize skilled and unskilled workmen in these cities to secure military and naval information for the Japanese Government.
In the summer of 1941, a closer association between young Japanese and young Negroes in the San Francisco Bay area was observed. Meetings have been held at the Mikado Grill, 1699 Post Street, San Francisco, Calif. but no definite connections between these mixed groups and Japanese Government representatives have been established. Such mixed parties are known to have gone to Oakland, Calif., to attend meetings of the Nisei Young Democratic Club.
In propagandizing the Negroes, the Japanese are utilizing the services of J. H. Smythe and Walker Matteson. Because of his success in arousing negro opinion, Smythe has been put in charge of the column "Behind the Headlines" for negro publications and both men will be used for editorializing.
Suppression of Axis organizations has caused a shift of totalitarian support to nationalist Latin American groups and these are employed to create unrest with the ultimate object of destroying Pan-American solidarity.
For years it has been a well established fact that Nazi, Fascist, and Falange agents are co-operating extensively in their espionage activities, and it now appears that the Japanese as well as the Germans and Italians are making increasing use of members of Falange organizations because of the limitations on their own connections and activities throughout the Americas.
The present organization of the Falange Party dates from April 18, 1937 when General Franco was chosen as its leader. One day later, he announced that the Falange would be the one and only official party in Spain. In direct opposition to Pan-Americanism and the Monroe Doctrine, the basic aim of this group is the restoration of the Spanish Empire of the days before the defeat of the Spanish Armada. This group, together with Nazi and Fascist organizations, is believed to subsidize financially the Union Nacional de Sinarquistas, generally known as "Sinarquistas", which was organized in Mexico in 1936. Drawing its membership and support from the Peons and lower middle-class Mexicans, it is opposed by the Mexican Federal Authorities as well as by labor unions in that country.
According to the terms of an agreement signed by Berlin, Madrid, and Tokyo, the Philippine Falange is coupled with that in Japan and instead of being a German, its chief is Japanese. The Spanish Board for the Philippines is subordinate to the Spanish Embassy at Tokyo and also has a Japanese Councilor.
In the summer of 1941, it became apparent that the Japanese Government was interested in the Silver Shirts Movement in the United States. Kazuyoshi Inagaki, attached to the office of the Japanese Consul General in San Francisco has been mentioned as a Government contact man in the west coast area, and Totaro Iwasaki, an alien Japanese, is also reported as having made inquiries about the status of this group. The Japanese Government appears to be interested in acquiring detailed information about the movement with particular emphasis on its world views and the personal and intellectual capacities of its members.
It appears that Tokyo wishes to use this political group as a means of establishing "Justice" in the United States. If, after a thorough investigation, it is found that Iwasaki has the proper background and training, he will be sent to Japan at Government expense in connection with the movement.
In the spring of 1941, the Japanese Government indicated that in the event of war with the U.S., labor unions would become a major political factor in obstructing the unification of this country. With that in mind, Japanese officials here were instructed to contact leaders of labor unions, the Communist party, Socialist groups and other anti-Roosevelt movements. In this connection, the Japanese are studying the possibility of using a self-exiled Japanese socialist now living at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His name is believed to be Oyama (O. Oyama or Iku Oyama).
For many years, the Japanese have maintained an extensive organization in the United States to gather intelligence information and to disseminate propaganda. Information of a commercial and political nature has normally been collected by the various consulates which also carry on propaganda under the direction of the Embassy in Washington. Numerous agents have been employed at various times to supplement this work and military and naval information has been gathered by groups of Army and Navy officers and technical experts attached to the Office of the Japanese Army Ordnance Inspector and the Japanese Naval Inspector's Office in New York City. Regular military and naval attaches have also contributed to the pool of information, as have the personnel of Japanese business organizations located throughout the United States. In general, although much information of a military and naval character has been obtained, the system as a whole has been effective only in producing data of a general nature and in disseminating propaganda favorable to the Japanese point of view.
The military and naval espionage system is organized into more than one independent de-centralized machine. Information sought may be classified as professional, commercial, domestic, and political, and while the duty of each section is practically the same, the detection and destruction of one group will in no way lead to the destruction of the remaining ones.
In addition to the organized machines operating under their respective chiefs, there are many individual agents whose trail will never be picked up. If they are apprehended, they can never be proved to be anything but irresponsible individuals operating without pay, authority, or direction. It is also well to remember that every Japanese commercial organization is an actively functioning information unit for the Japanese Government. Their normal business activities are nationwide, as are their contacts, and the Japanese Government exercises direct control over these groups through its Embassy in Washington as well as through its many consulates.
The Second Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, Hidenari Terasaki, was reportedly charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating and directing Intelligence operations in the United States. Morita Morishima, Japanese Consul General at New York City, is the directing head of the New York unit, and there is the possibility that the Washington and New York units may be combined into one agency with the latter as the "nerve center".
In March, 1941 a meeting was held at the Japanese Embassy to formulate new policies concerning intelligence activities. A decision was made to carry out a most vigorous and comprehensive program and the Embassy requested an allotment of $500,000 for its development during the year.
In reorganizing the Espionage Network and pursuing a new Propaganda policy, Japanese officials decided to dismiss immediately all persons of little value to divert the most capable persons currently being used for the dissemination of propaganda into intelligence collecting and espionage activity and to transfer to the JAPAN INSTITUTE the most effective groups and persons in their employ. Because of "freezing legislation" which brought about a shortage of funds available for distribution to civilian personnel, salaries and expense funds were also streamlined.
Pursuant to this program, the "Culture on Wheels" Library was transferred to the JAPAN INSTITUTE which was also made responsible for the distribution of propaganda films. Operated for several years by Helmut Ripperger, an American citizen who registered with the Department of State as a propaganda agent for the Japanese Government, this reference library carried propaganda by truck to various parts of the U. S., concentrating particularly on American colleges and universities. Until recently, Ripperger received approximately $1,300 a month from the Consulate General in New York City. The JAPAN INSTITUTE is an affiliate of the KOKUSAI BUNKA SHINKOKAI (Society for the Promotion of International Cultural Relations) in Tokyo, a powerful quasi-official propaganda organization, international in scope.
Early in July, it was disclosed that the Japanese were financing the "Living Age" Magazine. At that time its backers decided to sell it and ceased publication in September. If a purchaser is not found soon, the organization will probably go into bankruptcy.
Publication of the "Foreign Observer" was discontinued during the summer the distribution of films through the Y.M.C.A. and other agencies is to be discontinued as soon as present contracts have expired plans for publishing propaganda booklets in connection with the World-Over Year Book have been scrapped the English edition of the Japanese American newspaper has been temporarily suspended the Japanese subsidy of the Globe Wireless Company has been withdrawn. In addition, in accordance with the policy of utilizing to better advantage the services of its propagandists, two lecturers for the JAPAN INSTITUTE, Arthur Clifford Reed and Arthur Donald Bate, are in reality being used as espionage agents.
Approximately one year ago, Japanese Consulates on the West Coast began to collect information about the movement of British, French and American naval and air forces, stressing the importance of having eye witnesses make reports. At the same time, it was suggested in Tokyo that a naval officer be assigned to each consulate in the United States as a "clerk" to secure information for the Naval Ministry.
The officer in charge of intelligence at the Embassy in Washington, was designated "Press Attache". His duties include investigation and the gathering of secret information on the division of American public opinion about Japanese-American relations.
In accordance with instructions to pay particular attention to German and Italian fifth column activities, the Japanese studied the reactions of German and Italian Americans in the recent Presidential Election and the attitude of the Communist party at that time.
In accordance with its new Espionage policy, the Japanese have established an organization in Latin America to evaluate U.S. public opinion as well as our military and diplomatic situation. Its function is to collect and evaluate information obtained from the offices and personnel of American ministries in Latin America to study the effectiveness of American and Latin American printed matter and radio broadcasts and to secure information from offices of third powers in Latin America as well as from individuals in government offices in those countries.
In this connection, it is interesting to note that the Foreign Office in Tokyo has announced the reassignment of Hidenari Terasaki to the Legation in Brazil.
Close attention is being paid to the selection of spies by all Japanese representatives in the Americas. They are particularly anxious to obtain the services of any informants who have been seamen, in order to place them in the employ of steamship companies, and are prepared to spend large sums of money for this purpose. They have advised extreme caution in making selections since they believe FBI makes a practice of trying to get its men into confidential positions in the offices of the Axis Powers. The importance of broadcasts is also stressed and a modified radio monitoring system is envisaged. Leading U.S. newspapers and magazines are carefully scrutinized and efforts are made to obtain detailed information about Panama. To this end, telegraphic sections of all offices concerned are being expanded, sources of information open to Domei News Agencies and other special correspondents tapped and indirect used of Spanish and Portuguese language correspondents is being made. The Japanese plan to keep abreast of current U.S. economic conditions through their merchants.
In the event German and Italian diplomatic officers are ordered out of the country before the Japanese, Tokyo plans to take over confidential informants used by Axis representatives. These informants are not limited to Latin Americans but include those living in Spain and Portugal.
Continental United States
In June 1941, after the Tachibana Espionage Case was exposed to the public, the Japanese consulates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle were instructed to observe the movements of American warships, to gather other information of interest to the Japanese Navy, and to cable it to Tokyo without delay. This action was taken because the activities of Japanese Naval Representatives (Language Officers) in the United States had been suppressed by the U.S. authorities in a series of "incidents", and there was a shortage of naval personnel to do this work.
In reporting progress in the U.S. shipbuilding industry to the Foreign Minister in Tokyo, an espionage agent in this country stated that "America is moving heaven and earth in her Defense Program."
In an effort to establish an integrated intelligence organization in the Southern California area, Japanese authorities are intensifying their efforts to establish contacts. Dr. Ken Nakazawa, who is Professor of Japanese Culture and Oriental Studies at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, is actively engaged in this work. An attache of the Los Angeles Japanese Consulate, as well as an Aide for Japanese propaganda, he is investigating and summarizing first hand information as well as newspaper reports about military movements, labor disputes, communist activities, and other matters of interest to the Government in Tokyo.
Working through white persons as well as Negroes and maintaining close relationships with Japanese Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and newspapers, this group is attempting to keep aeroplane manufacturing plants, military and naval establishments under close surveillance. Its members have already added to the ranks of this group reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego areas who will keep a close watch on all shipments of aeroplanes and other war materials, and will report the amounts and destinations of such shipments. In addition, observers have been stationed to watch traffic in war materials across the U.S. - Mexican border.
Reports of activities within the United States Army are sought from second generation Japanese in that branch of the armed services, and although the information has not yet been confirmed, there are reports which indicate second generation Japanese are working in west coast aeroplane plants for intelligence purposes.
Prominent Americans and Japanese connected with the motion picture industry have been employed by the Consular Intelligence Network to investigate anti-Jewish movements in this country, particularly on the West Coast, and influential Negroes have kept this group currently informed about the negro movement.
Yoshiaki Miura, Japanese Minister in Mexico City, has been the head of the Japanese Intelligence Network in Mexico and Central America. In June, 1941, Kiyoshi Yamagata, traveling Ambassador, conferred with Miura about plans for organizing the Mexico City office on a wartime basis. During the same month, Yamagata held a conference with Fujio Kato, Japanese Consul at Mexicali. Kato told Yamagata that due to the predominance of American influence in that area and the fact that its many Japanese inhabitants were uneducated, personnel and funds should be supplied to operate Mexicali only as a branch intelligence center. They both agreed that in spite of the difficulty in carrying on their work in a border city with a population of only 15,000 persons, work there would prove useful providing the intelligence network in Los Angeles and vicinity was well organized and particularly if the Japanese Government found it necessary to withdraw its officials from the United States. As a result, Yamagata recommended that connections be established at once between Los Angeles and Mexicali.
In this region also, there is considerable evidence that Japanese agents have put into operation their new policies of espionage.
Kanji Kaneko, Chancellor of the Japanese Consulate at Seattle, is in charge of Intelligence and has been collecting information from second generation Japanese draftees on matters dealing with troops and morale in the United States Army.
Labor unions and political organizations in this area appear to have been intensely utilized by the Japanese. The legal representative of the Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union (C.I.O. Local #7 in Seattle) is a second generation lawyer whose name is Kenji Ito. Legal Adviser to the Japanese Consulate in Seattle, he has been active in the collection of information about anti-government organizations and the anti-Jewish movement. It is worth noting that this particular union is composed of about 70% Filipinos and 30% Japanese.
Shoji ("Welly") Okamaru, an American born Japanese with dual citizenship, is head of a unit which contacts labor unions in search of Communist Party members. For the past six or seven years, he has acted as a Secretary of the Japanese Consulate at Seattle, but was promoted to Consular Assistant in June, 1940. He has as an associate an alien Japanese who is active in the labor movement as a committee chairman and organizer.
Before war broke out between Germany and Russia, communist machinists of German origin who are members of labor organizations at the Bremerton Navy Yard and Boeing Aeroplane factories, were supplying information to Japanese authorities. This is but another example of the effort Tokyo is making to obtain information on military efforts, construction of ships, aeroplane production, production of copper, zinc, aluminum, yield of tin from cans and labor resources through competent Americans.
Such efforts were supplemented until July, 1941 by the activities of Lieutenant Commander Sadatomo Okada of the Imperial Japanese Navy. He, like Commander Itaru Tachibana, who operated from Los Angeles, was requested by the State Department to leave the country because of his espionage activities in the Pacific Northwest.
Information on political questions is sought by the Japanese in this area, from John Sylvester, speaker of the lower house in the state of Washington, Ralph Horr, chairman of the Republican Party's local committee, and Daniel Trefethen, who is a strong Catholic layman.
Although their reliability has not been ascertained, reports have been received which indicate that the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver, B. C., is endeavoring to employ Canadians to visit Alaska to obtain information on land and sea-plane bases in the Yukon, the strength of military supplies and personnel in that area, the distribution, location, and quantity of heavy oil, and progress of base construction in Fairbanks, Seward, Anchorage, and Kodiak. Tokyo is also said to be interested in having a description of dry-docks, data on troops and arsenals in the vicinity of Kodiak and the number of war craft visiting Alaska during the past year. Further, they would like to have a confirmation or denial of the fact of U.S. troops crossing Canada from Fort Haynes to Alaska and their construction of a military road. The Japanese are particularly anxious to determine whether roads are being built to carry heavy oil from Fort Nelson to Alaska.
Out of a population of 423,330 in the Hawaiian Islands, there are 157,905 Japanese, approximately one third of which are aliens. Japanese are known to organize for every conceivable purpose, and social, civic, educational and religious societies have existed in the Hawaiian Islands from the time of the earliest Japanese migrations. It is believed that every Japanese resident in Hawaii belongs to one or more purely Japanese organizations. However, only the more important groups are of interest, since they are in a position to engage in espionage, sabotage and other acts inimical to the best interests of the U. S.
A study of these organizations discloses interesting inter-relations through duplication of activity and plurality of position held by many individuals. For example, a Buddhist priest may be the principal of a Japanese language school as well as a consular agent or an officer or member of an organization appearing in another category.
Each of these groups is at least strongly influenced if not directly controlled by similar ones in Japan. The consular organization is obviously controlled by the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and religious sects are supervised from headquarters in Japan, which in turn are under governmental domination.
The center of the consular organization, as well as of alien Japanese activity, is the Japanese Consul General at Honolulu under the direction of Consul General Nagao Kita. For purposes of disseminating instructions of news, it is said to utilize the services of prominent organizations as the United Japanese Society of Honolulu, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, the Hilo Japanese Chamber of Commerce as well as the Hilo Japanese Society and the Japanese Language Press.
By far the largest and most diversified group under the direction of the Consulate General is that of the "Consular Agents" or "Toritsuginin". Two hundred and nineteen of these agents are located geographically so as to form a comprehensive information system for the Consulate General throughout the Hawaiian Islands. These men are well educated American born and alien Japanese above average in intelligence. Many of them are non-quota aliens operating as Buddhist priests and principals or teachers in Japanese language schools. Scattered throughout the Island, these agents have denied being under the control of the Consul General, and there are none located in the City of Honolulu.
The Buddhist and Shinto sects, the Japanese language schools and civic and commercial societies are powerful propaganda agencies because of the nature of their work with the Japanese community and the fact that their business is carried on usually in the Japanese language.
Each community in the Hawaiian Islands where there are Japanese residents has one or more Buddhist temples or preaching places (Fukkyojo). Because of respect which the Japanese have for priests, they are readily influenced by these men who hold services in accordance with Japanese custom. In this connection, many Buddhist and Shinto priests are non-quota aliens who have lived in the Islands a comparatively short time.
The Japanese educational system in the Territory of Hawaii centers around the Hawaiian Japanese Language School Association. This is an organization composed of representatives or directors from each of fourteen districts. These districts or sub-groups all carry distinct titles and in turn are composed of teachers from the individual schools and school boards under their jurisdiction. In this connection, it should be noted that while the majority of male teachers are alien, many of the citizen teachers were also educated in Japan. Almost invariably, school principals are aliens and frequently they are Buddhist priests.
At the present time, more than 39,000 pupils attend Japanese schools in Hawaii.
Of nineteen newspapers and magazines printed in the Japanese language, the NIPPU JIJI and the HAWAII HOCHU, published daily at Honolulu, are of principal importance. All of the news organs, however, carry pro-Japanese editorials and news items from time to time.
Head of the Japanese Espionage Network on the West Coast during 1940 was Commander Itaru Tachibana, IJN, who came to the United States as a language officer. Following his arrest in 1941 for violation of the espionage statutes, he was released on $50,000 bond and finally left the country in June, 1941 at the request of the State Department.
Other Japanese Naval Officers involved in this subversive group were Lieutenant Commander Sadatomo Okada, Commander Iwao Arisaka, Lieutenant Commander Sadayoshi Nakayama and Engineer Lieutenant Wataru Yamada. Okada and Yamada, like Tachibana, were requested to leave the U. S. because their activities were considered to be inimical to the safety of this country, and Commander Arisaka and Lieutenant Commander Nakayama sailed suddenly from New York for Brazil in July, 1941.
Prominent among the organizations which were apparently furnishing information to the Japanese Government through Tachibana were the NIPPON KAIGUN KYOKAI (Japanese Navy Association), the SAKURA KAI (Cherry Association) and the SUIKO SHA (Reserve Officers Club).
The many ramifications of Tachibana's activities were disclosed by translating into English numerous Japanese papers, documents, and reports which were seized by the F.B.I. at the time of his arrest at the Olympic Hotel in Los Angeles.
Part of the material seized consisted of the records of the North American branch of the JAPANESE NAVY ASSOCIATION (Nippon Kaigun Kyokai). With headquarters in Tokyo, this organization has as its chief objectives the dissemination of information about navies of other countries and the development of Japanese Naval strength. To this end, it has established investigating agencies to study domestic and foreign navies, maritime transportation and other maritime matters. Investigation disclosed that members of the Japanese Navy Association had been working in collaboration with rank officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy stationed in Los Angeles, and it appears that Tachibana, who was collecting intelligence for the benefit of the Japanese Navy, was assisted by the investigating branch of that association.
Among Tachibana's effects was found considerable correspondence from Dr. Takishi Furusawa, director of the Los Angeles Suiko Sha, which is an organization composed of officers and reserve officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. He and his wife, Mrs. Sachiko Furusawa, appear to be the directive force behind this organization. Both of them are exceedingly prominent in Japanese affairs.
The names of Dr. Kijima Amano, secretary of the Sakura Kai, Shunten Kumamoto, president of the Los Angeles Japanese Association and Gengoro Nakamura, president of the Central Japanese Association of California, also appear among Tachibana's papers and it is interesting to note that all of them, including the Furusawas, are on the research committee of the Sakura Kai.
During the course of investigation of the activities of Dr. Furusawa and the Japanese Navy Association, a large amount of evidentiary material was uncovered indicating a probable violation of federal statutes. As a result, the FBI is conducting a vigorous investigation of this association at the present time.
Tachibana's correspondence also included the names of representatives of a few of the important Japanese language newspapers such as the RAFU SHIMPO (Los Angeles News), KASHU MAINICHI (California Daily), and the NANKA SANGYO NIPPO (Southern California Industrial Daily News).
Reports from Hawaii indicate that the Japanese are resorting to subterfuge to convince Americans that expatriation is reducing the number of dual citizens in that territory. Recently, the acting Japanese Consul General announced that he had asked the Foreign Office for additional employees to handle the increasing number of expatriation applications received by the Consulate in Honolulu. He stated that more than four hundred such applications are submitted each month and that a marked increase has been noted during the past eight months. It is worth noting, however, that the total number of expatriations in 1940 was only slightly higher than the figure for 1933.
Formal expatriation of Japanese citizenship, heretofore required of public school teachers as a condition precedent to their continued employment in the Territory of Hawaii, was recently relaxed in the case of American citizens of Japanese ancestry who are not registered with the Japanese Government. This action was reported to be the result of intercession on the part of the Hawaiian-Japanese Civic Association of Honolulu.
Out of a total Japanese population of 320,000 in the United States and its possessions, it is estimated that more than 127,000 have dual citizenship. This estimate is based on the fact that more than 52% of American born Japanese fall into this category. In the Territory of Hawaii alone, dual citizens constitute approximately 35% of the total Japanese population.
Recently, a petition carrying over 30,000 signatures was submitted to the Secretary of State requesting this government to negotiate a more simplified expatriation procedure with the Japanese Government. Many people who signed this petition were already expatriated and it appears that the emphasis of the campaign was on obtaining an imposing number of signatures to the petition rather than to represent the real desires of dual citizens. [lined in margin]
Expatriation is almost universally opposed by the parents of dual citizens who claim that for the names of their children to be struck from the family register is an affront to their ancestors and an act of disloyalty to Japan.
The present Japanese Nationality Law of 1924, which liberalized the process of expatriation, was announced as a result of representations made by a group of Hawaiian Japanese who went to Japan especially for that purpose. It would seem that if the Japanese were sincere in their desire to facilitate expatriation at this time, they would follow the method previously so successfully employed. The fact that they now call upon the State Department to intervene with the Japanese Government on their behalf and surround the campaign with a fanfare of publicity, gives rise to the belief that those behind the present movement are deliberately trying to portray the dual citizens of Hawaii as the unwilling possessors of Japanese citizenship. ["ha!" written in margin]
It is worth noting that the various expatriation campaigns have coincided with junctures in American-Japanese relations or with the development of local issues which tend to bring the Japanese racial situation sharply into focus. This recent campaign in the Territory of Hawaii is believed to have arisen from the questioning of Japanese candidates about their citizenship status during the recent Territorial elections.
Residents in the United States and Hawaii have had 18 years in which to renounce their Japanese allegiance. The fact that comparatively few have done so negates the supposition that they now desire to cast off their Japanese citizenship as an expression of their Americanism.
Recently it was brought to the attention of the Office of Naval Intelligence that out of a total of 198 postal employees in Honolulu, 51 have dual citizenship and that the foreman in the registry section, Ernest Hirokawa, is an alien Japanese. As a result of this discovery the registered mail for the fleet stationed in Hawaiian waters is now routed directly to the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard as a security measure.
Japanese residents in the United States, especially dual citizens, have been urged to return to Japan to do military service with the armed forces of that country. In some cases even expatriated citizens of Japanese ancestry have been encouraged to do this while visiting Japan. All male Japanese citizens are eligible for military duty during the so-called "military age" (Tekirei Nendo) which is the year following that in which they reach their twentieth birthday.
Considerable evidence exists of such pressure being brought to bear on dual citizens and even expatriated citizens of Japanese ancestry who are in Japan as students or workers. In this connection, a certain Kazuichi Hashimoto of Terminal Island, California is reported to have taken a group of forty young Japanese to Japan, ostensibly for the purpose of teaching them fencing. However, it is suspected that these young people were taken to Japan for military duty. [lined in margin]
Once each year, local Japanese consulates publish announcements in Japanese language newspapers concerning registration and deferment applications. Japanese males living abroad who have retained their Japanese citizenship, but who have already been excused from military duty, must nevertheless submit reports of residence. Those who wish to be deferred, upon reaching military age, must execute a "Deferment Application for Residents Abroad".
It is important to note that the categories of those eligible for military service in Japan include males with dual citizenship (Japanese born in the United States after 1924 whose birth was registered with the Japanese Consulate within fourteen days). Under Japanese law, these persons are just as liable to answer to the military authorities as are full Japanese citizens.
Toward the end of 1940, the Government in Tokyo conducted a national and international census. All persons of Japanese ancestry were required to fill out questionnaires, even those United States citizens of Japanese ancestry who had expatriated themselves. [double-lined in margin]
A heavy traffic of telegrams, radios, and cables has been noted between the Japanese Ministry of Marine in Tokyo, and the various Naval Attaches and Inspectors in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
There is strong evidence that the Naval Attache's Office in Washington operates a short wave sending and receiving set disguised as an "Amateur Station", and that it is linked to the numerous "Ham" stations known to be operated by Japanese on the West Coast and in Hawaii. This fact has yet to be proved, but the interest shown by the Naval Inspector for Radio in New York City seems to be a bit out of the ordinary. In addition, leads from a radio transmitting antenna enter the building of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, and one of the Embassy clerks recently made an unsuccessful attempt to secure an amateur radio operator's license.
In addition to radio and cable, the Naval Attache has at his disposal the service of the diplomatic mail pouch. However, it is evident that the Naval Attache relies on his own couriers to transmit items between this country and Japan. It is believed that the greater part of this service is concerned with sending to Japan samples, charts, models, reports and other documents which are not entrusted to the usual mail and express service.
An analysis of the itineraries of visiting officials and certain language officers indicates a systematic and periodic movement between strategic points throughout this country. Language officers are used for transcontinental officer-messenger service only when there is no "visiting officer" available. Their primary function is to collect and distribute information to agents located in various key cities throughout the country. If no naval personnel are aboard incoming or outgoing Japanese ships, a language officer will contact the Captain (who is a Naval Reserve Officer) to receive and send Naval Attache mail.
Confidential mail service between the Japanese Embassy and the Naval Attache in Ottawa, Canada appears to be indicated by the regularity of officer travel between Washington and Buffalo. Likewise, at frequent intervals, officers are sent from Washington to Miami, New Orleans, Houston and return.
While in Miami, they invariably fly to Havana and return the same day. On the West Coast, a language officer from Los Angeles or Seattle, frequently travels up and down the Coast from Vancouver, B.C. to Tiajuana, Mexico for no apparent reason unless it is to contact agents to collect and distribute information. On occasion, the West Coast language officer will travel from Los Angeles to Chicago and return via Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. On the East Coast, an officer frequently goes from Washington to Chicago via New York and Cleveland. It would appear therefore, that Chicago is the meeting place for officers stationed on the East and West Coasts.
Secret funds in cash are maintained by the Japanese Embassy and Consulates for the purchase of intelligence information from civilian agents who report directly to consular agents and representatives.
While the Naval Inspector's Office was in operation, it was primarily interested in obtaining detailed technical information which could be used to advantage by the Japanese Navy. Disbursements of this office in New York City alone amounted to approximately $500,000 a month, but aside from fuel oil, the purchases were all nominal and varied. They covered aircraft parts, radio, electric equipment, tools and accessories which were apparently obtained for purposes of examination only.
Archer Saki Huntington reported that Fukichi Fukumoto, former New York representative of the OSAKA MAINICHI and TOKYO NICHI NICHI newspapers, paid him $2300 to obtain the drawings of an exhaust super-charger used in aeroplane engines.
Prior to the Executive Order freezing the assets of all Japanese and Chinese nationals in the United States, the Yokohama Specie Bank, Ltd. withdrew $150,000 in cash from the Guaranty Trust Company in New York City and $50,000 in cash from its account at the Chase National Bank.
In the summer of 1941 the Yokohama Specie Bank of San Francisco prepared to pack and ship a large number of Japanese bonds to Japan aboard the NYK Liner "Tatuta Maru". As a result of Federal action, Japanese bonds of various descriptions having a par value of $9,621,100 were recovered.
Through confidential sources it was learned that on July 25, 1941, cash funds amounting to $180,000 were allotted by the management of the Yokohama Specie Bank in San Francisco to its officers and employees, most of whom are Japanese nationals. These funds were distributed in proportion to the yearly salary received by the individuals and this move appears to have been made in order to prevent total loss of funds through seizure by the U.S. Government in time of war.
Funds of Japanese nationals and corporations located in the District of Columbia, New York City, San Diego, Lost Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, and New Orleans are being monitored at the present time to determine the source of income and the nature of withdrawals made from accounts in various banks in these localities. Any deposits of unusual size, and likewise any withdrawals, made by individuals, Japanese owned corporations and organizations are brought to the attention of the proper Federal authorities, and serial numbers of bills in denominations of $500 and $1,000 are recorded in order to permit investigation of subsequent negotiation of such bills. In this way, it is possible to determine whether funds are being used for activities inimical to the welfare of this country.
Since November, 1940 there has been a definite effort on the part of certain agencies and ministries of the Japanese Government to establish control over the Japanese language press throughout the world. Following the organization of the powerful OVERSEAS JAPANESE CENTRAL SOCIETY late in 1940, officials of the Japanese Ministries of Commerce and Industry, Foreign Affairs, Navy, War, Overseas Affairs, and other lesser agencies determined to ensure further control over Japanese living abroad through the medium of the press. They scheduled a convention to be held in Tokyo in November, 1941 and invited the most pro-Japanese publishers and editors to attend. At the conclusion of the convention, half the delegates toured China, while the others traveled through Japan Proper at government expense.
A similar tendency is revealed in a report of a meeting held in Japan during the summer of 1941 by the WORLD ECONOMIC FEDERATION (formerly the JAPANESE ECONOMIC FEDERATION) at which representatives of overseas Japanese newspapers were requested to act as an investigative unit in a study of world economic movements. Efforts of this sort on the part of Tokyo are entirely in keeping with that Government's comprehensive re-organization of intelligence and propaganda policies. Close contact between Japanese newspaper correspondents and officials of the Embassy and Consulates has been observed during 1941, and many Japanese newspapers in the U.S. are being pressed into service by the Embassy, the consulates and officials in Tokyo to assume intelligence duties previously carried on by regular military and naval agents. At the same time, they are expected to function as instruments of propaganda.
As an example of this arrangement, when Fukuichi Fukumoto, the former New York representative of the Osaka Mainichi and Tokyo Nichi Nichi newspapers was ordered to return to Japan by his employers, the Embassy procured a rescission of his orders and he was designated Washington representative of the Tokyo Nichi Nichi.
Most Japanese language newspapers in the U. S. appear to be conventional news organs with no more pro-Japanese bias than one would expect in view of their affiliations. Others, however, such as the NEW WORLD SUN DAILY NEWS and the JAPANESE AMERICAN NEWS, both of San Francisco, are strongly pro-Japanese, and their editorials, from time to time, severely criticize American domestic and foreign policy vis-a-vis the Japanese. Representatives of these two papers were particularly active in the Tokyo meetings mentioned above.
There is also a small category of radical Japanese newspapers published in this country, perhaps the most interesting of which is the DOMO, a communist organ in Los Angeles. The TAYSHU weekly of Seattle, Washington, as one man proposition with no consistent editorial policy, would also be included in this category.
In conclusion it should be mentioned that in several instances where there have been both English and Japanese sections within a paper, two diametrically opposed points of view are expressed, that in English being either neutral or pro-American, whereas the Japanese language section is definitely pro-Japanese. The UTAH NIPPON of Salt Lake City, Utah, and the ROCKY NIPPON of Denver, Colorado, are perhaps the best examples of this dual editorial policy.
Although many Japanese residents of the United States are leaving the country in anticipation of war, and many representatives and officials of Japanese commercial interests have been recalled or transferred South, the span of Japanese organizations across the United States continues to be useful in collecting intelligence and disseminating propaganda for Tokyo.
Normal business activities of Japanese commercial firms in this country are nation wide and until the advent of the National Defense Program, contacts of their employees were practically unlimited. Both the firms themselves and their directive heads are under the immediate control of the Embassy and the various consulates.
Until recent legislation forced their retrenchment or withdrawal there were sixty Japanese companies in New York City alone available for the collection of technical information as well as for the dissemination of propaganda. Chief among these were:
Most of them, as well as other important ones not listed, maintain well staffed branch offices in other cities.
Such gigantic organizations as the Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Okura, and Sumitomo interests may be said without exaggeration to control the financial and economic life of Japan. They are all directly or indirectly subsidized by the Japanese Government and may be considered quasi-official in nature.
In connection with the intensification of Japanese Intelligence efforts in the Americas, it is worth noting that the Mitsubishi interests have been extremely active in the shipment of various metals, fuel and lubricating oils, concentrating particularly on scrap iron, heavy machinery, and machine tools. In addition, they are known to have collaborated with German interests in an attempt to corner the market on mercury at the expense of the United States. [lined in margin]
Mitsubishi is one of the fourteen semi-official organizations specifically designated to collect and report intelligence information formerly sought by Tokyo through regular Military and Naval agents. Reports of ship and troop movements, arrangements of inspection trips for visiting Japanese officials to important American plants and military establishments and collection of all available information about the National Defense effort are illustrations of the "extra curricula activities" carried on by this organization. The same general pattern holds true with respect to other Japanese business houses.
Since the freezing of funds in July of this year, all Japanese business houses in the United States are closing or continuing operations with a skeleton force.
By far the most important Japanese organization in the United States is the JAPANESE-AMERICAN CITIZENS' LEAGUE which is an outgrowth of the AMERICAN LOYALTY LEAGUE. It has a total membership of approximately 10,000 persons distributed among 51 individual chapters and grouped geographically into four regional councils which cover the Pacific Coast and extending inland as far as Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. Its alleged objective is to encourage better citizenship among Americans of Japanese ancestry. It also supports all movements designed to improve the status of the Japanese in the United States.
One section of this organization which warrants particular attention is the so-called KIBEI group. Representing approximately 6% of the total membership, these members must be considered pro-Japanese in their ideas and affiliations. Although American born, they have been educated in Japan and ordinarily have little or no background of American culture or appreciation of our form of government.
Recent reports indicate that the JAPANESE-AMERICAN CITIZENS' LEAGUE flatly rejected an offer of subsidy from the CENTRAL JAPANESE ASSOCIATION, apparently for fear of loss of Independence if it accepted financial aid from this source.
Japanese religious organizations in the U. S. embrace Buddhist and Shinto temples and Christian churches as well as affiliated social or welfare clubs and schools. The Buddhist and Shinto priests in the U. S. and Territory of Hawaii number over 350. In addition to serving as principals or teachers of Japanese Language Schools, most of them are Japanese consular agents. Inasmuch as strict supervision of religion has for centuries been a characteristic of Japanese governmental policy, it follows that both priests and teachers are to a considerable extent subject to orders from Tokyo or, what amounts to the same thing, from their religious superiors in Japan.
To appreciate fully the potentialities of these organizations as media for subversive activity, it should be noted first, that there are well over 100,000 Buddhists in the continental U. S. alone, and secondly, that every Japanese, no matter what his professed faith, is a Shintoist. Shintoism is commonly though somewhat erroneously referred to as a religion. In reality, it is defined by the Japanese Government as a patriotic code founded upon the worship of the imperial line and the mythological gods accredited with the creation of Japan. [double-lined in margin]
The work of these priests involves travel along the West Coast of the U.S., throughout Hawaii and to Japan. Investigations of Japanese organizations suspected of subversive activity disclose that these priests frequently hold office in such suspect groups as the HOKUBEI ZAIGO SHOKO DAN (North American Reserve Officers Association) and the NICHIBEI KOGYO KAISHA (Nichibei Kinema Co.).
Affiliated with Buddhist and Shinto temples are Japanese Language Schools, welfare societies, young people's Buddhist societies, and Buddhist women's associations. They provide excellent resources for intelligence operations, have proved to be very receptive to Japanese propaganda, and in many cases have contributed considerable sums to the Japanese war effort.
Japanese Christian Churches are much less closely affiliated with the Japanese Government, and there is considerable evidence to indicate that their major concern outside of religious matters centers on improving Japanese-American relations and the restoration of peace in Eastern Asia. At the same time, it is true that some individuals and groups among Japanese Christians are working _against the interests_ of this country. In this connection, the JAPANESE STUDENTS' CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION in New York City, is reported to disseminate pro-Japanese propaganda among the Nisei in addition to carrying on its regular functions as a religious association. ["Christians against US" penciled in margin]
Of the many and varied types of Japanese organizations in the United States, by far the most active and subversive to the interests of this country are such military organizations as the NANKA TEIKOKU GUNYUDAN (Southern California War Veterans), Los Angeles, NIPPON KAIGUN KYOKAI (Japanese Naval Association), Los Angeles, SAKURA KAI (Patriotic Society),
Los Angeles, HOKUBEI BUTOKU KAI (Military Virtue Society of North America), Alvarado, California, and the HOKUBEI HEIEKI GIMUSHA KAI (Association of Japanese in North America Eligible for Military Duty), San Francisco. [double-lined in margin]
These organizations are intensely nationalistic and until recently made heavy contributions to the Japanese War Chest. Members of the NANKA TEIKOKU GUNYUDAN, NIPPON KAIGUN KYOKAI, and SAKURA KAI are suspected of being either veterans of or reservists in the Japanese armed forces. They have co-operated closely with official Japanese Agencies in the United States and the arrest of Commander Tachibana disclosed that the last two organizations, together with the SUIKO SHA (Reserve Officers' Club) in Los Angeles, were supplying him with intelligence information to be sent to Tokyo. [double-lined in margin]
Although their membership is drawn from a younger age group, such organizations as the HOKUBEI BUTOKU KAI and HOKUBEI HEIEKI GIMUSHA KAI are none the less loyal to Japanese principles, particularly to the expansionist program of the present military regime in Tokyo. In both of these organizations, internal friction has been noted and in those branches where the conservative element is dominant, there has been a tendency to de-emphasize military activities and in some cases to sever altogether affiliations with headquarters in Japan. On the other hand, where extremists have retained control, a marked increase in attendance to military sports, to local intelligence activities, and closer co-operation with the home government have been noted.
Many local branches of these organizations have changed their names during the last few months in order to avert suspicion. In the event of war between the United States and Japan, Japanese organizations of this general type are certain to be delegated important espionage and sabotage functions in the area where they now operate.
Two of the most influential of the Japanese cultural organizations in the U. S. coming under the direct control of the Government in Tokyo are the JAPAN INSTITUTE in New York City, and the JAPANESE CULTURAL CENTER OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA at Los Angeles. Operating on extremely generous budgets they distribute propaganda of all kinds, sponsor lectures and demonstrations, and subsidize American and Japanese scholarship in Oriental studies. Many individuals associated with both organizations are known dangerous propagandists and espionage agents.
It is interesting to note that the JAPAN INSTITUTE is preparing to cease operations and early in December of this year began to destroy its records.
Of minor importance are such cultural groups as the FAR EASTERN INSTITUTES held every summer at different American colleges and universities, THE STUDENT INSTITUTE OF PACIFIC RELATIONS and the ZAIBEI NIPPONJIN JISEKI HOZON KAI. The latter is a small group carrying on historical research.
In March of 1941 the NICHIBEI KOGYO KAISHA of Los Angeles which is one of the most active propaganda - espionage organizations in the United States was reorganized under the name of the NICHIBEI KINEMA COMPANY, INC. Incorporated in December, 1937, it was originally designed as a front for the LITTLE TOKYO GAMBLING CLUB owned by Hideichi Yamatoda. At the present time, however, most of the control rests with officials of the CENTRAL JAPANESE ASSOCIATION of San Francisco, California, and the LOS ANGELES JAPANESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Most of its officers are suspects and have wide affiliations with suspect organizations and firms. This organization acts as a distribution center for foreign and domestic motion pictures and gramophone records. It also co-operates closely with Tokyo in arranging engagements for lecturers, theatrical troupes and musicians along the West Coast and in Hawaii. As an indication of the importance of this function, this organizations capital stock was increased from $25,000 to $250,000 in March, 1940.
During the first week in December, large scale shifts in key diplomatic personnel from Canada and the United States to Mexico and Latin America have taken place, and a mass exodus of Japanese residents is under way. On December 1, 1941, the Consulate General on the West Coast began to destroy its records, as did the Consulate General, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Japan Institute in New York City. Secret codes and ciphers at the Japanese Embassy were burned on the night of December 5, 1941. [double-lined in margin]
Such organizations as the Japanese Raw Silk Intelligence Bureau, the Silk Department of Mitsui & Co., Gunze Corporation, Asahi Corporation, Japanese Cotton & Silk Trading Co., Hara & Co., Katakura & Co., Morimura & Co., Arai & Co., and Shinyai & Co. closed on Saturday December 6, 1941, and personnel of these commercial houses plan to leave this country December 16 aboard the Tatuta Maru. The Japan Institute has announced its closing date as December 9, 1941.
Four Days in December: Germany’s Path to War With the U.S.
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines, simultaneously invading the Pacific holdings of Great Britain and the Netherlands. Four days later, Germany handed declarations of war to the American chargé d&rsquoaffaires in Berlin and to Secretary of State Cordell Hull in Washington, D.C. The Reich&rsquos partner, Italy, did the same in Rome and the American capital.
Then, as now, these moves might seem an impulsive display of Axis solidarity. The reality is quite different. Hitler had long recognized that his hopes and plans for world domination necessitated war with the United States. As he stated explicitly in a follow-up volume to Mein Kampf written in 1928 (see &ldquo Mein Kampf: The Sequel &rdquo), preparing for war with the United States would be a central responsibility of any National Socialist government. The days after Pearl Harbor brought to a crescendo the dictator&rsquos protracted effort to orchestrate an international conflict to suit his and Germany&rsquos purposes.
The surprise for Hitler was not that Japan attacked the United States, but how and when. He learned of Pearl Harbor the way millions did: from someone who had heard a radio report about the raid. The Japanese had not given their allies any precise information on what they planned, so the bombing and torpedo assault itself startled Germany and Italy&mdashhardly unusual. Neither had ever notified Tokyo in advance of intended attacks, either.
The news flash came soon after the German leader returned to the Wolf&rsquos Lair, his headquarters deep in a forest near Rastenburg. Hitler had traveled to East Prussia from the Eastern Front, where he had gone to address firsthand the crises arising from successful Soviet counterattacks at Rostov.
The setbacks to the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the crumbling of Italian forces amid a British offensive in North Africa had left personnel at the Wolf&rsquos Lair feeling gloomy. Late on December 7, Nazi press chief Otto Dietrich brought Hitler the news about Pearl Harbor. Hitler asked Dietrich to confirm the bulletin, but already word of the Americans&rsquo undoing was enlivening the atmosphere at the Wolfsschanze.
&ldquoA delirium of joy embraced everyone as far as one could see in the headquarters,&rdquo General Walter Warlimont, a deputy chief of operations in the OKW, the High Command of the German Armed Forces, noted in his memoirs.
The exuberance erupted from certainty that the real fight&mdashagainst the mongrel giant of the west&mdashat last had begun. Hitler, who saw his life as a constant war, would not be cheated again, as he had been in 1938 when Allied appeasement over the Sudetenland spoiled his plans to invade Czechoslovakia.
Hitler and other German leaders so thoroughly expected the Reich to fight America that, after the initial delighted outburst, they gave Pearl Harbor scarcely a thought. Army chief of staff General Franz Halder, for example, merely noted in his diary entry for December 8 that &ldquoJapan appears to have opened hostilities against America and England by surprise air attacks and warship attacks on Honolulu and also against Shanghai and against Malaya.&rdquo Halder&rsquos entry devotes more attention to the Eastern Front and to North Africa. On December 9, Halder writes that he conferred with an assistant on a &ldquodirective for conversations with attachés [of other countries] on the entrance of America into the war.&rdquo The next day Halder briefly notes major Japanese successes, and on December 11 records that he heard a naval officer&rsquos report about &ldquobasic factors in the Japanese-American naval war.&rdquo His December 12 entry notes a report on the &ldquoAsian theater of war,&rdquo but Halder does not consider Germany&rsquos declaration of war the day before worthy of note. As his master did, the army commander took for granted the Americans&rsquo inability to mount military operations serious enough to affect the German war effort.
Similarly, for December 7 and 8 the usually voluminous OKW war diary refers to the attack at Honolulu only by summarizing official Japanese announcements and dispatches from the Reuters news agency. The December 8 OKW entry mentions the sinking of the American battleship &ldquoNew Virginia&rdquo evidently no one at German headquarters had a list of American capital ships or knew that no U.S. Navy vessel with that name existed. On December 9 the OKW diary summarizes official announcements from Tokyo. On December 10, however, the diary merely mentions a report, and on December 11 it again distills Japanese headquarters and Reuters reports.
The December 11 entry, made after Hitler declared war, notes that General Alfred Jodl, the OKW chief of operations, called from Berlin to suggest that his deputy consider having the staff examine the question of whether the United States will concentrate its military effort first in Europe or in the Pacific. Thereafter, only minimal references to the Pacific War appear in the OKW war diary through 1945. Entries for December 12 and 13 ignore the fact that Germany has gone to war with another rather large country.
War with the United States had been on Hitler&rsquos wish list for two decades. Upon becoming chancellor in 1933 he began rearming Germany for the first fights he anticipated&mdashagainst Czechoslovakia, France, and Britain. He was confident those weapons would also suffice for his next war, against Russia. In 1937, with a first generation of arms in production, he turned to the special weapons he needed to take on the United States.
A firm believer, like most of his political and military associates, that in World War I Germany had not been defeated at the front but &ldquostabbed in the back&rdquo&mdashthe colloquial term, popularized by General Erich Ludendorff, was Dolchstoss, &ldquodagger&rsquos thrust&rdquo&mdashHitler held that the Americans played no real role in bringing about Germany&rsquos loss. The United States had a tiny, weak army and minimal air force and Hitler had nothing but scorn for aircraft production quotas set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, even though American factories had been meeting those quotas for two years. (Told days before the war declaration that the United States expected by 1944 to be building 100,000 warplanes a year, Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring sneered that all the Americans could make was refrigerators.)
By Hitler&rsquos lights, so racially mixed a collection of degenerates as the Americans could not possibly mount an effective military effort anyway. But the United States was distant, and had a big navy at a time when Germany did not, so Hitler began developing the Me 264 Amerika Bomber, a four-engine behemoth capable of intercontinental attacks. At the same time, Germany began developing super-battleships whose guns would be large and powerful enough to demolish American dreadnoughts from afar.
But progress on the weapons of the future stalled and then stopped. Only prototypes of the Me 264 got off the ground, never the swarms of enormous aircraft that Hitler envisioned. German shipwrights laid the keel for the aircraft carrier Flugzeugträger A (later renamed Graf Zeppelin) in 1936, and keels for monster 56,000-ton battleships early in 1939, but the outbreak of war on September 1 created demands for materiel and manpower that took precedence over these next-generation warships, which never did sail. (Not every production order was cancelled in June 1944 the German navy took delivery of four huge battleship engines that promptly were melted down for scrap.)
Admiral Erich Raeder, who had assumed the German navy&rsquos helm in 1928, had been pleading for war with the United States since soon after the invasion of Poland. Despite the U-boats&rsquo success, Raeder didn&rsquot have enough submarines to isolate England, and thanks to flawed designs and losses at sea the Kriegsmarine at times had few surface vessels larger than a destroyer. In 1940&ndash41, Hitler and associates realized the foreseeable future would not include a huge German blue-water navy of battleships, aircraft carriers, and cruisers. To compensate, they looked to the obvious alternative: enlisting an ally that already had such a force. The equally obvious candidate: Japan.
Under these circumstances, Hitler adopted two parallel policies. He ordered Raeder to avoid incidents with the United States in the Atlantic, and began chivvying Japan to take Singapore away from Great Britain. With Japan openly joining the Axis side, the alliance would gain a world-class navy, not after years of building but right away, and so remove the main hurdle to Germany&rsquos making war on the United States.
The Japanese had seen Germany&rsquos victories in the west as a signal to move south to expand their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. But after joining the Axis, Tokyo authorities demurred, explaining that they were not planning to invade Malaya until 1946, when the United States had announced it would give up its bases in the Philippines. Hitler countered that if concern about the United States was restraining Japan, Germany would immediately join in a war against the U.S. and its allies&mdashprovided Japan struck now, not five years later, when the Americans would be stronger. One way or another, Hitler expected to fight the United States, so it made no difference to him whether an American warship went down in the Atlantic or in the Pacific. The sooner Japan attacked, the better.
Having promised to fight on Japan&rsquos side, specifically at a March 1941 meeting in Berlin with Foreign Minister Matsuoka Yosuke, German leaders chafed as Tokyo and Washington conducted seemingly endless negotiations on into that year. Japan&rsquos occupation of southern French Indo-China, coming as it did within a month of Germany&rsquos June 22, 1941, invasion of Russia, clearly pointed in the direction Germany wanted, but still the talks in Washington droned on. The Germans believed their attack on the Soviet Union would allay Japan&rsquos fears of any threat to its home islands from Russia&rsquos Pacific territories, encouraging the empire to strike southward into areas it had long coveted. The Germans also expected such an action to draw American attention and resources into the Pacific and away from the Atlantic, increasing Germany&rsquos advantage there.
Hitler worried that the Soviets&rsquo failure to collapse as quickly as anticipated might deter Japan from going after the United States. (From an opposite viewpoint, President Roosevelt hoped endless talk might lead Tokyo to see that a German victory was not the certainty the Japanese might be imagining.)
To spur Japan on, Hitler turned to propaganda. In an October 3, 1941, speech trumpeting a new offensive against the Russians, he boasted, &ldquoI say today, because I can now say it, that this enemy is already crushed and cannot ever recover.&rdquo Within the week Dietrich was claiming the Reich had crushed the Red Army and won the war in the East. On November 8, Hitler insisted the offensive &ldquohad succeeded beyond all measure.&rdquo
Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels thought all three announcements were terrible mistakes. Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano also saw the agitprop as wrong-footed. Ciano was Fascist royalty not only was he married to Mussolini&rsquos daughter Edda, but in 1936 he replaced Il Duce as foreign minister. He was present at the 1938 talks in Munich in that capacity. Ciano was also the recipient of phone calls at all hours from German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, who was trying to reinforce Italy&rsquos martial resolve. Even so, Ciano was not privy to Hitler&rsquos larger motives. In Ciano&rsquos diary entry for October 18, he wryly suggests, &ldquoIsn&rsquot this a case of their having sung their victory anthem too soon?&rdquo (Hitler did not keep a diary, so his private contemplations are unknown.)
Mistake or no, Hitler clearly meant the propaganda barrage to induce Japan to act. Looking back on events in a 1950 memoir, Bernhard von Lossberg, an assistant to OKW deputy chief Warlimont, concluded, &ldquoDietrich&rsquos statement was probably designed to hasten Japan&rsquos entry into the war.&rdquo Lossberg&rsquos suspicions are confirmed by a document from Hitler&rsquos special military historian that his secretary, Marianne Feuersenger, quoted in her 1982 memoir. Referencing &ldquoDietrich&rsquos speech on his command,&rdquo the historian wrote, &ldquoPropaganda fully under the control of the Führer&hellip. It was decisive that Japan had to be held to the course. F[ührer] had a terrible fear at the beginning of the crisis [before Moscow] that they might be scared off.&rdquo
Events proved Hitler&rsquos anxieties well founded. Only days before the Japanese strike force Kido Butai came within range of Pearl Harbor, Tokyo was checking with Berlin and Rome to make sure that their promise to join Japan in war against the United States still held and asking that both nations agree to a treaty not to enter into a separate peace agreement. The communication brought prompt replies in the affirmative from both Germany and Italy.
Before Hitler could respond in earnest to Pearl Harbor, he had to get to Berlin, assemble the Reichstag, give its members the good news of war with the United States, and hand an American diplomat a formal declaration of hostilities. But he saw no need to keep Raeder and his U-boats on the leash. Late on December 8, 1941, Hitler ordered Raeder to authorize the Kriegsmarine to sink on sight any ship flying the flag of the United States, plus those of Uruguay and eight other Central American nations seen as its allies.
Once he reached Berlin, Hitler phoned and met with Goebbels to review the situation in detail. The propaganda minister documented the exchanges in his diary the following day, as was his custom. Goebbels&rsquos December 8 entry notes that Japan has attacked the United States. &ldquoI was&hellipcalled by the Führer who is extraordinarily happy about this development,&rdquo Goebbels writes. &ldquoHe will summon the Reichstag for Wednesday [December 10] in the afternoon to clarify the German position on this.&rdquo
After enthusing about the Japanese action at Pearl Harbor and the likelihood that it will shrink American deliveries of weapons and transportation equipment to Britain and the Soviet Union, Goebbels adds, &ldquoThe development has produced the greatest joy for the Führer and the whole headquarters.&rdquo Goebbels&rsquos December 9 entry summarizes developments in East Asia and the Pacific, mentions the coming Reichstag session, and repeats his assessment that the United States no longer will be able to aid England and the Soviet Union. &ldquoWe can be extraordinarily satisfied with the way things have developed,&rdquo the Nazi propagandist says in conclusion.
On December 10 Goebbels again predicts the demise of American deliveries of weapons and airplanes, refers to worldwide puzzlement over German policy in the new situation, and reports at length on a December 9 meeting in Berlin and Hitler&rsquos demeanor during it. &ldquoHe is filled with joy over the very fortunate development of the negotiations between the USA and Japan and also over the outbreak of war,&rdquo Goebbels writes. &ldquoHe correctly pointed out that he had always expected this development.&rdquo
Goebbels then summarizes comments by Hitler to the effect that the Japanese initiated war in the Pacific in a manner and at a moment that caught him unaware but which he found entirely correct. Hitler told Goebbels about his sink-on-sight order to the Kriegsmarine&mdashwhich both men celebrated&mdashand said that in his Reichstag speech he would declare war on the United States. Hitler added that he would urge all Axis partners to do the same. (Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria proceeded to do so, although Roosevelt had the State Department attempt for half a year to get the latter three to withdraw their declarations of war.)
In his conversation with Goebbels, Hitler claimed to be blasé about setbacks on the Eastern Front and predicted an end to American provisioning of England and the Soviet Union. Hitler summarized what he expected to say to the Reichstag, telling Goebbels that to give himself time to draft and polish the speech he was postponing it to December 11. &ldquoThe Führer again projects a wave of optimism and confidence in victory,&rdquo Goebbels writes.
On December 11 diarist Goebbels says how good it is to have Japan&rsquos aggressive and successful advances diverting attention at home and abroad from Axis setbacks on the Eastern Front and in North Africa. Japanese pilots have sunk the British warships Prince of Wales and Repulse off Malaya, the propaganda minister notes. He restates his conviction that America will stop being England&rsquos quartermaster. Writing of a noon meeting the day before with Hitler, Goebbels says the Führer is especially pleased about Prince of Wales and Repulse and about the timing of the Japanese successes, given the situation on the Eastern Front. Goebbels notes that although the Japanese wanted the Reichstag to convene earlier, Hitler is to speak at 3 p.m.
After offering considerable detail on matters in the Pacific, Goebbels&rsquos December 12 entry reports on Hitler&rsquos speech the day before. In his address, the dictator told the Reichstag that Germany was at war with the United States and had signed a treaty with Italy and Japan eschewing a separate peace. Goebbels raves about Hitler&rsquos presentation, and about Mussolini&rsquos own December 11 proclamation and speech about war against the United States.
Two days later Goebbels notes that he and Hitler met once again. He describes their shared excitement and pleasure at Japan&rsquos coups in East Asia. He notes that in the afternoon Hitler spoke to the Gauleiter, the district chiefs of the Nazi Party, telling his tribunes all will be well, with no chance that the entry of the United States will prolong the conflict.
In the meantime, Goebbels reports, Ribbentrop has handed Germany&rsquos declaration of war to the American chargé d&rsquoaffaires the German chargé in Washington presented the document to Secretary of State Hull. Ribbentrop and Hitler had worried that the United States might declare war before Germany was able to do so. (&ldquoA great power does not allow itself to be declared war on it declares it on others,&rdquo Ribbentrop once told a deputy.)
At every previous juncture expanding the war, Hitler heard warnings and even argument from his circle of political and military advisors. But prior to the German declaration of war on the United States, the only discouraging words came from Hans-Heinrich Dieckhoff, the former German ambassador to Washington. For once on a dangerous gambit, the Reichstag exhibited unanimity as enthusiastic as the leadership&rsquos.
Hitler and coterie may have had no second thoughts, but in Rome, Galeazzo Ciano&rsquos experienced eyes suddenly came into sharper focus. He connected the dots backward from Germany and Italy&rsquos twin declarations of war&mdashthe latter of which he personally handed the American chargé the afternoon of December 11&mdashto Pearl Harbor, to Japan&rsquos demand for a treaty abjuring any separate peace, to autumn&rsquos bluster about the Eastern Front.
Although Ciano notes in his diary that Ribbentrop was &ldquojumping with joy about the Japanese attack on the United States,&rdquo he records a very different personal perspective.
Following a meeting on December 13 with the Cuban minister, who had come to declare war on Italy, Ciano mused on the private page about &ldquohaving had the good fortune, or is it the misfortune, to declare war on France, on Great Britain, on Russia and on the United States.&rdquo
4 December 1941 - History
At 7:02 a.m., December 7, 1941, an army mobile radar unit set up on Oahu Island in Hawaii picked up the tell-tale blips of approaching aircraft. The two privates operating the radar contacted the Army's General Information Center, but the duty officer there told them to remain calm the planes were probably American B-17s flying in from California. In fact, they were Japanese aircraft that had been launched from six aircraft carriers 200 miles north of Hawaii.
At 7:55 a.m., the first Japanese bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, the main base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Moored in the harbor were more than 70 warships, including eight of the fleet's nine battleships. There were also 2 heavy cruisers, 29 destroyers, and 5 submarines. Four hundred airplanes were stationed nearby.
Japanese torpedo bombers, flying just 50 feet above the water, launched torpedoes at the docked American warships. Japanese dive bombers strafed the ships' decks with machine gun fire, while Japanese fighters dropped high explosive bombs on the aircraft sitting on the ground. Within half an hour, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually destroyed. The U.S. battleship Arizona was a burning hulk. Three other large ships--the Oklahoma , the West Virginia , and the California --were sinking.
A second attack took place at 9 a.m., but the damage had been done. Seven of the eight battleships were sunk or severely damaged. Out of the 400 aircraft, 188 had been destroyed and 159 were severely damaged. The worst damage occurred to the Arizona a thousand of the ship's sailors drowned or burned to death. Altogether, 2,403 Americans died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor another 1,178 were wounded. Japan lost just 55 men.
It was not a total disaster, however. Japan had failed to destroy Pearl Harbor's ship repair facilities, the base's power plant, or its fuel tanks. Even more important, three U.S. aircraft carriers, which had been on routine maneuvers, escaped destruction. But it had been a devastating blow nonetheless. Later in the day on December 7, Japanese forces launched attacks throughout the Pacific, striking Guam, Hong Kong, Malaya, Midway Island, the Philippine Islands, and Wake Island.
The next day, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war. He began his address with these famous words: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date that will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." Congress declared war on Japan with but one dissenting vote.
Station S had been intercepting Japan's diplomatic radio messages since 1939, when the U.S. Navy moved its listening post at Fort Stevens, Oregon, to Bainbridge Island. In its new island home, the facility opened as the Communications Support Activities (COMSUPACT) at Fort Ward, a former coast artillery post.
A year later, in 1940, COMSUPACT was renamed Station S, Naval Security Group Activities (NSGA). Along with eavesdropping on and recording Japanese diplomatic radio messages, Station S served as a control station for radio direction tracking of Japanese merchant shipping. The station collected radio bearings from two or three other stations, allowing the radio direction finding to identify the positions of Japanese ships.
In November and early December 1941, Japan's diplomatic messages increased, and Station S worked harder to intercept the heavier traffic. Commander B. C. Purrington (1896-1961), the station’s commanding officer, noted increased shipping activity in his November and December 1941 secret station reports to the chief of naval operations. The radio traffic and messages indicated that something was happening, and this activity intensified between December 4 and December 6, 1941.
A Fateful Message
The fateful message Station S intercepted in the early morning on December 7 was to be delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., at 1 p.m., just before the attack on Pearl Harbor was set to begin (it started at 1.20 p.m. Washington, D.C., time). However, delays in translating the message prevented its punctual delivery.
Although the the message and other intelligence pointed to possible war, American intelligence officers did not anticipate the attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, located in Hawaii. American losses amounted to eight battleships, three destroyers, three light cruisers, four auxiliary craft, 188 airplanes, 2,403 deaths, and 1,178 wounded. On the following day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan.
4 December 1941 - History
By Peter Kross
The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—a “Day of Infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it—left the American Pacific Fleet in almost total ruin, plunged the United States into World War II, and set off a controversy regarding the events that led up to the attack that is still being hotly debated.
One of the most troublesome incidents in the pre-Pearl Harbor planning by the Japanese is the so-called “Winds Code” incident and what significance, if any, it had for the American code breakers who were monitoring Japanese diplomatic and military communications in the months leading up to the surprise attack.
Did the Navy cover up by not allowing the people who handled the Winds communication to testify before congressional committees after the war? And what happened to the Winds communications itself that was supposed to have been seen by different naval intelligence personnel in the days prior to the Pearl Harbor attack?
To understand the significance of the Winds message, we must trace the role of the U.S. military’s efforts in breaking the Japanese codes before Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese used what they called a “Purple” machine to encode top-secret intelligence sent to their embassies around the world. The code word for American intercepts of Japanese diplomatic and military messages coming into the United States was “Magic.” The United States designated all the information collected from Purple as “Magic”—the highest-classified intelligence collected by the United States during the war.
The success of Magic allowed the United States to follow Japan’s route to war, keeping a detailed record of their every move. During the summer of 1940, the United States began sharing intelligence with the British who had their own secret communications vis a vis Germany called “Enigma.” In a move that would later prove disastrous in the pre-Pearl Harbor scenario, one of the Purple machines that went to the British was originally supposed to be given to the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor.
A captured Japanese code device known as Purple.
Another U.S. military organization doing cryptographic work that involved both Magic and the Winds communication was the Navy’s code-breaking group called OP-20G, led by Commander Laurance Safford.
The Magic information collected by the Navy was sent to various top military and civilian leaders in the American government. Unfortunately, Magic was not shared with all of the top military commanders including, most importantly, Navy Admiral Husband Kimmel and Army General Walter Short, the two commanding officers at Pearl Harbor.
Another unfortunate side of Magic was that the men who were apprised of its content could not agree among themselves as to which information was relevant or not. It was this lack of communication that led to the controversy over what the Winds message really meant.
Uncovering Japan’s Intentions
By the fall of 1941, U.S. code breakers had a pretty good idea as to what the Japanese government was thinking and planning regarding a potential conflict with the United States. Japan was still committed to its participation in the Tripartite Pact with Italy and Germany and refused to remove its troops from China. From the intercepts of Japanese communications that were picked up by U.S. code breakers, it was obvious that Japan was disinclined to tone down its harsh rhetoric regarding a possible war with either the United States or Great Britain.
More importantly, as far as the United States was concerned, a November 5, 1941, message from Tokyo to Washington setting a date of November 25, 1941, as a deadline for the completion of diplomatic negotiations with the United States, should have been a warning sign that trouble lay ahead.
JCAA Radio Communications receiving positions at NAS, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Other intercepted communications from Tokyo gave instructions for the destruction of its code machines a November 20 message from Tokyo stated that the current conditions would not “permit any further conciliation by us [Japan]” a November 22 note said if a diplomatic agreement was not reached by November 29 “that things are automatically going to happen.” Also important to the prewar scenario was a November 27 war warning message broadcast from Tokyo, along with a November 19 message from Tokyo giving details of the “Winds Execute” message that would be added to the end of the Japanese news broadcasts in case war between the United States, England, and Russia was imminent, and a November 19 note giving further instructions for Japanese diplomats in Washington to listen for Winds messages that would be read five times at the beginning and end of each transmission.
Uncovering the Winds Code Words
On December 4, 1941, American listening posts in various parts of the world decoded two communications sent from Tokyo to its Washington embassy on November 19 that carried information on the so-called Winds message to which naval intelligence officials had been alerted.
The first message, Circular No. 2353, said: “Regarding the broadcast of a special message in an emergency. In case of emergency (danger of cutting off our diplomatic relations), and the cutting off of international communications, the following will be added in the middle of the daily Japanese language short wave news broadcast:
In case of a Japan-US relations in danger HIGASHI NO KAZEAME––East Wind Rain.
Japan-USSR relations: KITANOKAZE KUMORI––North Wind Cloudy.
Japan-British relations: NISHI NO KAZE HARE––West Wind Clear.”
The second circular, No. 2354, came later:
“If it is Japan-US relations: HIGASHI.
Japan-Russia relations: KITA.
Japanese-British relations (including Thai, Malaya, and Netherlands East Indies): NISHI.
The above will be repeated five times and included at beginning and end. Relay to Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, San Francisco.”
The Winds message was also picked up by a variety of Allied listening posts across the globe. The British Singapore station seized the message on November 28 and transmitted it to the U.S. Asiatic Fleet headquarters where Admiral Thomas Hart, the commander in chief, Asiatic Fleet, sent it to the headquarters commanders of both the 14th Naval District and the 16th Naval District. On December 4, the message was sent by Consul General Walter Foote at Batavia to the State Department in Washington. In his message regarding the broadcast, Consul General Foote said, “I attach little or no importance and view it with some suspicion. Such have been common since 1936.”
Japanese Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura and Special Envoy Saburo Kurusu leave the White House after proposals they thought would avert the war were rejected. Little did they know that their mission was without hope.
The same low-key reaction to the Winds message came on December 3, when a top U.S. Army officer stationed in Java cabled the message to Brig. Gen. Sherman Miles, the acting ACS/Intelligence head, War Department. It was broadcast in a low-grade designation called “deferred,” and was subsequently not decoded until 1:45 am on December 5.
These two messages were sent from Tokyo on their J-19 diplomatic code, not the more significant Purple code that U.S. naval intelligence had been privy to for months. On the Navy’s part, they alerted all their stations to be on the lookout for the next phase of the Winds code––the so called “Execute” stage of the plan.
Station “M” Finds the Smoking Gun
Subsequently, a full-court press inside the United States was ordered to listen for the “Execute” phase. Naval code-breaking stations in San Francisco and Fort Hunt in Virginia had Japanese-language translators sent in on an emergency basis. The Federal Communications Commission, one of whose jobs was the monitoring of Japanese weather broadcasts, was put on alert. If they picked up an “Execute” broadcast, they were to call Colonel Rufus Bratton, commander of the G-2 (Army Intelligence) Far
In Hawaii, the Navy’s top intelligence code breaker, Joseph Rochefort—head of the Combat Intelligence Unit of the 14th Naval District in Pearl Harbor and Station Hypo, a U.S. monitoring unit that watched Japanese naval movements—was alerted to the Winds message.
During this tense time, the FCC picked up a false message from Japan at 10 pm on December 4 which said, “Tokyo today north wind slightly stronger may become cloudy tonight. Tomorrow slightly cloudy and fine weather. Kanagawa Prefecture today north wind cloudy from afternoon more clouds. Chiba Prefecture today north wind clear, may become slightly cloudy. Ocean surface calm.”
One of the U.S. listening posts that played a huge role in the Winds Affair was Station “M,” located at Cheltenham, Maryland. Early on December 4, 1941, 27-year-old senior radio operator Ralph Briggs picked up a cryptic message in a weather forecast being broadcast from Japan. Warned to listen for any unusual weather broadcasts attached to messages from Japan, Briggs heard the words he’d been alerted to. It was “East Wind Rain––HIGASHI NO KAZEAME [a possible disruption of Japan-U.S. relations].” It now seemed that the “smoking gun” from Tokyo had just been received.
Briggs began the process of transmitting his find to the other intelligence agencies and government officials. He sent one copy to the Army Signals Intelligence Unit and another to the White House. The Navy’s OP-20G got their own copy by 9 am on December 4.
The Winds message was then translated by Lt. Cmdr. Alvin Kramer, who was in command of the Translation Section of the Navy Department Communications Unit. According to extemporaneous accounts, Kramer, upon seeing the Winds message, said, “This is it.” By noon on December 4, multiple copies of the Winds message had been circulated among the Army and Navy’s intelligence divisions, their senior officers, the State Department, and the White House. As some conspiracy theorists believe regarding the significance of the Winds message, the Roosevelt administration had three days to read and digest its contents and prepare the country for war with Japan. Yet, nothing was done to alert the fleet at Pearl Harbor or any other branch of the military.
Debate Over the Winds Message
It is at this point in the debate where differences of opinion regarding the significance of the Winds message among its many participants come into play. In his extensive testimony before the Joint Congressional Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor attack, Navy Captain Laurance Safford, who was head of the Navy’s OP-20G Code and Signal Section, told the attentive congressmen that in his opinion, the Winds message was a genuine “signal of execute” that war between the United States and Japan was imminent.
Safford pointed out that on December 4, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy changed its “Operations Code,” which was picked up by Allied listening stations on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay and reported up the chain of command nine hours after it was decoded. Safford said that this change in Japan’s code, as well as the “Execute” message, was the final step in Japan’s preparations for war with the United States.
The Japanese created this mock-up of Ford Island and Battleship Row after the attack for use in a propaganda film.
Safford testified that it was his belief that the Navy had a three-day advance warning about an impending Japanese attack and did nothing to stop it. It is worth noting that despite Captain Safford’s validation of the Winds message, there was no definite proof to back up his assertion that the intercepted message, “East Wind Rain,” was anything more than part of the regular communications traffic that was intercepted on December 4, 1941.
Army chief of staff George Marshall discredited Captain Stafford’s testimony regarding the Winds message, saying that he did not see the message in question. Also, Joseph Rochefort was adamant that he had seen no “Execute” message, despite assertions by others that he had. Another person who had a differing view of the Winds traffic was George Linn, a naval officer attached to OP-20G in 1941. In material provided by Linn, and released by the National Security Agency in November 1980, Linn, who was a good friend of Captain Safford, said that, “Safford’s obsession with the idea that an ‘Execute’ had been received and suppressed had caused him [Safford], to go ‘out on a limb, for there had been no “Execute.” Linn summed up his testimony by saying, “I found nothing, and therefore concluded that an execute had not been received prior to 2400 hours on December 6.”
The Disappearing Winds Message
Adding to the seemingly never-ending debate over the veracity of the Winds message is the fact that the original message had somehow disappeared from all official Navy files just when the Roberts Commission was conducting hearings into the whole Pearl Harbor matter shortly after the attack. What happened to the official Winds message paperwork is still a mystery and its loss has only deepened the skepticism of those who believe that an official cover-up by the Navy or other government agencies took place.
After the war ended, various congressional committees were established to debate the Pearl Harbor attack and try to attach blame where possible. The testimony took on a national scope and many of the top newspapers of the day covered it, sending their best reporters to the hearings. The Winds Execute phase of the hearings took on a circus-like atmosphere with debate and counterdebate swirling like a prairie fire. In 1946, the New York Times said that the Winds message was a “bitter microcosm” of the investigation into American preparations leading up to the attack on December 7, 1941. The Times further noted that, “If there was such a message, the Washington military establishment would have been gravely at fault in not having passed it along to military commanders in Hawaii. If there was not, then the supporters of those commanders would have lost an important prop to their case.”
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, USN, center, confers with his operations officer, Captain W.S. Stanley (left) and his chief of staff, Captain William W. Smith.
In later testimony before the Army board regarding the missing Winds message, a number of people who were intimately involved in the affair gave their insights into what might have happened. Captain Safford said that the last time he saw the Winds message it was in the hands of OP-20G. He tasked a Captain Stone to see if he could locate the message but to no avail. When questioned by Maj. Gen. Henry Russell, Stafford said that the Winds message was filed in the Navy’s 7001 file. The following exchange took place between Safford and General Russell:
General Russell: “Well, is JD 7000 in that file now?”
Captain Safford: “JD 7000 is there, and 7002.”
Russell: “But 7001 just isn’t there?”
Safford: “The whole file for the month of December 1941 is present or accounted for except 7001.”
Safford further said that when a thorough check of the 7000 series was made, “That is the only one that is missing or unaccounted for.”
Years later, Ralph Briggs, the radioman at Station M who picked up the Winds message, broke his silence. In 1960, when Briggs was in charge of a unit that contained naval archives from World War II, he stated that, “All transmissions intercepted by me between 0500 thru 1300 on the above date [December 5, 1960] are missing from these files and these intercepts contained the Winds message warning code.”
However, Briggs contradicted himself as to the date he intercepted the Winds execute message. He said that he intercepted it on the evening of December 4, while Safford said it came in at night on December 3. Nevertheless, to make matters more complicated, Briggs’s log relating to the Winds Execute message is dated December 2.
Along with Admiral Kimmel, Lieutenant General Walter C. Short, commander of the Hawaiian Department, was relieved of his command.
Lieutenant Commander Alvin Kramer gave yet another version of events relating to the Winds affair. He said that the “Execute” message was dated December 5, and that the message only had three lines of text. He testified that, in his estimation, the Winds message concerned a possible war between England and Japan. He further said that he thought the message was “a false alarm of this Winds system. It was, nevertheless, definitely my conception at the time that it was an authentic broadcast of that nature.”
Reviving the Controversy
As the events of the Pearl Harbor attack faded into memory, it seemed that the controversy would finally end however, that was not the case. The event had so many divergent players, each offering up their own different scenarios, that it would not melt away.
In 2009, two historians, Robert J. Hanyok and the late David P. Mowry of the National Security’s Center for Cryptologic History, wrote a 327-page book called West Wind Clear: Cryptology and the Winds Message Controversy. This little-known book seemed to debunk the view that a clear warning was being monitored before the Pearl Harbor attack.
The burning battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) lists at Mooring F7 after the attack. The ship lost 1,177 men, including Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who received the Medal of Honor, posthumously.
The institution that wrote the report, the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA) is an interesting place from which to issue such a narrative. Until a few years ago, the NSA’s very existence was shrouded in secrecy. It was dubbed in the media as “No Such Agency” or “Never Say Anything,” even though a public sign on the highway alerted visitors and employees that it, indeed, was there for all to see.
The NSA: Evolution of the Signals Intelligence Service
The NSA evolved out of the World War II Signals Intelligence Service and the Armed Forces Security Agency. The NSA was formally charted in October 1952 via a memorandum that was issued by President Harry Truman.
The main job of the NSA is to collect and analyze all signal intelligence (SIGINT), such as radio intercepts, telephone calls, electronic communications, and faxes coming in from around the world. The other job the agency performs is the cracking of other nation’s secret codes that may contain information that might harm the security of the United States. The headquarters of the NSA is located at Fort George Mead, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore. From its headquarters, the analysts of the NSA use a number of high-tech platforms such as ships at sea and satellites hovering in space to monitor communications on a global basis.
The NSA has a checkered past, with its veil of secrecy paramount in all its work. The work of the NSA came crashing down in September 1960 when two of its cryptographers, William Martin and Bernon Mitchell, defected to Russia and held a press conference detailing their NSA affiliation. In later years, the agency was caught up in the Bush administration’s war on terror. Some of its tactics—like the reading of American citizens e-mails and the tapping of phone calls, which the agency said it was searching for any links to foreign terrorists—brought a new call for the overhaul of the NSA.
No Actionable Intelligence From Winds
The paper written by Hanyok and Mowry was given little publicity outside of the intelligence community and it has only recently been declassified. In their writing, both Hanyok and Mowry lay to rest any cry of conspiracy in the Winds message as it related to the Pearl Harbor attack. One of the authors told an interviewer, “Some conspiracy buffs might change their minds if they read my book.”
Using previously classified documents relating to the Pearl Harbor attack, the two scholars note, “A Winds Execute message was sent on 7 December, 1941 [and] the weight of the evidence indicates that one coded phrase, ‘West Wind Clear,’ was broadcast according to previous instructions some six to seven hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor.” They write that it is possible that a British listening post might have picked up the broadcast one to two hours after the attack, “but this only substantiates the anticlimactic nature of the broadcast.”
Roosevelt signs the declaration of war against Japan, December 8, 1941.
Hanyok and Mowry note, “From a military standpoint, the Winds coded message contained no actionable intelligence either about the Japanese operations in Southeast Asia and absolutely nothing about Pearl Harbor. In reality, the Japanese broadcast the coded phrases long after hostilities began––useless, in fact, to all who might have heard it.”
The authors cite the failures of the memories of so many people who were in the loop at the time for the possible misinterpretations of what they believed happened during that hectic time prior to December 7, 1941.
Hanyok and Mowry are adamant when they assert, “There simply was not one shred of actionable intelligence in any of the messages or transmissions that pointed to the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
Was Captain Laurance Safford to Blame?
They pin most of the blame on Captain Laurance Safford for the 50-plus-year misunderstanding of the Winds message. “Put to the test, though, Safford’s narrative about the Execute message simply failed to stand up to cross-examination. The Joint Congressional Committee shredded Safford’s story. The committee reduced it to the collection of unsubstantiated charges that all along had been its foundation. The documentary evidence [Safford] said was available simply did not, nor did it ever, exist. In truth, Safford produced nothing upon which any further investigation could proceed.”
The two historians also take a shot at the various conspiracy writers and bloggers who believe in Safford and his faith that the Winds Execute message was a genuine war warning. Talking about the various conspiracy writers, they say that “the writers inverted the normal rules of evidentiary argument,” stating that Safford’s testimony has not been officially rebuffed by the government all these many years later.
“The scholars and researchers who championed Safford’s version of the controversy abandoned the rigorous evidentiary requirements of the historical profession in order to advance their own thesis,” they say. “Safford’s case was built on mistaken deductions, reconstructed, nonexistent documents, a mutable version of events, as well as a cast of witnesses that Safford conjured up in his imagination.”
Captain L.F. Safford, chief of the Naval Intelligence section during the time of Pearl Harbor and a hearing witness, confers with Senator Homer Ferguson after a session.
Why the authors have put most of the blame on the shoulders of Laurance Safford, a distinguished Naval officer, a 1916 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the officer who established the Navy’s communications intelligence unit, is not known, but they must have their reasons.
In an interview with the New York Times, both Hanyok and Mowry say that when the naval officers who had a stake in the use of radio intelligence could not find a copy of the Winds message, they immediately charged a cover up by some people in the naval hierarchy. They also pointed out that when it was learned that the Japanese government began ordering their diplomats to begin destroying their code machines in early December 1941, they did so because it “was possible that they viewed the Japanese actions as ominous, but also contradictory and perhaps even confusing. More importantly, though, the binge of code destructions was occurring without the transmittal of the Winds execute message.”
A Controversy Without Answers
After reading both sides of the historical argument, it is nearly impossible, 65-plus years after the events that took place, to say who was right or wrong. It seems that the Winds Execute message will be debated as long as people have an interest in what took place before America was drawn into World War II. Neither the historical community nor the conspiracy buffs will be happy with the outcome, even with all the new information that has come into the public domain since the original investigations began in 1946.
A bluejacket killed during the Japanese attack lies on the beach at Kaneohoe.
What the historical record can attest to is that the Winds Execute message was so fraught with differing opinions, false leads, calls of a cover up on the part of the Navy for failing to locate the original documents (which might, or might not settle the matter once and for all), that any logical assumptions as to its authenticity is still in doubt, despite the passage of time.
The National Cryptologic Museum has all the records on the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7. They have all the lead up to the Japanese prior to the attack as we as many other records.
If we look at Roosevelts Record going back to 1940 he provided aid to Great Britain and Russia to keep them in the was against Hitler. He had 160 tons of gold retrieved from war purchase from South Africa to keep the UK in payments prior to Lend Lease being enacted by the US. He financed Russia for over a Billion dollars to pay for war materials until he could he could work with Lend Lease.
Another factor is that the Battleships in Pearl Harbor were basically obsolete well over 20 years old. There were two classes of battleships just completed, and another 4 ships of the South Dakota in construction. These were all modern and capable meeting the Japanese.
So is the insinuation the President wasn’t concerned about obsolete ships the correct interpetation of events leading up to the attack. The naval personnel were not obsolete, so was the decision basically to sacrafice the military personnel up to a certain point. Prior to the attack on the morning of the 7th, Admiral Stark had ample oppotunity to alert Pearl Harbor but did not the congressional hearings after the war made this very clear.
4 December 1941 - History
On 7 December 1941, the year-old seaplane tender Curtiss was tied up to mooring bouys at the mouth of Pearl Harbor's Middle Loch, across the channel from Ford Island. Like those on the other ships in the harbor, her crew immediately went to General Quarters when the Japanese began hitting their high-priority airfield and battleship targets shortly before 8 AM. About forty minutes later, a midget submarine fired a torpedo at her, which missed. In less than another half-hour an enemy dive bomber, crippled by anti-aircraft gunfire, dove into one of Curtiss ' big topside cranes and exploded, causing minor damage.
With that, a number of Japanese planes made dive bombing attacks on the seaplane tender, spraying her stern with fragments from a near miss, making other misses off her sides and placing one bomb into the top of her midships superstructure. That missile penetrated down to the front of the hangar and exploded, blowing holes in the Main and Second Decks. Fragments penetrated further, causing damage in the after engine room. The bomb's blast and fragments wrecked several shops near the hangar and set some intense fires. However, the blazes were soon extinguished, and Curtiss was completely repaired in a little over a month. About twenty of her men were killed by these Japanese attacks.
This page features views of USS Curtiss on or shortly after 7 December 1941.
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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
USS Curtiss (AV-4) afire after she was hit by a crashing Japanese dive bomber. Photographed from USS Tangier (AV-8).
USS Medusa (AR-1) is at right.
Timbers floating in the water (foreground) may be from USS Utah (AG-16), which had been sunk at her berth, astern of Tangier .
Note weathered paintwork on Curtiss and Medusa .
The original photograph was in the CinCPac report of the Pearl harbor Attack, 15 February 1942, Volume 3, in 1990.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
Online Image: 55KB 740 x 615 pixels
Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
The damaged USS Curtiss (AV-4), at left, and USS Medusa (AR-1), at right, at their moorings soon after the Japanese raid.
Note that Curtiss has been fitted with an air search radar.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
An officer and crewman with the wreckage of a Japanese Navy type 99 carrier bomber ("Val") that crashed into the ship's forward crane, on the starboard side of the Boat Deck atop the hangar, during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
This shows the tail of the aircraft, resting atop some of Curtiss ' boats. It was plane # "A1-225", from the carrier Akagi .
Photographed on the ship's Boat Deck, 7 December 1941.
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
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Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
Note: This image is rather out of focus.
Wreckage of a Japanese Navy type 99 carrier bomber ("Val") that crashed into the ship's forward crane, on the starboard side of the Boat Deck atop the hangar, during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
This was plane # "A1-225", from the carrier Akagi .
Photographed on the ship's Boat Deck, 7 December 1941.
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
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Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
Hole in the Main Deck made by a Japanese 250 kilogram bomb that struck the ship during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941. The bomb initially struck atop Curtiss ' Boat Deck near the starboard side amidships and penetrated three decks to explode at Main Deck level at the site of this hole. The hole was about eight feet in diameter.
View looks toward the port side at the forward end of the Hangar, with the wreckage of the Battery Shop in the background.
Photographed on 7 December 1941.
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Online Image: 110KB 740 x 615 pixels
Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
Wreckage of a burned-out OS2U-2 floatplane on the after deck of USS Curtiss (AV-4), photographed soon after the Japanese raid.
Curtiss had been hit in the hangar area by a Japanese plane and by a bomb during the Japanese raid, and near-missed off the stern by another bomb.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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View on the Main Deck, looking aft from the hangar doors area. Burned-out plane on deck is an OS2U-2 floatplane that was destroyed on board Curtiss during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
Photographed on the day of the attack, shortly after fires were put out on board the ship.
Note fire extinguisher on deck in the foreground.
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Online Image: 92KB 740 x 615 pixels
View on the Main Deck, looking forward, showing blast damage to the hangar doors resulting from a Japanese 250 kilogram bomb that exploded inside the hangar during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
In the foreground is the wreckage of an OS2U-2 floatplane that was destroyed on board Curtiss during the attack.
Photographed on 7 December 1941.
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Online Image: 108KB 740 x 610 pixels
View on the Main Deck, looking forward and to port, showing blast damage to the hangar doors resulting from a Japanese 250 kilogram bomb that exploded inside the hangar during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
In the foreground is the wreckage of an OS2U-2 floatplane that was destroyed on board Curtiss during the attack.
Photographed on 7 December 1941.
Note ventilator head in the right foreground and shuffleboard court painted on the deck near the OS2U wreckage.
4 December 1941 - History
"All the publicity is 'Remember Pearl Harbor.' They should take a look at Hickam Field or what was Hickam Field. Twenty-seven bombs hit the main barracks. They dropped about 100 bombs on Hickam, practically all hits. The papers say they are poor bombardiers! They were perfect on nearly all their releases."
Charles P. Eckhert, Major, Army Air Forces, 10 December 1941.
At approximately 0755 on 7 December 1941 the first Japanese aircraft struck the Territory of Hawaii. In less than two hours they inflicted upon the Hawaiian Air Force the most terrible destruction it had ever received. All the anti-saboteur alerts, mock battles, and practice deployments proved to be of no avail during the actual attack. Only the individual courage and sacrifice of personnel acting in fear and desperation prevented the Japanese from completely destroying the Army Air Forces on Oahu.
The Japanese Attack
The Japanese planned to hit Pearl Harbor just after sunrise on a Sunday morning. They reasoned, correctly, that defenses would be at their weakest at this time due to the American tradition of taking Sunday as a rest day. The attack's primary purpose was to inflict sufficient damage on the US Fleet so it would be unable to interfere with their conquest plans in the Pacific for at least six months. Six carriers--the Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, and Zuikaku--would transport a 360-aircraft* attack force to a point 220 miles north of Oahu. The Japanese believed their carriers, concealed by darkness during the final approach, could steam no closer without risk of being spotted by American reconnaissance aircraft. So worried were they about the air defenses on Oahu, they committed over a third of the attacking aircraft just to provide air cover for the remaining force. Another 39 aircraft would take off and fly top cover for the carrier force, just in case the Americans tried to attack. 1
Three types of aircraft were used in the attack: 143 Nakajima Type 97 three-place bombers (B5N2 model 11), 129 Aichi Type 99 two-place dive bombers (D3A1 model 11), and 78 Mitsubishi Type 0
* Several publications, including the Congressional Investigation Report, give different figures for the number of aircraft used by the Japanese during the attack. Our thanks to David Aiken of Irving, Texas, for sharing his work in translating and interpreting the Japanese history series Senshi Sosho: Hawai Sakusen (BKS Vol 10), pp. 596-616, which contains, we feel, the most accurate information on actual aircraft used in the attack.
To the left is the Japanese carrier Akagi, flagship of VAdm Chuichi Nagumo, who headed the task force which attacked military installations on Oahu. Above, a Nakajima B5N (Kate) bomber heading toward Pearl Harbor with its deadly bomb* and below, a Mitsubishi A6M2 (Zero) fighter launching from a carrier deck as the ship's crew waves and yells "Banzai!"
* Aircraft pictured flying over Japan or, possibly, the Coral Sea. On 7 Dec 1941, this Akagi-based plane carried a torpedo rather than the No. 80 ordinary bomb pictured here.
single-place fighters (A6M2 model 21).* The Nakajima was used with three different bomb loads. Forty aircraft were loaded with 800-kilogram modified torpedos for use against large naval targets. Another 49 Nakajimas were loaded with 800-kilogram, specially modified, armor-piercing 16-inch naval shells, also for use against large ships. The remaining 54 aircraft carried a mixed load 18 had two 250-kilogram bombs for land targets, and 36 had one 250-kilogram and six 60-kilogram bombs, also for land targets. In addition each aircraft carried a hand-operated, rear-mounted, 7.7mm machine gun. The Nakajima delivered its bomb load primarily from the horizontal position, either at high altitude (around 10,000 feet) for those carrying the modified artillery shells or at low altitude (50 feet) for those with torpedoes. Bombers with multiple bomb loads could drop them either singly, in pairs, or all at once depending on the targets attacked. 2
The Aichis carried a 250-kilogram land target bomb during the first attack and a 250-kilogram ordinary bomb for use against naval targets during the second attack. In addition, each aircraft could carry two 60-kilogram bombs under the wings. According to eyewitness accounts several dive bombers made multiple bombing runs, and these may have had the additional 60-kilogram bombs on board, although no Japanese records have been found supporting this claim. Each aircraft had two fuselage-mounted, forward-firing, 7.7mm machine guns and a hand-operated, rear-mounted, 7.7mm machine gun. After completing its bombing attack, the aircraft could make repeated strafing attacks. 3
The Zeros were the Japanese Navy's best aircraft. On the morning of 7 December they could outmaneuver anything stationed on Oahu. Armed with two wing-mounted 20mm cannons and two 7.7mm machine guns mounted in the engine cowling, they also outgunned anything that would be sent up against them. Their primary job was to protect the other aircraft against American fighters. After gaining air superiority, or in case there was little to no fighter resistance, the Zero pilots were free to attack targets of opportunity anywhere on the island. 4
Ideally, all the aircraft would strike their assigned targets simultaneously, thus assuring complete surprise. To launch and assemble that many aircraft in the dark would be difficult and would consume large quantities of fuel needed for the actual attack. The Japanese then modified the plan. Half the force, or 189 aircraft, would attack in the first wave and the remaining 171 would hit 30 minutes later. Thirty-nine fighters would take off and remain above the carriers to provide protection in case of attack. All the torpedo bombers were in the first wave because they were the most vulnerable and needed the surprise element to ensure success. The launch was accomplished almost exactly according to plan. All the first wave aircraft except one horizontal bomber, three dive bombers, and two Zeros launched within fifteen minutes, a record for the Japanese. All the aborts from the first wave were for mechanical problems that developed prior to takeoff. The second wave, although delayed due to rough seas, made it off with the loss of only four aircraft. Two dive bombers aborted on
* In early 1942 the allies would assign code names to enemy aircraft: the Nakajima B5N was called the Kate the Aichi D3A, Val and the Mitsubishi A6M, Zeke. The Zeke was probably better known as the Zero from its Japanese name "Zero-Sen," meaning it was produced in the Japanese year of 5700 (1940).
takeoff, while one dive bomber and one Zero aborted for mechanical problems. 5
Roughly twenty minutes ahead of this attacking armada flew two Zero type scout planes launched from the heavy cruisers Chikuma and Tone. It was their job to make last-minute observations of Pearl Harbor and the alternate fleet staging area at Lahaina, Maui, and notify Lt Cmdr Mitsuo Fuchida, airborne commander, of any changes. This meant breaking radio silence, but Fuchida considered this information so critical he was willing to take the chance that the Americans would not discover the scout aircraft. Not only were the scout planes spotted, five different radar stations on Oahu tracked one of them across the island. Unfortunately, these stations had no idea how important this contact was and did nothing about it. The scout planes encountered no opposition and radioed back that the weather over the target was clear, no ships were anchored at Lahaina, and no changes in the ships at Pearl Harbor had been made.
Just north of Kahuku Point the first wave formed into attack formations, turned west, and paralleled the island for several miles. On reaching the Haleiwa area, the force split into two groups. Fuchida took direct command of the horizontal bombers and the torpedo planes under the command of Lt Cmdr Shigeharu Murata and headed toward Kaena Point. Just short of the Point, Fuchida again changed direction, heading south, staying west of the Waianae Mountains. These two groups of aircraft split again before the actual attack on Pearl Harbor so they hit the facility from the west and south. Other than uncoordinated strafing passes on Hickam Field and other targets of opportunity, none of these aircraft directly attacked the Hawaiian Air Force facilities on Oahu their targets were the Navy ships in the harbor.
Lt Cmdr Shigeru Itaya's fighters escorted various units including the dive bomber force under Lt Cmdr Kakuichi Takahashi. After separating from Fuchida, Takahashi's bombers flew straight down the center of Oahu, with the fighters providing top cover. Their route took them over Wheeler Field, where they divided, and part of the force attacked the field from the east and west, while the rest continued on down the island to Hickam Field and Ford Island, where they again divided and attacked from several directions. From there they moved on to Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, and finally Ewa Field Auxiliary Base.
The first Hawaiian Air Force installation to be hit by this attacking force was Wheeler Field. Approaching the field from the north, the dive bombers split into two groups. Takahashi took 26 aircraft and continued south to hit Hickam and Ford Island, while Lt Akira Sakamoto took the remaining 25 into Wheeler. Part of Sakamoto's force turned west and then south, paralleling the Waianae Mountains until abreast of the base, then headed east and began diving on the base from the west. The rest of his aircraft turned east, then south, then west, and hit the field from the east. No one on the ground sighted these aircraft until they had made the final turn for the attack. Eyewitness accounts would claim the aircraft coming in from the west had flown through a pass in the Waianaes called Kolekole. To someone standing on the ground, they would indeed have appeared to approach through the mountains, but all the aircraft that hit Wheeler Field came from the north and stayed east of the Waianaes.
Japanese Aircraft Deployment
Wheeler Field in 1941, with hangar row at extreme left across from the concrete barracks that housed pursuit squadron enlisted personnel. The Waianae mountain range is in background, and the deep cut is Kolekole Pass. This natural cleft took its name from a large stone which Hawaiian legend depicted as a beneficial guardian of the pass to whom offerings of flowers and maile were made by travelers. (Harry P. Kilpatrick)
The Japanese took Wheeler Field completely by surprise. The first wave of dive bombers lined up on the hangars paralleling the aircraft parking area. Releasing their bombs from 500 to 1000 feet, they scored direct hits on Hangars 1 and 3 and additional buildings in that area. One bomb struck the 6th Pursuit Squadron barracks, destroying it. After completing their bomb runs, the pilots began making strafing passes on the parked aircraft. Once Itaya realized that they had taken the Americans completely by surprise and there would be no fighter opposition, he released the fighters from their role of protector and they began strafing ground targets. The 20mm cannons of the Zero fighters would do considerable damage to ground targets. To increase the amount of damage caused during the strafing runs, the Japanese had loaded their machine gun ammunition in the following order: two armor-piercing, one tracer two armor-piercing, one tracer two armor-piercing, one incendiary. With this loading the bullets would puncture things like gasoline tanks, and then the tracer and incendiary rounds would explode or set them on fire. They started many fires in this manner, and a thick pall of black smoke quickly covered the area. From the air it appeared that they had severely damaged the base and had destroyed all the aircraft on the ground. 6
Aircraft and maintenance facilities at Wheeler Field were the primary targets of the attack. The pilots had been too well trained to waste their bombs and ammunition on insignificant targets. One bomb did land in the front yard of a house, but it probably resulted from a miss rather than a deliberate attack on the housing area.* At times there were over 30 fighters
* The authors, along with Maj John W. Boozer III, Commander, 15th Air Base Squadron, located the bombed area using photographs taken immediately after the attack. The crater was located on a line running east to west through an aircraft hanger and a large building used as a barracks at the time of the attack. The attacking aircraft was probably aiming at one of these two buildings when he overshot his target and hit the housing area.
Above, burning hangars and aircraft at Wheeler Field, as photographed by a Japanese pilot participating in the attack. The thick black smoke that covered the area served to conceal some of the parked aircraft from the Japanese attackers.
Below, bomb crater in the front yard of family quarters at 540 Wright Avenue, across the street from the Wheeler flight line. (Joe K. Harding)
and dive bombers attacking Wheeler from every direction. In the confusion a missed target or a long strafing run was to be expected. Schofield Barracks, located next to Wheeler Field, also appeared to be under attack with all the aircraft flying in the area however, other than a possible isolated individual strafing attack or two, on targets of opportunity, the Japanese did not specifically target Schofield. 7
After making several strafing attacks on Wheeler, Lt Akira Sakamoto led the dive bombers south to the Marine Corps base at Ewa. The fighters continued a little longer and then left for other targets. While they were attacking Wheeler Field, the remaining dive bombers and fighters of the first wave continued south, where they again split and headed for either Kaneohe Naval Air Station or the Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor areas. During the attack on Kaneohe, Lt Tadashi Kaneko flew off and made a single strafing pass over Bellows Field, then rejoined his unit. Why he made this lone strafing attack is not known, because Bellows Field was not on the initial target list for his group. 8
The dive bombers and fighters that struck Hickam Field were not the first indication that personnel there had of the attack. When some of Murata's torpedo bombers hit Pearl Harbor, they flew directly over Hickam on their way out from the targets. Before anyone had a chance to react to the noise coming from Pearl Harbor or identify the low flying aircraft, the dive bombers and fighters were upon them. As at Wheeler Field, the first targets were those in and around the hangar area. The attack then widened to include supply buildings, the consolidated barracks and dining hall, the base chapel, the enlisted men's beer
A Nakajima B5N (Kate) horizontal bomber flying over Hickam's burning flight line.
garden, and the guardhouse all in just the first few minutes. This was in addition to machine gun attacks by both the dive bombers and the fighters on all visible aircraft and personnel in the area. Within minutes the base was ablaze with many fires, and the Americans lost any chance of launching aircraft to attack or quickly locate the attacking carriers. 9
Approximately 30 minutes later the second wave of 35 fighters, 54 horizontal bombers, and 78 dive bombers sighted the coast of Oahu. This group also approached from the north but was several miles east of the first attack. Roughly ten miles east of Kahuku Point, the second wave split into various attack groups. The dive bombers, under the command of Lt Cmdr Takashige Egusa, banked slightly to the right and approached Oahu just to the west of Kaneohe Bay, heading directly for Ford Island. Later, this group, after completing their bombing runs over Ford Island and the Pearl Harbor area, made strafing runs on Hickam Field and the Marine Corps base at Ewa. 10
Lt Cmdr Shigekazu Shimazaki's horizontal bombers split into three groups, with 18 aircraft coming straight in to hit Kaneohe Naval Air Station. The other two groups continued flying south, passing Diamond Head to the east and circling out over the ocean, where 27 struck Hickam Field and the remaining 9 hit Ford Island. Several individuals on the ground spotted this group approaching Hickam from the south, reinforcing rumors that the enemy carriers lay to the south of the island.
A B-24, serial number 40-237, en route to the Philippines from the 44th Bomb Group, was caught on the ground and destroyed by the Japanese during the attack. (Denver D, Gray, US Army Military History Institute)
Japanese Aircraft Deployment
Dividing again into two groups, the horizontal bombers hit Hickam from both low level, around 150 feet, and high level, about 1,000 feet. Targets of this attack continued to be buildings close to the flight line, the consolidated barracks, and the baseball diamond located next to the fire department facility.* 11
Staying with the horizontal and dive bombers, the fighters under Lt Saburo Shindo struck Kaneohe, Hickam, and Pearl Harbor. Seeing no resistance, Lt Sumio Nono led nine fighters away from Kaneohe toward Bellows Field. Attacking from the ocean side of the base, the fighters made repeated strafing attacks, destroying or damaging most of the aircraft parked there, the tent city area, and hitting several buildings. After completing their attack on Bellows, the fighters returned to Kaneohe and from there, worked their way back to their carriers. 12
In less than an hour the Japanese had destroyed or damaged more than fifty percent of the Hawaiian Air Force's aircraft, many buildings and support facilities, and left over 600 casualties on the three main airfields. The only people who saw the attack coming were the radar operators, and even they were not exactly sure what they were looking at.
The radar systems in use on 7 December were SCR-270-B radio sets. They were mobile units housed in two trucks. The unit's heart was the oscilloscope that gave a picture similar to a heart monitor in hospitals today. The operator would move the antenna through a given arc until the line across the bottom showed a small spike or "pip." By adjusting the antenna and the controls on the set, the pip was enhanced until the operator could tell the approximate distance to the target. Next, the operator would look out the window to a plate mounted on the antenna base, with an arrow on it that would give the direction of the contact. Unlike today's radar scopes the antenna did not oscillate and there was no constant repainting of the picture on the scope. This system could not tell an incoming target's altitude, its size or number, nor could it differentiate friend from foe. 13
In July 1941 these radio sets began arriving on Oahu. Signal Company personnel began assembling them at Schofield Barracks and then began learning how to operate them. Once assembled, personnel moved them to prepared sites throughout the island. The Signal Corps planned to put up six sets. On the morning of the attack, five were operational, with the sixth still at Schofield. The five operational sets were at Kaaawa, Opana, Kawailoa, Fort Shafter, and Koko Head. The sets began operating at 0400 on 7 December except at Opana, which came on the air at around 0415 due to a delay for maintenance on the generator first thing in the morning. The operators had been on duty since noon Saturday. They divided their tour between standing guard, maintenance, and operating the sets. The schedule called for each site to have a crew of three: one operator, one plotter, and one person to maintain the power generators. Because several units worked off commercial power and used the generators as standby power, some crews cut back to two people per shift on the weekend. Opana had two crew members that Sunday morning. 14
* See Chapter V for an explanation why the baseball diamond was targeted.
Above, an oscilloscope display at Opana radar site, showing the pip resulting from contact with the island of Kauai 89 miles away. Only distance and relative size of the target could be determined. A large flight of incoming aircraft would have generated a similar picture on the morning of 7 December. To the right, Pvt Joseph LaRue Lockard, the young Signal Corps member who was on duty at the Opana radar site with Pvt George E. Elliott (no photo available) the morning of the attack. Below, temporary information center built on top of Building 307 (a Signal Corps warehouse) at Fort Shafter to coordinate activities of the SCR-270-B radar sites. (All three photos courtesy of the US Army Museum of Hawaii)
During the first two hours, no radar contacts were made. At 0613, Koko Head and Fort Shafter began picking up sightings south of the island. Then at 0645, Kaaawa, Opana, and Kawailoa picked up a target approximately 135 miles north of Oahu heading south. All three stations called the Information Center with the targets, which were then plotted on the master plot board. Personnel at the center included five plotters (one for each radar site), a historical information plotter PFC Joseph P. McDonald, the switchboard operator and Lt Kermit Tyler, a pursuit pilot. The radar sites phoned the plots to the five plotters, and no one present found anything unusual with the information. McDonald had worked the switchboard for several months and knew the radar operators, while Tyler had been to the Information Center only once before. On 3 December he had worked from 1200 to 1600 with just the switchboard operator. On that occasion nothing had happened, because the sites were not operating. Therefore this was the first time he had actually seen personnel plot targets. When the reports began coming in, Tyler went to the historical plotter's position and talked with him about how he recorded the information. These first plots were probably the scout planes sent ahead of the main attacking force. 15
At 0700 all the radar sites began shutting down. At the Information Center the five plotters and the historical information plotter shut down and left the area, leaving McDonald and Tyler behind. At Opana, Pvts George E. Elliott and Joseph L. Lockard had been scheduled to work until noon, but the next shift had come back early from a pass to town so they could relieve them at 0800. This meant that when the truck arrived to take them to breakfast, they would be through for the day.
However, the same call that informed them about getting off early also let them know the truck would be late picking them up. Lockard was a trained radar operator and had been with the 270s since they arrived on the island, while Elliot had just transferred into the Signal Corps from the Hawaiian Air Force and only knew how to operate the plotting board. Because the breakfast truck would be late and they were going to be off for the rest of the day, the two decided to use the time to work on Elliot's training. A few minutes after seven, Elliot got a large spike on the screen thinking he had done something wrong, he immediately began to check the settings. Lockard then took over the operation and also rechecked the controls. This was the biggest sighting he had ever seen since learning how to operate the system. Elliot then tried to call the Information Center, using the phones connected directly to the plotters. No one was there to take the call. He then called on the administration line and got McDonald. The switchboard operator knew both of the radar operators and tried to explain to them that there was nobody on duty in the Center after 0800. McDonald then spotted Lt Tyler and called him over to talk to Elliot meanwhile, Lockard got on the phone and tried to explain that this was a large target and might be significant. McDonald interjected at this point that if the targets were so large, maybe they should call back the plotters so they could practice handling a big aircraft movement. Tyler thought about this for a moment and then told Lockard and McDonald not to worry and closed the conversation. 16
Because the breakfast truck still had not arrived, Elliot and Lockard continued tracking the incoming target until about twenty miles from the coast of Oahu. At that point ground interference blocked the
signal, and the target was lost. This was around 0745. Just then the breakfast truck pulled up, so the two young radar operators shut their unit off and headed down the mountain to breakfast, not yet realizing that they had discovered the first wave of the Japanese attack. 17
Why had Lt Tyler told the operators not to worry, and why had he not followed McDonald's advice to call back the plotters? Tyler saw no reason to change the normal operations that morning. First, there was no alert or warning of an impending attack. Second, the US Fleet's carriers were at sea and the sightings could well have been the carrier's aircraft returning to port.* Third, a bomber pilot friend had explained just a few days before that one could always tell when aircraft were arriving from the US because the local radio stations would play Hawaiian music all night. The incoming aircraft would use the music to tune their directional finders and thus locate the islands. (This was exactly what the Japanese did.) On the way to the Center, Tyler had heard the Hawaiian music, so he assumed a flight was coming in. Finally, although Lockard had said this was the biggest flight he had ever seen, he did not say how many aircraft he thought it might contain. Later, Lockard would claim he knew the flight had to number over 50 aircraft to make that large of a pip on the screen, but at the time he did not give that information to anyone. Had Tyler known that the sighting was over 50 aircraft, he might have reacted differently but with the information on hand, second lieutenants do not wake up commanding officers at seven o'clock Sunday mornings with wild speculations. 18
Lockard and Elliot heard about the attack when they returned to their camp. After a quick breakfast, they returned to Opana and helped keep the site operating 24 hours a day for the next several months. The first Lt Tyler heard about the attack was a telephone call from someone at Wheeler Field shortly after 0800. The plotters were immediately called back, and soon a full complement began to arrive. Tyler would stay in the Center except for short rest breaks for the next 36 hours. During the morning's activities, two plots began to form 30 to 50 miles southwest of Oahu.** Not knowing what these were and thinking they could be the retiring Japanese circling before landing on their carriers, the senior controller passed this information on to bomber command as the possible location for the Japanese attack force. No one remembered to check the early reports coming in before 0700 or the Opana sighting after 0700. It wasn't until several days later that people assembled this information and realized the radar stations had located the direction from which the attack had come. 19
As part of the American buildup in the Pacific, Washington scheduled 16 B-17s to deploy to the Philippines through Hawaii in late November 1941. The 38th Reconnaissance Squadron from Albuquerque, New Mexico, would supply eight aircraft and the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron from Fort Douglas, Utah, would furnish the remaining eight. The aircraft would take off from Hamilton Field, California, for the long flight to Hawaii. Modifications to the aircraft, installing long-range fuel tanks in
* The Navy would launch their carrier aircraft prior to arriving in port and have them land at one of the airfields so they could be used while the carriers were tied up in port.
** The plots may have been American aircraft looking for the Japanese or even an atmospheric phenomenon no one was ever quite sure where they came from.
the bomb bay, and high head winds combined to delay the flight until the evening of 6 December. General Marshall became alarmed over the delay, and sent General Hap Arnold to California to impress upon the crews the urgency of their mission and the potential danger they faced. Maj Truman H. Landon, flight leader for the 38th, questioned General Arnold about why--if the flight was so dangerous--were they not carrying ammunition for their guns. Arnold explained that the distance to Hawaii was so great, the B-17s needed to carry as much fuel as possible. The real danger would be during the second leg of the trip. It was a calculated risk that war would not start until after the aircraft arrived in Hawaii, where the protective grease would be removed from the guns and the aircraft armed for the final flight into the Philippines. 20
As the flight prepared to leave Hamilton Field, two aircraft from the 38th experienced engine trouble and didn't make the mission. One aircraft from the 88th also developed problems and aborted the takeoff. Once airborne, another aircraft from the 88th had problems and returned to Hamilton Field. In all, four B-17Cs and eight B-17Es, spaced about ten minutes apart, made the flight to Hawaii.*
The long flight over the water was uneventful, and no one experienced any major difficulties. The Navy had positioned ships across the Pacific for the aircraft to use as directional indicators, and as they neared Hawaii, radio station KGMB was playing Hawaiian music for them to use in locating the island. Capt Richard H. Carmichael from the 88th contacted the Hickam Field tower at 0745 but was still too far away, and the transmission was too garbled for anyone to understand. 21
A few minutes later the B-17s from the 38th sighted the Hawaiian Islands and spotted a flight of fighter aircraft coming out to meet them. Thinking they were Americans, the pilots were glad to have escorts for the remaining miles into the field. Suddenly, what they had thought to be friendly aircraft began firing at them, and each bomber took whatever evasive action it could. The Japanese attacked at least five aircraft, destroying two. 1st Lt Robert H. Richards tried to land his B-17C at Hickam, but the Japanese harassed him so badly that he aborted the landing and headed east out to sea. He then turned the aircraft and attempted a downwind landing at Bellows Field, but came in too fast and ran off the end of the runway into a ditch. Zeros repeatedly strafed the aircraft after it was on the ground. Initially maintenance personnel thought they could repair the aircraft, but they eventually used it to supply replacement parts for other aircraft, and it never flew again. Capt Raymond T. Swenson managed to land his B-17C at Hickam, but a strafing Zero hit the flare storage box in the middle of the aircraft, igniting the flares and causing the aircraft to burn in two. The crew all reached safety except for the flight surgeon, 1st Lt William R. Schick, mortally wounded by a passing Zero while he was riding in the observer's seat. Maintenance crews pushed the separated back portion of the aircraft away from the taxi area and eventually salvaged all four engines from the front half. The four remaining aircraft landed at Hickam Field, having experienced various attacks which caused minor damage. Maintenance
* Appendix D lists the aircraft serial numbers, pilots, crews, and landing locations in Hawaii on 7 December 1941.
Above, two Aichi D3A (Val) dive bombers photographed over Hickam Field by SSgt Lee R. Embree, a combat photographer aboard one of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron B-17Es that arrived from California in the middle of the attack.
Below, the wreckage of Captain Swenson's B-17C which burned in two after a strafing Japanese Zero hit its flare storage box.
Closeup view of front half of the burned B-17C. In left foreground is a straw helmet which identifies this as a picture taken by well-known photographer Tai Sing Loo, Pearl Harbor's main cameraman from 1918 to 1948.
personnel worked around the clock to have all four repaired within 24 hours. 22
The 88th arrived shortly after the 38th and met a similar fate. Capt Carmichael and later 1st Lt Harold N. Chaffin passed up Hickam Field, flew over Wheeler and landed their B-17s at the small auxiliary field at Haleiwa. 1st Lt Frank P. Bostrom attempted several landings at Hickam, only to be attacked each time by the Japanese, so he headed over to Barbers Point and eventually flew to the northern part of the island where he was again attacked by the Japanese and forced to land at the Kahuku Golf Course. General Martin had planned to build an emergency air strip in that area, but it had not been completed when Bostrom landed there. Two more aircraft from the 88th eventually landed at Hickam Field, timing their landings between Japanese attacks. The sixth aircraft's route was a bit more confusing. 23
The maintenance records for Hickam Field on that day show three aircraft from the 88th in commission at Hickam Field. Still, several eyewitnesses, including General Davidson and 2d Lt Henry Wells Lawrence, claimed a B-17E landed at Wheeler Field (see Chapter VI for the eyewitness accounts). They described how the aircraft came in cross-wind over the highway and landed along the width of the grass field at Wheeler, stopping just short of the hangars. General Davidson stated that when he asked the pilot why he landed at Wheeler Field, the pilot replied that by then all he was looking for was a flat piece of land to set the aircraft down. Lt Lawrence described the aircraft perfectly and added that when he came down from his mission later that
morning, he did not remember seeing it again. In fact no one remembers seeing the aircraft after it landed. At the same time this B-17 was landing, a B-18 that had flown from the island of Molakai landed at Wheeler. It is possible that the personnel at Wheeler mistook the B-18 for the B-17. Even Capt Brooke E. Allen, a B-17 pilot at Hickam Field, admitted that when he first saw the B-17s arriving, he thought they were Japanese. The Hawaiian Air Force had kept the flight from the coast a secret, and the B-17E model was new to the islands so most people had never seen one before. If a B-17 pilot could become confused during the attack and misidentify an aircraft, so could fighter pilots under attack. A second, more plausible explanation is that the B-17 did land at Wheeler Field but sometime during the morning took off and flew to Hickam. This would explain the eyewitness accounts of its landing, why no one remembers seeing it after the attack, and why the maintenance records written at 1300 recorded three B-17Es at Hickam. 24
Regardless of where this sixth aircraft initially landed, the 88th was extremely lucky, with five out of six aircraft in commission by the next day. Maintenance personnel repaired Bostrom's aircraft at the Kahuku Golf Course and flew it back to Hickam Field within a week. 25
Air Force Opposition
The Japanese caught the Hawaiian Air Force completely by surprise. There was no coordinated, systematic, island-wide air defense that morning. Instead, 14 individual pilots attempted to engage the enemy with varying degrees of success. Later in the morning, after the attacks, another dozen pilots took off not knowing the Japanese had left the area. Those involved in the attack considered it quite an accomplishment just to get a fighter in the air that morning, much less to do any damage to the attackers. 26
The first confirmed takeoffs by American pilots against the attack occurred at Haleiwa Auxiliary Field. 2d Lts George S. Welch and Kenneth M. Taylor traveled by automobile from Wheeler Field to Haleiwa when they realized the island was under attack. Their squadron had deployed to Haleiwa for gunnery practice, and the Japanese had not attacked there. Ground crews got the P-40s armed and ready to go when Welch and Taylor arrived so they could immediately take off. The time was around 0830. Ground control directed the two pilots to head for the southern tip of the island where the Japanese from the first wave were still strafing the Marine base at Ewa. Spotting a group of enemy planes in a long line, both pilots jumped into the line and began shooting down aircraft, each getting two confirmed kills during this first engagement. Taylor fired on a third plane but did not see the crash. Both pilots were running out of ammunition and low on fuel, so they returned to Wheeler Field to rearm and refuel.
At Wheeler, things were in turmoil. The Japanese attack had destroyed or damaged most of the P-40s. One hangar had received a direct hit and secondary explosions from the ammunition stored in it continued for several hours. As ground personnel reached the flight line, they began pulling the aircraft away from the immediate area into the protective revetments around the field. Once the aircraft were clear, they returned to the hangar area to gather up as much
ammunition as they could find and returned to the aircraft to arm and prepare them for flight. By this time there were many more pilots available than aircraft ready to fly, so it became a contest as to who would get which aircraft. 1st Lt Lewis M. Sanders picked three experienced pilots and told them to grab the first available aircraft and follow him for a four-ship attack. Lts John M. Thacker and Philip M. Rasmussen stayed by their aircraft until they were ready to go and then jumped in and began to taxi. Lt Othneil Norris assisted in getting an aircraft ready, but left it to go get a new parachute 2d Lt Gordon H. Sterling, Jr. spotted the unattended aircraft, jumped in, and taxied out to join Sanders and the other two pilots. This practice of grabbing any aircraft ready to fly would happen several more times before the day was over.
Once airborne, around 0850, Sanders led the flight east toward Bellows Field. Spotting the Japanese second wave over Kaneohe, the four P-36s immediately engaged. Sanders got on the tail of an enemy aircraft and shot it down. Coming off the attack, he spotted Sterling in hot pursuit of a Japanese plane that was diving toward the water. Behind Sterling another Japanese had gotten into the fight and was shooting at Sterling. Sanders came up behind this aircraft and opened fire. Rasmussen observed the four aircraft: the plane that Sterling was attacking crashed Sterling, close behind, also plunged into the sea, shot down by the Japanese on his tail Sanders meanwhile had set fire to this fighter, but Rasmussen did not know whether it, too, went into the water. Just before witnessing Sterling's death, Rasmussen had charged his guns, only to have them start firing on their own. While trying to stop the guns from firing, a Japanese aircraft passed directly in front of him and exploded. Things began to happen fast after that, and he soon had two Zeros on his tail. Taking evasive action, he lost them in some cloud cover. Meanwhile, Thacker dove into the battle, only to discover his guns had jammed and would not fire. He kept making passes at the Japanese until hit several times, then broke off the engagement and returned to base. Sanders found himself alone with a Zero and was quickly losing the flying contest. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, he broke off the one-sided contest and headed back to Wheeler Field. So far the Americans had managed to get six aircraft airborne and had shot down seven Japanese with two more probables at the cost of one P-36.
From that point on, the story became confusing and, because pilots were taking off individually from two different fields and then joining up after getting airborne, takeoff times were difficult, if not impossible, to verify. About the same time Sanders' flight was mixing it up with the Japanese over Kaneohe, Welch and Taylor were ready to head out on their second flight that morning. Welch got off first, and just as Taylor was ready to go, another Japanese attack hit Wheeler Field. Taylor waited until what he thought was the last in the line of Japanese aircraft and took off after them, guns blazing. Just after he became airborne, another Japanese got on his tail and opened fire. For a few seconds it looked grim but Welch had stayed in the immediate area, saw what was happening to Taylor, and came to the rescue. He jumped behind the aircraft that was shooting at Taylor and scored his third kill for the day. This allowed Taylor to break free and gain altitude. Although wounded in the action Taylor was still able to fly, so he continued attacking Japanese aircraft wherever he
could find them, damaging at least one more. Welch, meanwhile, headed back to Ewa and got a confirmed kill on another Japanese, bringing his total for the day to four.
Meanwhile, at Bellows Field, 1st Lt Samuel W. Bishop and 2d Lt George A. Whiteman attempted to take off to join the defense. Whiteman was hit as he cleared the ground and crashed just off the end of the runway. Bishop managed to get his P-40 into the air but before he could gain altitude, several Zeros attacked him, and he crashed into the ocean. Whiteman was killed instantly, but Bishop was only wounded and managed to swim to shore. While this was going on, Haleiwa launched aircraft as fast as pilots showed up. Lts John Dains and John Webster both got off at different times in P-40s, while Lts Harry Brown and Robert Rogers each took off in P-36s. From Wheeler Field, Lts Malcolm Moore and Othneil Norris entered the fight, also flying P-36s. Brown and Rogers headed out to Kahuku Point, where they engaged the enemy without any confirmed kills, but Rogers damaged one enemy aircraft. From there they joined up with Moore and Webster and headed west. At Kaena Point, Webster damaged one aircraft, but could not confirm a kill. Rogers was cornered by two Japanese and Brown plowed into the fight, shooting down one attacker. As the action started to wind down, Moore opened up on one retreating Japanese aircraft but failed to down it. Brown spotted the smoking ship and also fired but, like Moore, could not hit a vital spot, and the aircraft got away. Rogers started to run low on fuel, so he returned to Haleiwa where he took off on his second mission in a P-36. Dains also returned to Haleiwa and got off on a second mission in a P-40.
By this time the Japanese had completed their attack and were returning to their carriers as fast as they could. Wheeler Field and Haleiwa kept launching aircraft for the next hour with little coordination or direction for the pilots. No additional combat with the Japanese
Five Army Air Forces pilots from Wheeler Field who downed a total of nine Japanese planes the morning of 7 December 1941. Left to right: 2d Lt Harry W. Brown, 2d Lt Philip M. Rasmussen, 2d Lt Kenneth M. Taylor, 2d Lt George S. Welch, 1st Lt Lewis M. Sanders.
occurred. One mystery still remains concerning the action that occurred in the air that Sunday morning. Radar operators at the station at Kaawa watched a P-40 shoot down a Japanese Zero during the height of the battle. The operators were positive the American aircraft was a P-40, and they identified it both from its distinctive silhouette and the sound of its engine. None of the pilots that survived that morning's action remembered flying in the Kaawa area. The only pilot whose action was unaccounted for was Lt John Dains, who flew two missions that morning in a P-40. Both times he was separated from the other American fighters and fought by himself. After landing the second time, he switched to a P-36 and joined up with George Welch for a third mission. Neither pilot spotted anything because by that time the Japanese had cleared the area, so they decided to return to Wheeler Field.
On the return flight, antiaircraft guns at Schofield Barracks opened up on the two aircraft, killing Dains. There were three plausible explanations. First, the radar operators could have been mistaken in what they saw second, some other P-40 pilot downed the Japanese plane and was unaware where the action occurred or third, we suspect that Dains did get the enemy plane as the ground personnel observed and just never got the chance to tell his story.
The Japanese would concede the loss of twenty-nine aircraft from all causes that morning. The Hawaiian Air Force claimed ten of those losses with four more probables and two Japanese aircraft damaged. If Dains' kill is added to the list, the score comes out to eleven Japanese aircraft destroyed in air-to-air combat with a loss of four American planes, which were flown by Whiteman, Sterling, Bishop, and Dains.
Japanese plane shot down by Lt George Welch, crashed at 711 Neal Street, Wahiawa, located next to Wheeler Field. Photo by CWO Joe K. Harding, USAF, Retired. He was a master sergeant at the time he took this picture.
Sterling was the only pilot lost in actual combat with the enemy the Japanese downed Whiteman and Bishop during takeoff, and friendly fire shot down Dains. Could the American fighter forces have made a difference that morning had they known about the attack? The above information would certainly seem to suggest they could. But it is important to remember that the Japanese had committed over half their force just to deal with the American fighters. They abandoned their whole fighter defense system when they encountered no initial reaction from the Americans. This meant that the few aircraft that did get airborne that morning hit an almost unprotected attacking force. Welch and Taylor's encounters over Ewa during their first flight provided an example of this. Had the American forces met the Japanese from the beginning, the formation over Ewa would certainly have had Zeros flying top cover for them. As Sanders discovered over Kaneohe, the P-36 was no match for the Zero and without special training or good luck, neither was the P-40. But these are matters of speculation. More important under the circumstances that morning, however, was how the personnel of the Hawaiian Air Force in fact responded. From the lowest ranking ground personnel to the hottest fighter pilot in the command, everyone did the best they could with what they had. The men of the Hawaiian Air Force might have been caught by surprise, but they most certainly did not give up.
The WWII Home Front
The World War II period resulted in the largest number of people migrating within the United States, in the history of the country. Individuals and families relocated to industrial centers for good paying war jobs, and out of a sense of patriotic duty.
On the morning of December 7, 1941USS Arizona, at height of fire, following Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Library of Congress image with compilation.
Library of Congress and overlay.
On the morning of December 7, 1941 military forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Naval Fleet and ground bases at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. On December 8, 1941, one day after the “Day of Infamy,” the United States declared war against the Empire of Japan and on December 11, 1941 Japan’s ally, Germany, declared war on the United States. Sixteen million Americans, mostly young working age men, would serve in the military during WWII, out of an overall United States population of 113 million. While an unprecedented number of young men would serve in World War II, the country would drastically increase its war production on the Home Front, serving not only the needs of the armed forces of the United States but her allies as well - what President Franklin Roosevelt called “The Arsenal of Democracy.” The combination of so many serving in the military, during a period of necessary and drastic increases in production, led to unprecedented social changes on the American Home Front.
Shortage of WorkersVelma Briggs Moore, at right, with a coworker at Marinship in Sausalito, California.
A shortage of white male workers led to active recruitment, by the United States Government and American businesses, to war industry jobs. Initially white middle class women were recruited, followed by minority men, and finally minority women. Integration of women and minorities into the workforce was initially met with resistance, however, the new opportunities for women and minorities “cracked open” the door to equal rights and would have profound impacts on the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements during the following decades. During World War II six million women served in non-traditional jobs in the defense industries. These women later came to be known as ‘Rosies”, based upon a popular song from 1943 entitled, “Rosie the Riveter”, about a women building planes during the war.
Boom TownsDouble Bottom Assembly crew at Kaiser, Richmond Shipyard No. 4
Photo by Nadaner Studios. Courtesy Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front NHP. RORI 1039
The World War II period resulted in the largest number of people migrating within the United States, in the history of the country. Individuals and families relocated to industrial centers for good paying war jobs, and out of a sense of patriotic duty. Many industrial centers became “boom towns”, growing at phenomenal rates. One example, the City of Richmond, California, grew from a population of under 24,000 to over 100,000 during the war. Workers from around the nation had to intermingle with each other and overcome differences, in order to meet war demands. Following World War II, many migrants decided to stay in their new homes, forever changing the cultural landscape of the United States.
Working Conditions and Challenges
Home Front workers faced many challenges and many of which would lead to change. Working conditions on the Home Front were difficult and dangerous. Between the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and the D-Day Invasion of Europe in June of 1944, there were more Home Front industrial casualties than military casualties. This high number of industrial casualties would lead to improved work place safety and regulations. Another challenge faced by working women on the Home Front was childcare, as mothers comprised a significant portion of the work force. In some progressive communities and businesses this led to the establishment of child development centers, although nationwide only 10% of women had access to professional childcare.
Rationing on the Home FrontPoster from WWII
In addition to Home Front workers, everyone was expected to be an active participant in the war effort. Rationing was a way of life as twenty commodities were rationed and people were asked to, “Use it up – Wear it out – Make it do – or Do without.” Materials vital to the war effort were collected, often by youth groups, and recycled. Many Americans supported the war effort by purchasing war bonds. Women replaced men in sports leagues, orchestras and community institutions. Americans grew 60% of the produce they consumed in “Victory Gardens”. The war effort on the United States Home Front was a total effort.
Preserving HistoryThe Visitor Education Center at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park
Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park was established in Richmond, California in the year 2000, to tell this national story. The Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond produced 747 cargo ships during World War II, the most productive shipyards in history. In addition, Richmond had a total of 55 war industries. Richmond also has a large number of intact historical buildings from the period and the Richmond Museum Association, one of the parks cooperative partners, operates the SS Red Oak Victory, the last remaining Victory Ship built in the Richmond Shipyards.
Just after 9:30 a.m. on December 8, 1941, on a national radio broadcast, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) goes before a joint session of the U.S. Congress and begins with the following words: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." The president requests a declaration of war against Japan. Radios all over Washington state are turned on to his speech. The day before, Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor.
In schools the speech was broadcast over loudspeakers. Twenty-one minutes after President Roosevelt spoke, the U.S. Senate voted (82 for and 0 against) to declare war. The U.S. House of Representatives concurred 12 minutes later by a vote of 388 for and 1 against. Representative Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973), a Republican from Montana, cast the lone dissenting vote. Rankin had voted against declaring war during World War I.
The action by Congress was in reaction to Japan's air bombing raids on U.S. posts at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands and, according to the White House, Guam, Wake, and Midway Islands. The White House also reported that Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed one "old" battleship, a destroyer, and “a large number of” airplanes." A total 1,500 deaths and 1,500 injuries were reported. Actual losses were eight battleships, three destroyers, three light cruisers, four auxiliary craft, 188 airplanes, 2,403 deaths, and 1,178 wounded.
Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie (1900-1966) made the following statement shortly after the United States declared war: