tv Pearl Harbor Roundtable Discussion CSPAN November 10, 2022 11:58am-1:23pm EST
historians about the impact of gutting pearl harbor. >> and so, bree looked at this pretty small and so this is the pearl harbor discussion that we promise you and to come later and we should to be super and provocative based on every town that we've had has been super interesting and provocative so
far so prior to coming to the museum, i spent years and decades really in the military planners and plans and the branches in the sequels and for the range of contingencies to areas of you think about that, this is kind of the hypothetical piece so in the spirit of scenario planning, in consideration of futures, and then attendance of the sequels in a roundtable discussion will really consider kind of actuals pertaining the attack on pearl harbor and looking at the period from november 1941, through august of 1942. so of course i get the best people around and to participate in this conversation and they called it and said it he would be the ringmaster for the stars and it's really an amazing thing here today some doctor, a member of the museum's presidential counselor advisory board and professor of history in new
orleans and we have historians partial and we saw it earlier today, and nice to meet you. and as you know, they're all experts on this topic so level idly discussion with the questions of course caused by the doctor and other presidential counselor and historian and chief of historical services for the army heritage and education center that my boss, 28 years ago now i think, it's a little while back and certainly and acknowledge expert on contemporary conflicts and on the doctrine and strategic policy and as rob mentioned earlier, he has been awarded the prestigious society military history and a price for
his lifetime contributions in the field at some really hard, the arena in the stars but also one of the stars and it's really my honor to turn it over and say thank you to our team here. >> thank you pretty you know that he had a distinguished career because he survived an evaluation from a in his younger days pretty he still made col. to try could not do it. and it is a truly i told mike that might bother you see me over the years, my general roll these congress has been to handle these panels of experts like a said the ringmaster to the stars and this is a great group and you have ian toll finishing up his trilogy of a bore and also jonathan parshall you heard him this morning with the exempla planetary probably
unmatched knowledge of the warfare and pacific it in the description of a streambed monk like figure that we've had. [laughter] in a might fit that he is also has a lot of long titles that would be long and hard and still mad at me because i help is - was a game. >> i played third base with the wrong glasses on i thought it would getting killed. but so this is a trend off this whole session is been all these questions about the what-ifs and i'm going to try to beckon these experts and for the questions of their will go to the audience and you can bring all of your counterfactual to us so one of the great things about counterfactual history, you can never be proven wrong read and we can go all kinds of directions on this but i want to start off with one that actually
the doctor cut have previewed this from this morning. and she talked about this historian named aaron anderson the started to write about the oil embargo netted very interesting argument in the present resume with the new the oil embargo would push into war did not want to go that far but when sanctions got put into effect, including the freezing assets of the state department bureaucracy kind of an out of control. basically, it the secretary lost control where was going by the time that it was on the roll in place and fdr could not stop it and we have this rule is of the first question that i want to throw out the panel of experts is what happens if anderson is right and richard frank and had discussions, portably but there's actually misinformation from fdr.
the richard frank is not convinced that this is true with the bottom line, if there is in his right and fdr did have the sense that the oil embargo would push into the war they didn't want that, what happens if we through sanctions in the summer of 1941, with the oil embargo that we would still end up with japan and the war the way they do. >> nobody wants to take that one and i'm not going to. [laughter] no actually i will read think that i would go back to the statement at the beginning that you only get out that you may gt more time out of the process. and it's clear that was a good time for us to be standing for the time that we could get given the state of her own more preparations but i think again it just sort of given that the largest trajectory of the u.s. and japan and their entanglements in china, that there has no way at some point
those two are not going to come into a collision course and you'll end up with a war. that's my take so you would say the maybe a little later, that's what i would say. >> okay, and with good reason. it was clear that the toilet in the total oil embargo started the clock ticking the japanese immediately required to tap into the stockpile which was finite and they didn't have any realistic solutions to that problem other than essentially giving our governments what we wanted including a full part in going south to go get the oil, there was a ticket for the never linda's. and so, if the clock did not start to take it or if it was sticking but it was taking more
slowly because it was not a total embargo, then i think that you could say is it possible counterfactual with the decision to go to work is delayed and if it's delayed about even as much as a month, a few months, and japanese that point would've get the war in russia and we would have a better idea that they will score total victory early snow that winter and maybe it starts to wane a little bit in the decision-making on that i think that it is sort of fruitless to speculate but it is useful i think just to realize that this time even if the decision had been pushed back by another matter of matter of weeks it could have significant consequences could. >> and with respect to a lot of your question, we've already past the bill and regardless of what you do, having to do with the oil embargo in 1941, the japanese still aware that again
the clock is ticking in the sometime in 199043 we would be given an absolutely and bit of naval supremacy in the ocean and the military options will be nail so if you are going to go to work, the sooner the better. >> okay, pursue another angle on this in the stock about the 14th roll in decision making with the japanese and making the things that we talk about insurance and we talk about one of the problems of deterrence is the message that you're trying to send is only one that gets received, talk about the fact the marshall makes this big chill about the b-17 in the philippines because he thinks that will detour the japanese from attacking it but in fact it's more of a spurned it looks like increasing the threat is there some way that may be a threat or perhaps a japanese but have the philippines factor in
this decision-making or was assimilated change that factor than what goes on. >> i think the japanese were about to leave any potential enemy behind but if you talk about their access to the oil with the united states and 60 percent of the world's reserves at the time i think the next big indonesia and the japanese were looking some way to replace the oil for military and economic purposes they really had take the other alternative. in one of the things that impressed me over the years to know the japanese military historians the japanese military culture, so deeply affected they were by the german experience. there is a huge club in japan and perhaps latino and.
[laughter] and it is still the fact of the european military on japan is german or british and certainly would've run counter to the british or german's strategy that existed the potential force which had some naval capability and erupt your movement and i think that we sometimes forget how few japanese divisions think it is like six, involved and the south and certainly the japanese were concerned about any losses at all in their naval forces. and one of the things that i think struck me in trying to do ministry the pacific war from
something other than american perspective is to how anxious and neurotic almost hysterical the japanese decision-makers thinking about all of the bad things in my happen for them if they didn't have to eliminate possible threats. >> i was going to add to that as well that the classic answer the question always does goes down to the community is that the japanese can't leave an unreduced - setting aside. and there is an article in the book talking about the roll of the japanese maybe leading up into more and a friend of mine just recently pointed this out to me and said that if you look, there's a series of wargames over conducted by the navy just prior to the outbreak of the war and is wargames, they tried to have different scenarios where
this just detect the doctor let's just attack the british and see if we can get away with that and yes, and every one of those scenarios, was inevitably ended up happening is that they had enough in a war with all three powers so having come to that conclusion, and those wargames, they then decided that if we are going to go to work, we have to go to work with all three of them simultaneously and pearl harbor. >> was moved to the wargame which is not reality, is have a two-part question. we talked about this, i talked with ian toll about this, then the japanese, did they have other options besides what we already talked to one of the implications of your panel was that the pearl harbor didn't really affect the babies well they probably couldn't respond a lot quicker with or without it so good the japanese accomplish their same objectives without coral harbor.
>> everybody is looking at me. >> i think the answer is yes probably given this strategic culture at the time i think that people make make big mistakes and was invariably at the strategic level or at the tactical level, and it i think that the japanese first mistake was assuming the war was inevitable. in an opportunity and that would not be there in 43 or 44 when it was in 41 in the fleet would probably be expanded by a factor of two or three. and they knew what the building program was and they could tell they were falling behind and if you assume that war is inevitable they may be abednego assume rather sooner than later. which seem to be the consensus
of the leadership of the japanese navy at the time. and he made it one of the points and if the japanese had been successful in pearl harbor and sunk every single american warship in the harbor, and they had lost more marshes between@and i can't remember the date actually but the americans in that span of 36 months, would've outnumbered the entire japanese navy even as it stood in the americans brought more destroyers to the battle the japanese brought aircraft. so you know the sort sorted statistics make it plain but they have two classes of the battleships that were authorized before the navy in 1940. and we thought both with the ships that were they down before 1940, most of the u.s. navy disappeared by 1943, we won the
war the navy and in some ways didn't even exist in pearl harbor pretty. >> i think that your original question with the japanese could've accomplished her admission, i think absolutely without pearl harbor and most prominent aspects of the initial opening of the japanese offenses is really are sort of plunging into the air in a lot of ways in our preparations for war were terrible as were the relations with the dutch and no position to defend ourselves and give the logistical difficulties of fighting in that neck of the wood in any case we won't protect our there effectively. >> and they had to go into the philippines though and they would be left. >> will they don't attack hawaii and really makes no difference to at least the first six months in the war probably the first year in war and you just look at
what it took for us to actually push a fleet across the pacific when we eventually did that and you had to establish advanced basis with the ability to service the ships and that capability did not exist in 1941 and did not exist in 1942 and did not exist in 1943 to really was an adult early and 44, with the establishment and the very rapid growth of these that we had the ability to set up in these remote places like. [inaudible]. and eventually in the southland of course these huge floating naval bases were essentially able to supply the places they came in with everything the ammunition provisions and conduct repairs and some major
repairs. and noting that capability at the beginning of the war and really not even until the second half of the floor and so it's a lot of ability to project this into the western pacific and absolutely did not exist as a destroying the battleships and pearl harbor, really had no impact at all the way the war when the been told in the first half of the war. >> olc have a scenario here where pearl harbor was not necessary japanese could've accomplished what they wanted without pearl harbor so it's up worldwide without harbor. what happens if the japanese attacked self and not pearl harbor. >> will hear the of this issue in the military and the military is essentially running the country and so when we talk about the careers these admirals
and generals, they secure the base as well in our instinct is to evaluate the decisions in their careers in the same way we would evaluate the careers of american military leaders. but they were more than that in japan, there were the politicians making a major decision and even making decisions about domestic policy and the generals and admirals running education systems in japan. so these people were politicians and the circle of rulers in japan were making all of the decisions so the decision to attack pearl harbor was a military decision and principally founded on this idea that we have to clear our - so we can go south there's victory in order to essentially have the american response to what we are about to do with the secondary discussing earlier with the panels, the secondary idea that you might be able to destroy the
american morale at the beginning of the war, and that our government within asked the japanese for a truce. and the second assumption which was really just so badly flawed because of course the result was as you know, exactly the opposite back when pearl harbor enraged and united the iraqi people that is really oliver at that point. and the rest simply had to be played out over a long ability war in which the outcome and fdr prior to the attack on pearl harbor, was very very concerned about this scenario where the japanese we go south, and avoid touching the philippines and any other american territory and holding any sort of hostilities in the market forces not attack any american territory but attack the british and the dutch.
and with the goal of going and taking the oilfields. and i think it would've caused the most severe problems for the united states and back for the allies because it is very hard looking at the political situation in the united states in 1941, to see how the country could've entered the war united and determined that perhaps could've asked for a vote in the declaration of war but what would have been a divisive issue and the isolationist and in congress were very strong both parties, would've opposed the declaration of war and even went and got in declaration of war through congress would've been like a close vote at that point, the american people within invited that was not the way the week could've entered the war effectively and think we still would've one and it might've taken longer. and so by attacking it pearl
harbor, surprise attack with no declaration of war the japanese essentially solve this dilemma for fdr, they solved his greatest problem, one of the most extraordinary blunders in all of history when you think about it. t-mac i was going to say the counterfactual that what happens at the japanese price at the known attacked the u.s. than in desperation hitler decided to declare war on the u.s. in hopes that the japanese will follow and that is another thing. and so that would be another one. >> and i think the influence of the chinese nationalist, and in norma's amount of support that the nationalists caused fdr animal enough to remember this
and china and it's hard to recapture the churches that the chinese nationalist had and it had been tough to get involved politically but mostly logistically, they can find a way to supply the chinese and we forget that this was a real deal and many of the leaders of the american business of journalism work dying to do something to help the chinese nationalist so i think that is a factor that needs to be considered in looking for the popular support that might have existed even without pearl harbor for doing more to help the chinese to figure out a way to do it.
>> counterfactual is what happens of hitler doesn't declare war on the united states after pearl harbor this huge problem for fdr as well obviously. and they just came out with a new book, hitler's decision to declare war from cambridge, anybody is interested in that and the problem for hitler and studies operating under that information at this point you need didn't really understand the time that he is formulating this decision to go to war with the u.s., just how badly things are unraveling in the eastern front and other factors as well. >> and that goes back to ian toll's points, if that would affect the clock a little bit, the japanese could've been determining on the decision-making as well pretty. >> of the japanese decided against the pearl harbor operation, which of course in the navy and the regime where
opposed to it, if they had gone south, and they had with the philippines and there's little doubt that they would've wiped out the countries force which they essentially did and macarthur had something like nine hours notice for the attack on pearl harbor and if he asked philippines would've been even worse. and at that point, various things, one you could be certain of is that macarthur would've been relieved of command because anger of the american people in congress and a government with the fastest up on rather than having been diverted to the commanders in hawaii and scapegoated pretty so that alone, ending a career and douglas macarthur, they would remember him except that few historians and think about the long-term implications of that not only the second world war but after that and in korea.
>> and we talk about the things that happened in the philippines, and the tactical things and i would just say if you look in the dictionary, with a picture of under the phrase - and he was there in their commander in the philippines to spruce up their and a market garden in africa and he continues to move up somehow and let's go and there are things that came out of that it pearl harbor panel about the japanese and the americans conduct of that attack that i want to try to get into before we turn over to the audience. i was doing some digging on timelines and i found on windows that 3:42 a.m. in december, the minesweeper of empathy reported a periscope which dave responded to but they couldn't find
anything but if it would've been taken seriously and the forces that pearl harbor had about four hours morning, how does it change things that happen it pretty. >> potentially drastically the first time ever on tv for discovery channel and the exact scenario out that the fleet had gotten three never four hours worth of warning there is sufficient time to raise steam and get out of the harbor and is planning in the tv show agenda which was a great roll to be in the my reactions that was so delighted that they were deep water and we would go after those american warships and advising him, then i sing them permanently and am here to tell you that the american fleet was an no way prepared to defend itself against a combined strike and all of those things just
would've been horrific. so they sense how it came out when i plated and we sang five or six american battleships it is devastating. >> one of the things that you can appreciate unless you've been there is how narrow an exit channel is a pearl harbor this incredibly narrow and if you get one battleship in the way and against chand, if you go sideways we did. >> actually does have to be sideways. >> the boys mother wonder that anybody ever thought that they could get in and out of there with some ease. >> so the one hour notice, say that the first catalina and first to eventually go after 630
a little more than an hour notice does that make any difference pretty. >> they can make an incredible difference if you have until further, do we have the same sort of coordination between the army and the navy in terms of how their efforts will be deployed because we needed this point is to get the army interceptors up into the air as rapidly as possible if we have some sort of system in place we can actually alert those fires up in the air that potentially takes a real bite out of the japanese forces that are coming in and the other factor of course is the guns fully command printed the picture that i showed them a presentation of what the second wave looks at as they were coming in, that is with the first wave would've seen as well read in the japanese were extremely impressed with how quickly we were able to better balance in the volume of the aircraft is
tremendous read nothing that they had anticipated. >> that reinforce the point about the condemnation about not sending out that coordination for that center even if they had the warning. >> he didn't have the coordination set up to take it manage of it. >> i think you can make some interesting arguments of who had the best, the germans of the u.s. navy and it comes down the side of the u.s. navy and certainly a 5-inch 30 it was a finest aircraft gun in the war. battleships had that. but even so, the navy aircraft was very potent. solis moved to the second strike, this morning, we talked about the japanese to have a successful, the comeback for for a second wave and what if they do when foot to accomplish with a second wave. >> will i'm going after this cruisers and also things like destroyers and submarines and
yes submarines, destroyers there's plenty warships to shoot out there, which turned 50-kilogram palm would be very effective printed and their six cruisers and 30 destroyers but they were not touched. >> they really liked the battleships pretty. >> and there's also characters of course as well plated. >> and yes we know what happens if any of our carriers, this very simple, 81 died bombers is one or two carriers, they would burn to the waterline we would've lost any carrier and there is actually going to be destroyed. >> was the counterfactual on that come the carriers he destroyed, enterprise and and if they get or how does that influence the war.
>> obviously, ships like this will be moved in a lot sooner than july of 1942 on one of the things and i think that it moves our options tremendously in the first year of the lord i think it's difficult to see a campaign for instance and i don't think that it really has a long-term impact on the war. >> you don't see these earlier rates that were conducted probably, while midway in savannah interesting question is of actually would've it helped the japanese if you would've had a situation in where he had to carriers and destroyed two carriers in the attack on pearl harbor read the war would've unfolded differently and they would not have insisted on the midway operation it in the japae
majority of their carriers force just six months after pearl harbor and if they did so you know and again this is like counterfactual are so controversial but i think that you can use that scenario with first carriers very well could have been destroyed and would work for the japanese our lease the first year of the war. >> i will push back on midway and i'm just about to get published in the naval war college review coming out of the spring and i didn't realize this until i was having conversations if you use ago with less from that they were prepared to fight the japanese at the anza two carriers versus five and so it's conceivable to me we still has her time on the west coast and we had yorktown as well you still could've had this midway scenario sometime five or six
months down the road. >> just that this for the midway operation it is so closely linked to the threat of the american carrier basic going up and down the cliff rear of the japanese empire in the early part of the worn at those rates were happening and is a big giveaway that he really is a round of speculation. the midway operation seemed as important to the japanese in a way that would've allowed them to essentially force naval staff to improve the operation. >> it would because another one of the goals that they had course was he wanted to be able to capture this eventually because we do root bring the americans to the table, having it the bargaining chip is incredibly important and certainly those even in discussion before pearl harbor within the navy is whether or not it was feasible to invade
wahoo and partly for the japanese of course the sealift capabilities zero-sum game if you're going to attack in the south which is the absolute prior to her in a priority, we have to boil we do not have the fuel necessary to do with the assumed need to be these divisions captured. >> and one of the things in the middle of the archive, we have all kinds of stuff, this is the log for the division of decembee barracks. and the first reports of the japanese paratroopers went into the airfield comes in about 10:00 o'clock and invited, they air force our japanese money on the beaches. a lot of these are actually coming from, 1140 parachute troops are letting on the north shore and wearing blue coveralls a lot of these are coming from civilian police. it could be airmen coming in
there a lot of these reports all of a sudden you have these if you read through it, you have this blue coveralls in the red disk showing up all of the place was like something's guys from mars coming down and letting all of the beaches read but there really was the sense that they were coming to short of course t the end of the day everybody out there with their spring fields on beaches and invade and if understanding that if they did decide to actually plan on the wahoo and follow-up for some kind of a tape could've they taken a or held it and they decided to do that and is a major change the whole operation and could they actually have done something like that. >> i'm going to have something to say here but i have a very healthy respect for the japanese military and the first six months of this war when it comes
to ground combat and i wahoo is a defensible place and terrain is great for defense but i think that in this point in the war we would probably not prepared to play up against up tempo football that they have against people like the british and don't know that we would've defended ourselves terribly well given shock factor in surprise of all of that stuff, alan where are you at rated. >> that is a hard call, the japanese and the capability was real very small and they certainly could have both a regimen at the shore and at the beach or someplace on the north shore. an interesting test because most of the hawaiian national guard was in dc and, i mean, it was the japanese-american organization and i think that
would've mustered a sufficient ground forces probably to repel simile could've had tags that enhance of the american forces but you do have a really strange and volatile civilian homefront that would certainly have made any kind of defense difficult i think but i don't think that my recollection of the japanese, they would've thought seriously about this because they didn't recognize they just did not have the sealift. >> what about the tanks. you know, the americans and two battalions of that 100 armored vehicles which in terms of pacific armored combat, yet we could not utilize this armor because frankly they had an idea how to do combined arms target
pushback would be we have tanks in the water but i don't know they know how to use them because the japanese would not use them an effective manner and looking at this report, 1535, a report comes and it, three transforms, three japanese transports planning by san tan pretty. [laughter] that was a bad day. and they had some intel problems and they're trying to grab as well predict to my quality of news for them the surf was tough for them. i wouldn't have wanted to have something he trying to get ashore ready. [laughter] >> let's talk about the population. it is heavily full's interesting and that we will eventually in turn the japanese and the west coast or not doing hawaii but there's a large population there
what if we had a thousand of them, the fbi in the local police. >> look at what they have done if there were pockets and how can they affected this operation if there was this group that were disloyal that were working pretty. >> most of these folks were first-generation, born in japan and they were certainly middle-aged and most of the people end up in the battalion of the 442, they were young and born in the united states and american's citizens and many of them attended the university of hawaii which in fact has a dorm dedicated to one of the officers of the 442. and i think they had a group of the students rotc students disarmed and continued to actually to serve it in a
security functions and i think they'd made the transition, they were americans and they were thought to be on the island and then you had the population it the mexican populations, and the portuguese. >> korean chinese. >> and many of them ended up in the american armed forces during world war ii they don't get anything like the recognition of world war two veterans received. >> there is a lot of concern about the spies sabotage prior to the attacking american military and in fact, became a major issue in post pearl harbor reviews the military commanders in part said that the failures and to prepare for the attack partly because the focus on this issue of sabotage and potential
threat of this large japanese-american population it and in hawaii it is i believe the fact that other than this incident which was when the pilot crash landed his plane on his way out of the western part. he was able to efficiently convince or perhaps force at gunpoint from japanese-americans and trying to essentially support him. and one incident, it was of a japanese-american residence of the islands working at the japanese and the japanese spy, he came up in 20 earlier panels would. >> i would say that guy, that's how i refer to him pretty. >> he was under diplomatic cover and he and his communications with his government said that
this japanese-americans here going to be no use to us and also don't depend on him so getting california, you try to find at least a few examples of japanese-americans who were for the japanese to justify retrospectively, this policy that we had. but we can't. and so that tells you a little bit without valid i think exactly what is the nature of the threat was or wasn't. >> yes, i would say that the fbi in both naval and military intelligence were all over the people who were potentially the spies in fact i contributed to all kinds of terrible motives it any kind of military information gathering. >> i have other questions that i can throw out there but i think it's time to open up to the
audience members there's a lot of things filling out there so i will open you from this direction could. >> full thank you to our panels and for the discussion of what if and will start in the back to your right gentlemen. >> if the uss navy does not blow up in the harbor, and this meaningless attack and actually specific fleet. [laughter] [laughter] >> and the timeframe is strictly november 41,. [laughter] >> i will take that one. what i think that i'm going to take is a subtext question and
this is all just a big joke, this considering of the counterfactual's, it is controversial as mentioned earlier and scholars will say don't do that read and like you know it would begin with neil ferguson and he tried, but he ended a very good book, it is called what if said the history and the caution of this has entered essays by different historians kind of considered counterfactual in different periods of history and place them with the subjects. the best way the book that i talk about the introduction which is very long discussion it. his philosophy and history and is just dazzling really. any develops an argument which i found convincing, when you have to deal with counterfactual's as a historian, because they are linked to the issues that if you believe there is causality an issue and if one event can cause
another, and you must also accept that could've happened it differently and if you don't accept and it could've happened differently, you're saying there's no causality then what you doing this for anyway, usually in front just writing down what happened and so i think there's some roll for counterfactual is the problem of course is you to quickly move into flight speculation which are not useful. >> this one, do you think that he would've done anything if it had managed to gather pearl harbor saying it is the only ships to really get underway as one of the only capsule ships and do you think i would've had any effect on the japanese carrier force at all. >> i can't anticipate that it would've do, so fast enough to catch him and never going to get with the government and frankly was also already in a sinking condition because of the torpedo
hit during the first wave and i think about it was again lucky to beat herself where she did because she could've been a bigger trouble she would've actually exited the harbor and when she runs into one of the japanese submarines working around out there and she could've been the recipient of badness. >> to your right and halfway back. >> is there any chance that wedge the first movement what if board. >> i am looking - i have been talking a lot here. >> no. [laughter] not being smart year, i'm going to tell you what a big number of japanese strategists included. and they had any chance for military victory, they had in
1941 in 1942, because crime was working against her use of force was necessary from the united states and it is really kind of hard to imagine what kind of events would have turned it around and i think that we are interested in is why did it last as long as it did it or why did it be resolved sooner or later in the point is contingencies, can be dealt with. and i think they might affect the casualties they might affect the losses to the various forces but i think in terms of the outcome it's really hard to imagine it and it could've been very different, think that it is hard for us for you and i who
are remembering the wartime. to generate the tremendous hatred for japan but pearl harbor and subsequent events caused in some was by the asian racism of which you usually have to work out much of a sweat to be very unhappy with the japanese. a couple of times in my life, i've slipped and talked about the myths which to me is the world war ii and a fair representation of how we spoke about the japanese. >> i was one aspect of the question, when we have pivoted to going after japan first in lieu of germany. >> yes, pearl harbor had not occurred. for what event had been worse printed. >> that's interesting it and think you can make the argument that we had lipservice to
germany first tragedy during world war ii was pretty clear to me that they never really paid any attention to that and that in his mind, japan never received to the status of the power that we will go after and in fact if you look at movements of the troops from the u.s. during the first half of 1942 the majority the strips are actually designated for points in the pacific rather than points elsewhere. so the king, he was fighting a parallel for an japan was always going to be in the top of the list if borough of the recent in the '90s for to fight pretty so i think that you can actually say that once you've got kind of rose to japan it kind of an equal in the eyes of the u.s. military in terms of the amount of effort they got put out to at
least the first year. >> it is certainly true from, in the first year and the japanese were taking territory rapidly so i think that you consider degraded integrator emergency resin europe, principal la and great britain in english, the safemode police from the time being. they were tided down in russia and so i think that fits into a lot of the choices that really in the first year of the war, our effort was going to stabilize the situation in the pacific and and in first year of the war, quite a bit of the effort was going to trying to stabilize the situation in the pacific and testicular hawaii and to secure our communications in new zealand and australia. they were going to be the base for the eventual
counteroffensive. >> to try to send these contemporary issues, about two years ago, i was invited over to do a conference with the japanese about current strategy in the pacific. i felt like i was stepping back into 1944. japanese now are -- they have turned their focus now to china. you talk this morning about the japanese over extension. they have the same dilemma. they're talking about defending a different set of island chains but from a different direction. we have the same problems. how do you reinforce that? what do you put on the islands? how do you coordinate operations? how do you avoid getting -- like i said, it's déjà vu all over again. talking about defending guam and some of those things.
distance and air power and -- to say that the dynamics of war in the pacific today are the same as they were in 1994 -- >> we don't appreciate the vastness of that part of the world. i was someone who went to europe fairly often early in my career. i did a flip-flop and ended up going to asia a lot. my body will tell you that it's a lot longer to get to china, korea, japan that it is to great britain. i go to europe now and it's like, i guess i will stop in atlanta momentarily. i don't even think about it. you take a long time about how you can get to tokyo or beijing or seoul. my solution was to stop in hawaii and then continue on. >> unless you really do it and appreciate the distances, you can't understand the pacific
war. >> next question is to your rights, halfway back with connie. >> this might be a slightly modified version of the dutch and british first. i am assuming it stays in san diego. they're not moved to pearl harbor. the japanese bypass the philippines in guam and make no attack on the u.s. and declare the greater east asia -- they guarantee the future security of australia and new zealand. do we attack them? >> we are assuming they do attack great britain and they take singapore. >> the microphone, please. >> the panel looks at each other. sorry. yeah, they get their southern
initiative completed which does not include australia and new zealand. they get the oil that they want. they declare that they are down. thank you very much. we are peaceful now. do we attack them? >> i think fdr still has to try for a declaration at that point. i think he has to look at that and say, you know, we're on a slippery slope at this point. we have to stop. >> it's a political question, really. what does fdr do? what is the u.s. congress do? out of the american people react to that? what is the breast to? it's the burden of being a democracy. you have to have some consensus to go to war. think -- for fdr, for the allies, who saw that we were going to have
to get into this global conflict in a way that was satisfactory for democracy. i think it's just very hard to speculate what happens in that case. i think it takes longer for the united states to clear war and fully mobilize. i think it's a longer war. i think we win it in the end. i think you could easily see it going to 1948 perhaps. again, that is just guesswork. i think informed speculation is the polite thing to call it. yeah, it's a political problem. it's a very good book by elaine olson. it's about the great debate between the isolationist's and the interventionists leading up to the second world war. it reminds, u.s. bitter and polarized as politics are today,
they were better in that era and as well. after years opponents really hated him with a will and a passion and all of that fit into this debate over what to do before pearl harbor. >> i think the japanese are cooked anyway if you look at it largely. which incopposition to war in td states was largely among traditional isolationist which would include scandinavian's and german americans and irish americans. unfortunately, i think racial bias and a lot of other factors made the japanese perfect targets. you can't find anyone from the aclu jumping up and down, saying that you can do this to japanese. most americans could have cared less. they could do anything on the japanese and it was okay. i think the japanese totally
misread the depth of american racial distaste for them. the japanese officers would come to the united states and be students, including yamamoto. they had a better feel for that. ,. . that was part of the deal. >> there was a pull after pearl harbor. i think the american public health japanese should me eliminated as a race. >> if you let bill halsey run an occupation policy, god knows what it would have looked like. >> gentlemen, to your far-right in the front row, please. >> mr. toll, your previous answer -- thank you. it's a segue into what i was going to say.
i always assumed that fdr was relieved for the attack for pearl harbor. i know that churchill was certainly thrilled. he said he went to bed. one of their had not been the attack? how would fdr -- if you could expound what you were saying, how would he get us in the war and how long would britain be able to hang on? >> well, i mean, i think we have addressed that question a little bit in some of the previous answers. certainly it would have, been an immensely difficult political problem for fdr to convince congress to declare war and the american people and essentially get behind an effort that required not just going to war but really transforming the entire economy in order to win it. so, i just think it would have taken longer.
the anger and the will of the american people to go and fight and win this war would have taken a longer to build. i know that's not a particularly satisfactory answer, but it's a question that counterfactual's become difficult at this point. since you have asked, i will just take this quickly. this was -- robert sherwood was an american playwright who was brought into the white house as a speech writer. he wrote a very good book about the dual biography of fdr and hopkins. after discussing this dilemma, leading up to december 1941, he wrote this. there was just one thing that they, the japanese, could do to get roosevelt completely off the horrors of this dilemma. that is precisely what they did at one stroke and in a manner so challenging, so insulting and enraging, that are divided on confused american people
were instantly rendered unanimous and certain. it really is remarkable that the japanese just acted in primarily military strategic reasons that essentially at one stroke solved this political problem in literally overnight. of course, after fdr died in office, it did not -- it's very hard to determine what he is thinking. many of his aides did comment immediately after december 7th that he seemed to be relieved, in a sense. i was just going to add, a point there, we are talking a lot about what happens if we do not get into a war against the japanese and not talking about what happens, vis-à-vis, chairman e. i think almost certainly we are going to be in a shooting war because of germany. some sort of escalate a double attack in the north atlantic. we have already lost a
destroyer. we are involved, already, in a de facto shooting war against the kriegsmarine at this point in time. i don't see how we get out of a war against germany in some -- >> spin-off question if i can jump in. what happens if germany in japan have a real alliance? really work together? i mean, you have american lindley stuff going right over the tip of japan in vladivostok in the japanese don't touch any of it. what happens if the germans and the japanese really work together? >> the problem for the japanese in the germans in coordinating the strategy is the timing of their respective windows of opportunity they don't really lineup very well in 1942. the assets that they had available to them, japan is primarily a maritime power. the germans will, of course, completely focused on what is going on in russia. it is really difficult to see
how they were going to effectively coordinate those assets. the only reasonable theater seems to be somewhere in the middle east. some sort of link up in mesopotamia or something like that. it is really difficult to see how the germans are going to be able to drive through the caucasus. they tried that and it didn't work out really well. the coordination issues, i think, are he'll hindrance. even if they had had a real intent to do it. >> the follow-up to that was on great britain. how long do they hold out if the united states is not involved? >> i feel like great britain wasn't a very stable position, actually. already beginning to win the war against the u-boats. i don't see them as being a candidate for any sort of affective invasion by the germans. >> that is especially true while the war in the eastern front is continuing. >> the real test for britain
was in 1940, they had already passed it. >> agreed. >> the next question in the center here, towards the front. >> good afternoon. i have attended every conference that we've had here at the museum. i have got to tell you this is the best panel we have ever had. we have always wanted to ask the what of question. we have consistently been told, that is counterfactual. we shouldn't talk about that. to hear you up there asking questions like what if it is really heartening to the historian kick to me. >> jeremy, take this down. >> i am going to suggest to jeremy and stephen, that we have an entire conference on what ifs. we should just line up every historian up here. we will let you go out up in the morning and weekend. >> i will be washing my hair that day. >> you could just show the man and a high castle up on the big
screen. >> anyway, i have wanted to ask this question four years. max hastings, the distinguished historian, he is very big on the idea that in europe, and i will make this about pearl harbor in the second, but about europe, and the russians, really winning the majority of that war. i always think, well, we have landed in normandy on the six, and saipan on the 16th, with fleets that were able to land troops. we did this halfway around the world. so, i have always thought, if we were not fighting the japanese, and we would have applied all of our resources to europe, how quickly would that outcome have happened? if you can answer this question in the genre, here is how i will ask it. what
happens if the germans attack pearl harbor? >> [laughs] >> we have officially jumped the shark. >> one of the things you have to do when you do kilter factual analysis, is figure out what counts, and what does not. you have to think about the relative likely influence of events, and they're connectedness. the hastings argument is quite common by people who want to denigrate the american contribution to world war ii. the united states is the only belligerent that plays a major role in defeating all three axis powers, period. it is the body cam school that argues that it is really the russians who won the war. the russians killed a lot of germans. no doubt about it. no question. a lot of russians
died. the question then is, was it really worth it? figuring out why the war turned out the way it did is more than doing a body count. you have to take a look at the home front, and industrial productions. you have to take a look at food. you have to take a look at morale. there are all kinds of factors that begin to explain why one side in the long run, did better than the others. does max consider the fact that societies that made the greatest use of women, in service, and war work, tended to win? those who were gender insensitive did not do so well? i do not think so. the process of being a historian is to be as conclusive as possible. you have to figure out what counts
and what does not, in a relative sense. anybody who grabs hold of one factor, and pizza to death, is i think, whether they realized or not, intellectually dishonest. they should not be taken seriously. >> max is a good historian. he still suffers from angst after being kicked out of the parachute regimen when he was a kid. we all have little stories. people do develop biases, and everything else. i know that the army participated in the war against japan, but of course, six marine divisions won the war. minor help from the navy. you have to figure out what is moving people to take certain kinds of positions. you have to judge the evidence. >> an event we sometimes miss, that happened, was the day before pearl harbor. it is when fdr directs the building of an
atomic bomb. i think the 6th of december is when the directive goes out for that program. >> i was just going to say, if we end up in a conflict where we are only fighting the germans, we have made some bad decisions. at that point, you can look back at the two ocean navy bill and say that is a waste. i do not need aircraft carriers to fight the germans. what am i going to do with that scale of a navy? they are now oriented primarily beside ground power. i would look at my armory for structure. i would say 100 divisions, i mean more like 250. if you are going to play with the big boys, they are deploying hundreds of divisions on the eastern front. we certainly have the capability of helping to get the war over much more quickly, but it will require us to retool our approach to strategy, and to force structure to better configure our forces to fight the new war that we would end up fighting. it would be much less reliant on naval power, in my opinion. >> the victory program, which was a war department exercise,
exposed, released, and in the summer of 1941, had a poor structure with over 200 divisions. 60 of which were to be motorized. how were we going to motorized 60 divisions? where were they going to fight? texas? arizona? >> gentlemen to your right. >> what if fdr had not run for a third term? how do you think that would have changed things? >> that is an interesting question. >> it is a great question. >> who would it have been? >> a great question i cannot answer. >> i guess the next question is, who does when? who is the president? >> wilkie.
>> is it wilkie? wilkie seemed to have the soul of an internationalist. he ran on largely an isolationist platform in 1940. i think this is one of those questions where, all of the critics of counterfactual speculation seem to have a point. i think it is hard to speculate in that situation. if you had a real die hard isolationist elected, in 1940, then yes, i do think that the attack on pearl harbor, that isolationist president will change the stripes very quickly. we are going to declare war. but are we going to mobilize with the same kind of energy? maybe not. and so, a longer war would be the scenario. a longer war in which we have more of a halfhearted kind of start to it. it limits our ability to kind of mobilize as energetically as we could with a sense of united purpose that we had. maybe, that leads
to a longer war. we still win it in the end. >> gentleman in the center aisle. >> here is the setup, the japanese pulled our troops out of china, they attack pearl harbor, and immediately build a ring of defensive positions around malaysia, the dutch east indies, iyojima, okinawa, and maybe even the--. the immediately go on to the defensive and make the u.s. come after it. could the japanese have inflicted so much pain, and so many casualties on the u.s., that one, we might have fdr, or his successor inviting those fun loving
ruskies to invade northern japan? or two, the u.s. would have had to have built more nuclear bombs, and dropped maybe ten or 15 nukes on japan, just to get the war over? >> really tough to say. one of the problems, of course, with counterfactual, if you are dropping a pebble in the water. as the ripples of time get further and further out from the event, it is like, the battle of midway. i feel safe in prognosticating a day or two after the historical battle, but we are now projecting five years into the future, what is going on after this not even happens. that is really tough. and that is all i will say. >> the japanese, there was no way they would pull out of china. they are locked in their. >> if they pulled out of china, then we would have been like, thank you. you pulled out of china, so i guess we do not need to embargo the oil anymore. here you go. everyone is happy. that is one potential scenario. the other thing i would say though, the whole business of we will build a string of defenses around our
new empire, neglects the fact that the pacific is nothing but ocean. you can put a lot of airplanes on a place like this, but not that many. it is the size of a postage stamp. the japanese never really had the ability to erect a series of defenses, that would have been sufficient to beat off an american attack, i do not think. at least not in the long term. that said, i will go, and this is something frank and i have talked about on some occasions. i said, very glibly, in my presentation, as long as the americans maintain the political will to remain in the war, i think there is a danger point towards the end of the war. we are tired of the kind of combat that we are running into in places like okinawa and so forth. it is argued-able that if we had gone into japan, and pulled an invasion that resulted in heavy casualties in japan, we might have been inclined to negotiate. i do not know.
>> there was a fear that, in a book, the american public was losing will in 45. they were not helping out with these ships that are coming back from the kamikaze raids. people were trying to change back to civilians. the industrialists were trying to go back to building industrial goods. >> the fifth bomb did not go well. >> there is a sense that they feel that one of the reasons they pushed for stronger actions against japan, is they were afraid to put the american public out there with the well. >> one of the things that we overlook sometimes, is the american serviceman who are being killed at the end of the war. they were younger than the ones who were casualties earlier. we were going into the teenage casualties. it is an environment was a serious moral problem. >> you will notice the programs
says 4:15, but we sort of felt that in as a question. we knew this would have a lot of questions. the next one is going to be to your left. we will get a couple of more in. >> do we get overtime? >> you should. >> here is one that should be a little bit easier for you. if enterprise makes the scheduled arrival into pearl harbor, and it is burned to the water line, what implications are there for the do little raid? and possibly, later, in midway? >> i think ian already touched on this pretty well. i think you see not a lot of carrier raids going on around the periphery. i think it is pretty hard to anticipate dolittle coming off. >> one carrier, i don't think so. >> they have just to be 25 on one side there. no air cover. >> i think what that does, it
supports us up more of a defensive stance than we were at. we were on the defensive in 1942. people were constantly looking for opportunities to act aggressively, and turn around this train wreck of a war. if we lose one or two carers already at the outset, that means that we have to be a lot more careful about how we are going to risk those assets. >> to your right, halfway back. >> what would be the possibility, if the u.s. fleet had stayed in san diego? what it would have been the willingness capabilities, and desire, of japan to attack the west coast of the united states? >> they did not have the
logistical capability to reach that far. it was actually a real surprise to me in the last few years. one of the things i got wrong, was sort of, pooh-poohing japanese underway capabilities. there is a really interesting article that came out the couple of years ago go. it illustrated that the japanese had much better refuelling capabilities than i was aware of at the time. that said, i do not think they have the reach to go all the way to the west coast. despite all the panic monger-ing that occurred in the next few months. certainly, from what i read from a japanese perspective, they never had any intention of doing anything of the sort. that really would have put the fleet kind of off of the map at that point. >> please go. >> i will agree with what john said. maybe it is not that useful. as a kind of reality check, look at the fleets that we assembled to take okinawa, the philippines. look at the size of those fleets. you
realize that if the japanese had those kinds of fleets, not just the navy, but the troop transports, and the logistics capabilities, everything it chucked to push the fleet across the pacific, and land significant amounts of ground force on a hostile shore. even if they had that, once they landed their troops, they would be on a continent. they would be fighting against all of the forces that we could muster, to meet that on a continent. the scenario of the japanese invading the west coast or north america, was never feasible. it was never remotely feasible. they could never mount a successful invasion on the continent. >> i think you can think of it as a pure rating force. it could project our power into st. pulses over a very short time schedule. it never had the
ability to actually sustain itself in the field, unlike the carrier forces that we brought to the party in mid 1944. they not only would come smasher island, but they would go off of here for as long as it takes to reduce that bastion for a physical invasion as well. the japanese never had that capability, not even in their wildest dreams. >> so no red dawn scenario in 1941? patrick swayze coming ashore. >> the last question will be to your far-left, halfway back. >> given that the united states would develop the atomic bomb, when it did, and it would become available. if we extended that war, or if the
war was extended with japan, for another two to three years, how do you think the atomic bomb capabilities would have played in? >> i have the numbers on that. we are developing, 15 bombs by them, but by then you would have had millions of japanese dead from starvation. in january of 46, we start putting chemicals to destroy the rice crops. we would've used poison gas on the beaches. it would have been japan destroyed. >> conventional bombing, the size of a conventional bomb campaign, just how quickly that was growing at the end of the war, in august, i think the estimate was that if the warhead continued, by january of 1946, in that months, we would have dropped more bomb tonnage on japan then we actually did drop on japan in the entire war. >> the other thing i would say in that respect is that we often lose sight of what was going on throughout the rest of asia. if the war had prolonged then you should see whatever the japanese body count should be it would have been three or four larger than the occupied areas of china, and indonesia,
and vietnam. it would have been a tremendous tragedy. tens of millions of more people would have been killed, not just in japan. >> the japanese believe that they would have disappeared as a people, and a culture. they would have been famine, illness, and the russians would have invaded, or continued to invade the home islands. there would be untold catastrophe, which would be in a post war political situation. >> it might have looked very much like germany. >> i told the story here before, i gave a presentation about the firebombing in tokyo. at the end of the presentation, a senior japanese historian got up and said, in the end we must thank you americans for the firebombing and the atomic bombs. you made a surrender in
august. therefore, that avoided the soviet invasion in september, and prevented 10 million japanese starving to death in the winter. douglas macarthur had time to get food into fetus. if you play these counterfactual games, every month of delay change is something else. the ripples could have had massive implications for the history of the world. >> there would not have been a lot of civilian bodies. >> ladies and gentlemen, i think this is a great way to wrap up our pearl harbor pre conference symposium. american history tv saturdays on c-span two exploring the people and events that tell the american story. at 8 pm eastern, on lectures in history kermit roosevelt, university of pennsylvania law professor, and descendant of the roosevelt, argues that modern america traces its
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