EDITOR’S NOTE: “
“Prior to December 7, it was evident even to me… that we were pushing Japan into a corner. I believed that it was the desire of President Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Churchill that we get into the war, as they felt the Allies could not win without us and all our efforts to cause the Germans to declare war on us failed; the conditions we imposed upon Japan—to get out of China, for example—were so severe that we knew that nation could not accept them. We were forcing her so severely that we could have known that she would react toward the United States. All her preparations in a military way—and we knew their over-all import—pointed that way.”
[i] “… just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor…”
“The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack against the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese navy, at 0800 hours on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, resulting in the United States becoming involved in World War II. Hostilities between the U.S. and Japan were expected by many observers, including President Roosevelt, who read a decrypted Japanese message (on December 1st, 1941) and told his assistant Harry Hopkins, “This means war.”
At 03:42 Hawaiian Time, hours before commanding Admiral Chuichi Nagumo began launching strike aircraft, the minesweeper USS Condor spotted a midget submarine outside the harbor entrance and alerted destroyer USS Ward. Ward was initially unsuccessful in locating the target. Hours later, Ward fired America’s first shots in the Pacific theater of WWII when she attacked and sank a midget submarine, perhaps the same one, at 06:37.
Closer to the moment of the attack, the attacking planes were detected and tracked as they approached by an Army radar installation being operated that morning as a mostly unofficial training exercise. The Opana Point radar station, operated by two enlisted men (Pvts. Lockard and Elliot) plotted the approaching force, and their relief team plotted them returning to the carriers. The initial radar returns were thought, by the ill-trained junior officer (Lt. Kermit A. Tyler) in charge at the barely operational warning information center at Pearl Harbor, to be a flight of American bombers expected from the mainland. In fact those bombers did arrive, from a somewhat different bearing in the middle of the attack.
Additionally, Japanese submarines were sighted and attacked (by USS Ward) outside the harbor entrance a few hours before the attack commenced, and at least one was sunk—all before the planes came within even radar range. This might have provided enough notice to disperse aircraft and fly off reconnaissance, except, yet again, reactions of the duty officers were tardy. It has been argued failure to follow up on DF bearings saved USS Enterprise. If she had been correctly directed, she might have run into the six carrier Japanese strike force.
After the attack, the search for the attack force was concentrated south of Pearl Harbor, continuing the confusion and ineffectiveness of the American response.
Another issue in the debate is the fact neither Admiral Kimmel nor General Short ever faced court martial. It is alleged this was to avoid disclosing information conspirators would not want to see made public. When asked, Kimmel replied, “Will historians know more later? Kimmel’s reply to this was: ‘ … I’ll tell you what I believe. I think that most of the incriminating records have been destroyed. … I doubt if the truth will ever emerge.’ …”. It is equally, probably more, likely this was done to avoid disclosing the fact Japanese codes were being read, given there was a war on.”
— Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Harbor_advance-knowledge_debate