December 7th, 1941 – Attack on Pearl Harbor


The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, in the United States Territory of Hawaii, on the morning of December 7th, 1941. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II, but ever since then there have been many who argue that President Franklin D. Roosevelt actually knew about the attack ahead of time, but allowed it to happen in order to get the USA into the Second World War.

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Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan planned in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. There were near-simultaneous Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The attacks – from troop landings at Kota Bharu, Malaya, to the air attacks ranging geographically from Hong Kong to Pearl Harbor – took place over seven hours.

The Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory, however, is the argument that American government officials had advance knowledge of Japan‘s December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Ever since the Japanese attack there has been debate as to how and why the United States had been caught off guard, and how much and when American officials knew of Japanese plans for an attack. In September 1944, John T. Flynn, a co-founder of the pro-isolation America First Committee, launched Pearl Harbor revisionism when he published a forty-six page booklet entitled The Truth about Pearl Harbor.

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Several writers, including journalist Robert Stinnett, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert A Theobald, and Harry Elmer Barnes have argued various parties high in the U.S. and British governments knew of the attack in advance and may even have let it happen or encouraged it in order to force America into the European theatre of World War II via a Japanese–American war started at “the back door”. Evidence supporting this view is taken from quotations and source documents from the time and the release of newer materials. However, the Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy is considered to be a fringe theory and is rejected by most mainstream historians.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


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