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They ignored the historical background that is needed for an understanding of what happened in 1941.Instead of carefully mapping their way through the records of the period, they hacked out a trail of Machiavellian conspiracy that twisted and turned and switched back on itself until it eventually led to the White House.5 FDR had by now learned that a policy of forbearance toward the government in Tokyo, instead of having a salutary effect, simply resulted in ever-more aggressive behavior on the part of the Imperial Japanese Army.
December 7, 1941, began as a typical Sunday for millions of Americans, but suddenly everything changed, irrevocably, in ways they would remember for the rest of their lives.
As the news flashed from coast to coast, the bombing of Pearl Harbor mushroomed into a national disaster. What could be done to guard against surprise attacks in the future?
What is disturbing about the Pearl Harbor revisionists, however, is their tendency to disregard the rules of scholarship and to gloss over the complexities of the historical record.
They are determined to spread the notion that Roosevelt goaded the Japanese government into attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor, thus making it possible for him to enter the European conflict through the "back door of the Far East." They therefore attribute Tokyo's decision for war to the allegedly arbitrary policies sanctioned by the President, especially the freezing of Japan's assets in July 1941 and the proposal for a settlement that Secretary of State Cordell Hull presented to the Japanese government in November.
Honestly held differences of opinion can easily arise out of conflicting interpretations of what happened in the past, even when everyone accepts the same set of facts.
This form of debate is one of the most important mechanisms by which historians eventually arrive at tenable conclusions.Roosevelt of having misled the public in regard to the coming of the war in the Pacific.These detractors paid little attention to Japanese military intrusions in East Asia in the decade prior to Japan's attack on the United States.The Supreme Command in Tokyo had various goals in mind, not the least of which was a preemptive strike designed to capture the resources that abounded in Southeast Asia—resources and territory that might fall into the hands of Japan's competitive ally, Germany, if Hitler succeeded in conquering his enemies in Europe.Roosevelt was forceful enough in the Atlantic to cause some observers to think that Hitler might take up the challenge in circumstances favorable to his own malevolent designs.In the Pacific, however, the President was prepared to be conciliatory.Over a period of months, he had resisted the tempting advice of several members of his cabinet who had urged him to adopt stringent measures.8 Often, Stimson would simply have to rely on his memory, but whenever possible he would take selected papers home with him to help recall the day's activities.He would use a Dictaphone in the evening, or before departing for his office the following morning, to record what had transpired.I simply have not got enough Navy to go round—and every little episode in the Pacific means fewer ships in the Atlantic." 2 Once Japanese troops began moving into southern Indochina, however, a new situation was created.3 The President consequently changed his mind about the way to react.