War Warning Dec. 7
in the Year of our Lord 1941

How the Pacific War started

These are some of the events leading up Dec. 7, 1941.

November 1921-Febuary 1922
Washington Naval Treaty:

April 1930
The London Naval Treaty:

MAY 1932
The Japanese Prime Minister Inukai is assassinated:

September 1931
The incident at Mukden on the South Manchurian Railroad:

January-March 1932

February 1932

March 1933
Japan announces that it intends to leave the League of Nations:

December 1934
Japanese abrogate the Washington Naval Treaty:

April 1935
The United States passed the Neutrality Act:

February 1936
A plot by a group of younger officers to seize power in Japan fails:

November 1936
The Anti-Comintern Pact is concluded by Germany and Japan:

December 1937
The air attack on the U.S. Gunboat Panay:

November 1938
The Japanese announce the establishment of the New Order for East Asia:

July 1939
The U.S. announces it's intention to withdraw from the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan:

The Roosevelt administration withdrew from the trade pact of 1911 with Japan in an effort to maintain
the status quo in the Far East. Trade between the two countries would be conducted on a day-to-day basis
and the Roosevelt administration wanted to apply economic pressure on the Japanese to modify Japanese policies in China.

23 September 1939
Japan, Politics:
Admiral Nomura becomes foreign minister in General Abe's recently appointed government. Between now and their fall in January 1940 some conciliatory moves are made toward the United States. These are not reciprocated and this strengthens the beliefs and standing of the more militant Japanese politicians.

14 January 1940
Japan, Politics:
Prime Minister Abe and all his Cabinet resign and Admiral Mittsumasa Yonai is chosen to form a new government.

1 February 1940
Japan, Politics:
A record budget is presented to the Japanese Diet. Almost half is to be devoted to military expenditure.

31 May 1940
United States, Politics:
President Roosevelt introduces a "billion-dollar defense program" which is designed to boost the United States military strength significantly.

13 June 1940
United States, Politics:
Roosevelt signs a new $1,300,000,000 Navy bill providing for much extra construction.

15 June 1940
United States, Politics:
Another Navy bill passes into law. This provides for a much expanded air corps, with 10,000 planes and 16,000 more aircrew.

27 June 1940
Diplomatic Relations:
A confidential meeting is held between British and Australian representatives and the United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull. The British and Australians ask for help in standing up to Japan. They wish the USA to take economic measures or to move more units of the fleet to Malaysian and Philippine waters or to offer to mediate between China and Japan. Hull is unable to agree to of these moves which would involve a more active foreign policy than the American public is prepared to contemplate at this time.

1 July 1940
United States, Politics:
Roosevelt signs a further Navy bill providing for the construction of 45 more ships and providing $550,000,000 to finance these and other projects.

16 July 1940
Japan, Politics:
Prime Minister Yonai resigns because of military pressure and on 17 July a new Cabinet headed by Prince Konoye is appointed. Matsuoka is the new Foreign Minister and will be very influential. The Cabinet also includes a number of supporters of a more aggressive policy. The most important is General Tojo who becomes Minister of War.

19 July 1940
Unites States, Politics:
President Roosevelt signs the "Two-Ocean Navy Expansion Act". This order construction of 1,325,000 tons of warships and 15,000 naval planes. Including the existing ships, the fleet will comprise 35 battleships, 20 carriers and 88 cruisers.

25 July 1940
United States Policy:
The United States prohibits the export of oil and metal products in certain categories, unless under license, to countries outside the Americas generally and to Britain. This move is seen as an anti-Japanese measure, particularly because of Japan's needs for foreign oil. From this time Japanese fuel stocks begin to decline. There are similar problems with other raw materials. Japanese attention is, therefore, drawn south from China to the resources of the Netherlands East Indies, and Malaysia.

26 July 1940
Japan, Policy:
The Japanese government formally adopts policy documents giving top priority to solving their China problem by blocking supplies reaching the Chinese through Indochina and to securing their own raw materials by a more aggressive stance in the Dutch East Indies.

1 August 1940
Japan, Politics:
A public policy declaration is made concerning Japan's support for a "New Order" in East Asia.

4 September 1940
United States, Policy: The United States warns the Japanese government against making aggressive moves in Indochina.

9 September 1940
United States, Politics:
A new $5,500,000,000 appropriations bill becomes law in the United States. Contracts are placed for 210 new vessels for he navy, including seven battleships and 12 carriers.

22 September 1940
The Japanese enter Indochina after concluding a long period of negotiation with the Vichy government. The Japanese aim is to prevent aid reaching the Chinese through Indochina. There are to be 6,000 troops stationed in the country and they are to have transit rights.

26 September 1940
United States, Policy:
An embargo is imposed on the export of all scrap iron and steel to Japan.

27 September 1940
Axis Diplomacy:
Germany, Italy and Japan sign an agreement promising that each will declare war on any third party which joins the war against one of the three. It is stated that this agreement dose not affect either Germany's or Japan's relations with the USSR. This treaty is known as the Tripartite Pact. All the signatories hope that the pact will deter the United States from joining the war in Europe or taking a more active line in the Far East.

5 October 1940
United States, Politics:
The Tripartite Pact is condemned by Navy Secretary Knox and he announces that he is calling up some of the naval reserve.

16 October 1940
United States, Home Front:
Registration begins for the draft according to the provisions of the Selective Service Act. The first drafts will be balloted on 29 October.

16-19 October 1940
Diplomatic Affairs:
There are discussions between the Japanese and the authorities in the Dutch East Indies concerning the supply of oil. It is agreed to supply the Japanese with 40 percent of the production for the next six months. There are British attempts to block this agreement.

12-13 November 1940
Dutch East Indies:
Agreement are concluded between the Japanese and the principal oil companies whereby the Japanese are to receive 1,800,000 tons of oil annually from the Dutch East Indies.

30 November 1940
China, Politics:
Japan officially recognizes the puppet Nanking government led by President Wang Ching-wei.

10 December 1940
United States, Policy:
Roosevelt announces an extension of the export-license system. Iron, ore, pig iron and many important iron and steel manufactures are brought within the system. Like pervious measures this is aimed at Japan. The changes come into effect at the end of the year.

29 January-27 March 1941
Allied Planning:
There are secret staff talks in Washington between British and American representatives. They produce conclusions code named ABC1 which states that Allied policy in the event of war with Germany and Japan should be to put the defeat of Germany first. In March an American mission visits Britain to select sites for bases for naval and air forces in case of war with Germany. Preliminary work to equip these bases will begin later in the year. The talks mark an important stage in the development of cooperation between the US and Britain. As well as their important decision they accustom the staffs to working with each other.

1 February 1941
United States, Command:
There is a major reorganization of the US Navy. It is now to be formed in three fleets, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Asiatic. Admiral King is appointed to command the new Atlantic Fleet. There is to be a significant strengthening of the forces in the Atlantic.

Japan, Home Front:
Japan announces that it will be necessary to introduce rice rationing.

13 April 1941
Diplomatic Affairs:
The USSR and Japan sign a five year Neutrality Agreement. For Stalin this is an invaluable piece of diplomacy which, backed by secret information from Soviet spies in Tokyo, will allow him to transfer forces from Siberia to face a possible German attack. These move begin now and will be particularly important during the final German advance on Moscow later in the year.
The agreement represents a complete change in Japanese policy and marks the growing concerns of the Japanese military leaders and statesmen to look south to the resources of the East Indies. The agreement has been negotiated almost alone by Foreign Minister Matsuoka, in Moscow on the way back from a European visit. Although it conform well to the other Japanese leaders' idea, they are upset at Matsuoka's brash and independent attitude.

5 June 1941
United States, Politics:
The US Army Bill for 1942 is introduced in to Congress. It calls for appropriations amounting to $10,400,000,000. It will be passed on 28 June.

2 July 1941
Japan, Policy:
An Imperial Conference (a meeting of Japanese government and military leaders and the Emperor to explain policy to the Emperor and nominally to take important decision - in fact these are already taken at the Liaison Conferences between the politicians and the military leaders) records the decision that attempts should be made to take bases in Indochina even at risk of war. The US authorities very soon know of this determination through their code- breaking service which has managed to work out the key to the major Japanese diplomatic code and some other minor operational codes. The information gained from the diplomatic code is circulated under the code name Magic.

10 July 1941
United States, Politics:
Roosevelt submits new appropriations measure to Congress. He asks for $4,770,000,000. for the army. On 11 July he asks for $3,323,000,000. for the navy and the Maritime Commission.

16-18 July 1941
Japan, Politics:
In order to remove Matsuoka from the Foreign Ministry, Prince Konoye resigns on the 16 July and re-forms his Cabinet on 18 July with Baron Hiranuma as deputy prime minister and Admiral Toyoda as foreign minister. Already personally unpopular, Matsuoka is removed because he has been urging that the Neutrality Agreement with the Soviets should be abandoned and that Japan should join with Germany in the attack on the USSR. The other Japanese leaders do not wish to take such a decisive step, and have decided that without Matsuoka and his known liking for Hitler they have a better chance of reaching an agreement with the US over the pressing problem of the oil resources.

21 July 1941
United States, Politics:
Roosevelt asks Congress to extend the draft period from one year to 30 months and to make similar increases in the terms of service for the National Guard. These measures pass the Senate on 7 August and the House on 12 August only after considerable debate. Indeed, the Bill is only passed by one vote (203-202) in the House, so it would wrong to say that American political opinion is strongly in favor of a more militant policy at this stage.

24 July 1941
Japanese Policy:
In line with the Imperial Conference decision of 2 July, the Japanese presented an ultimatum to the representatives of the Vichy government on the 19th demanding bases in southern Indochina. This demand is now conceded. The Japanese forces begin to occupy the bases on the 28th. It is very clear that the main use for such bases would be in an invasion of Malaya, the East Indies or the Philippines.

26 July 1941
Diplomatic Affairs:
Japanese assets in the United States and Britain are frozen. On 28 July Japan retaliates with similar measures. Also on 28 July Japanese assets in the Dutch East Indies are frozen and oil deals cancelled. On 29 July Japan freezes Dutch assets. This means that almost 75 percent of Japan's foreign trade is at a standstill and that 90 percent of its oil supplies have cut-off.

Roosevelt orders that the Philippine army be entirely incorporated in to the US Army for the duration of the tension with Japan. General MacArthur, who has been leading the Filipino forces, is appointed to command the US forces in the area as well.

30 July 1941
The US gunboat Tutiula is damaged by an attack by Japanese bombers in Chungking. Japan apologizes for the incident but it dose nothing to ease the strained relations between the two countries.

1 August 1941
Diplomatic Affairs:
President Roosevelt forbids the export of oil and aviation fuel from the United States except to Britain, the British Empire and the countries of the Western Hemisphere. This decision hits very hard indeed against Japan because Japan has no oil of her own and is left with only strictly limited stocks. The position is such that Japan must either change her foreign policy very radically or decide very quickly to go to war and try to gain access to the oil of the East Indies. Roosevelt's decision confirms the steps taken recently when Japanese assets were frozen.

6 August 1941
Diplomatic Affairs:
Konoye's government presents proposals involving some concessions in China and Indochina to the US, asking in return for the freeze on Japanese assets. The proposals are not acceptable to the US and when the rejection is made known to the Japanese they propose that Konoye and Roosevelt meet to discuss the issues at stake. This question is not resolved until after Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Placentia Bay.

9-12 August 1941
Allied Diplomacy:
Churchill and Roosevelt meet at Placentia Bay in Newfoundland. Both are accompanied by their military staffs. The discussions cover the situation in Europe and the Far East. It is agreed to send strong warnings to the Japanese and it is understood that America will almost certainly enter the war if Japan attacks British or Dutch possessions in the East Indies or Malaya. A message is also sent to Stalin, proposing a meeting in Moscow to make formal arrangements for the provision of supplies to the Soviet Union. The conference is the best remembered for the agreement later called the Atlantic Charter. This is a statement of the principles governing the policies of Britain and America and states that all countries should have the right to hold free elections and be free from foreign pressure.
Although its noble intentions will have comparetively little influence on the course of the war it is important as setting out the reason why the United States might go to war and as a description of the aims of such a war.
The conference is important also because of the opportunity it gives the British and American staffs to get to know each other and to work together.

17 August 1941
Diplomatic Affairs:
The United States presents a formal warning to the Japanese along the lines agreed at Placentia Bay. The text of the note has been tones down somewhat from the draft orginally agreed with the British and Dutch, so they do not present their notes in order not to be seen to disagree with the American line. No decision has yet been taken on the Japanese proposal of a meeting between Roosevelt and Konoye, but on 3 September the Japanese will be told that it cannot take place. The Americans are worried that Konoye would not be able to make the Japanese military keep to any agreement that might be made.

2 September 1941
Naval Policy:
Adm. Yamamto unveiled his plans to attack Pearl Harbor.
An interesting note to this plan.
General Marshall was convinced from his visit to Oahu the previous year that with "adequate air defenses" as he put it in a May 41 report to the President, "enemy carriers and escorts and transports will begin to come under air attack at a distance of 750 miles." He therefore concluded that a major attack against Oahu is considered impractical. This one of the reason that this man couldn't write his memoirs. He didn't know a damn thing about the Pacific.

6 September 1941
Japan, Policy:
Konoye gives in to military pressure and an Imperial Conference decides that, in view of the declining oil stocks, war preparations should be completed by mid-October and that if no agreement is reached by then that the decision to go to war should be taken. Konoye continues to make some conciliatory proposals to the US but is judged insincere despite the advice of Grew, the Ambassador in Tokyo, that if no agreement is reached the moderate Konoye may be replaced by a military dictatorship.

15 September 1941
United States, Politics:
The Attorney General rules that the Neutrality Act does not prevent US ships from carrying war material to British possessions in the Near and Far East or in the Western Hemisphere.

16 October 1941
Japan, Politics:
Prime Minister Konoye resigns and is replaced by War Minister Tojo. Tojo himself takes the offices of prime minister, war minister and home affairs minister. Shigenori Togo is foreign minister and Admiral Shimada is navy minister. These changes mark the increasing ascendency of the party which intends to go to war. The decision to go to war has not yet finally been taken, and it has been suggested that Tojo has taken the Home Affairs Ministry himself in order to be able to prevent any violent opposition if a decision for peace is reached.

25 October1941
War at Sea:
The British battleship Prince of Wales leaves the Clyde for the Far East. Admiral Phillips is aboard on the way to take command of the new Far East Fleet which is to be created around Prince of Wales. On 28 November Prince of Wales and Repulse both arrive at Colombo. The carrier Indomitable is intended to join them, but will be accidentally damaged on 3 November in the West Indies while training.

November 5 1941
Diplomatic Affairs:
After discussion the Japanese decide to make further peace attempts, setting their deadline for the end of any negotiations at the end of November. The terms they offer are rejected by the United States because they contain no repudiatio of the Tripartie Pact and because the Japanese intend to maintain bases in some parts of China. The outcome of the Japanese discussions and their diplomatic plans continue to be intercepted by the US code-breaking service

War Warnings

These failures were to become evident in the fatal calendar of diplomatic and military events in the final month of Pacific peace:

November 7 1941
Pearl Harbor Strike Force:
After dress rehearsal of Operation Z by the 350 aircraft flown from the 6 carriers of the Combined Fleet's "Strike Force," Admiral Yamamoto issued "Operation Order No.2" setting December 8 as Y Day for the attack on Oahu (December 7 Hawaiian time).

November 10 1941
Ambassador Nomura arrived at the White House to present the "A" Proposal for a comprehensive settlement. Knowing that the "modus vivendi" would be Japan's next move, Secretary of State Hull stalled. The President rejected an immediate reply by telling Nomura, "Natioons must think one hundred years ahead."

World Affairs:
In a public speech Churchill announces that 'should the United States become involved in war with Japan, a British declaration of war will follow within the hour.'

November 14 1941
Secretary of State Hull rejected Tokyo's "A" Proposal. He insisted on the evacuation of all Japanese troops from China. This was a blow to Nomura, who had already mistakenly reported to Tokyo that the United States was "not entirely unreceptive". Now he had to explain they were making a demand that would be entirely unacceptable to the military, who had fought a four-year war at the cost of 1 million lives to settle the national interest on the mainland.

November 15 1941
Bishop Walsh's effort to mediate was dismissed by the State Department as "naive." Hull concluded after meeting Kurusu that the new envoy was "deceitful." Magic intercepted Tokyo's message to Consul Kita in Honolulu ordering him to make a "ship in harbor" report twice weekly. (But this clue was not passed on to Pearl Harbor.)

November 16 1941
Pearl Harbor Strike Force:
Concealed by strict radio silence, the carriers sailed from the Inland Sea to avert suspicion--their destinaton remote Tankan Bay in the Kurile Islands. To camouflage their movements, Yamamoto ordered their radio call signs transferred to destroyers.

Magic intercepted a cable from Tokyo to Ambassador Nomura advising him: "Fate of the Empire hangs by a sheer thread. . . please fight harder!"

November 18 1941
A force of 11 Japanese submarines leaves their home ports to go to take up stations off Hawaii or to take part in other scouting missions. A further nine vessels sail toward Hawaii from Kwajalein.

November 20 1941
Ambassador Nomura presented Tokyo's "B" proposal for a "modus vivendi" as "absolutely final." The preemptive Magic translation had already persuaded the Secretary of State to regard it as "an ultimatum." The President, however, told him to give it "sympathetic study."

Diplomatic Affairs:
The Japanese make proposals for an interim settlement with the United States. The proposal are unacceptable but Secretary Hull prepares a negotiating reply. this is not delivered because Chiang Kai-shek's government are successful in making the British and Dutch worried about the concessions offered to the Japanese in China.

November 21 1941
The British Joint Intelligence Committee transmitted to its Far Eastern Command the assessment that if negotiation broke down, Japan would not attack Siberia or try to cut the Burma Road or invade Malaya or the Netherlands East Indies because of the danger of precipitating an all-out war; only a limited invasion of Thailand was anticipated. (The War Department, which was breaking the British codes as well as the Japanese, circulated a copy of this intelligence.

November 22 1941
Magic intercepted Tokyo's message to Nomura that the deadline for negotiation had been extended four days, to November 29. "After that things are automatically going to happen."

Pearl Harbor Strike Force:
Waiting at Tankan Bay, Admiral Nagumo received orders to sail on November 26. (The signal was intercepted but in the JN25 code that could not be broken by U.S. Naval Intelligence.)

November 24, 1941
Magic intercepted Tokyo's clarification to Nomura that as a precondition to any agreement, America must cease aid to Chiang Kai-shek and lift the oil embargo. Hull, seeing this as a hardening of Japan's position, told Roosevelt that the outlook was "critical and virtually hopeless." The President informed his cabnet: "We are likely to be attacked next Monday for the Japs are notorious for attacking without warning." He then cabled Churchill: "We must all prepare for real trouble, possibly soon."

Manila and Hawaii:
The Chief of Naval Operations flashed warning of "SURPRISE AND AGGRESSIVE MOVEMENTS" by Japan.

November 25, 1941
The President's War Council approved the three month "modus vivendi" despite Roosevelt's concern about how to "maneuver Japan" into firing the first shot.

November 26, 1941
Pearl Harbor Strike Froce:
At dawn Admiral Nagumo's fleet put to sea, his final instruction from Yamamoto being: "In case negotiation with the United States reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland."

Intelligence reports that troop convoys had been sighted south of Formosa, apparently steaming for Indochina, were taken by the President as "evidence of bad faith on the part of the Japanese." Roosevelt, new evidence indicates, was actually acting on receipt of a secret leak of Japan's war plan. Hull accordingly was told to drop the State Department's counter- proposal for a "modus vivendi." to resume oil supplies "on a monthly basis for cilvilian needs." That afternoon the Secretary of State formally rejected Tokyo's "B" proposal for a temporary resolution of the crisis. Instead, Hull submitted a strongly worded document tying any relaxation of the oil embargo to the Japanese government's acceptance of ten specific conditions. These were a reiteration of the Open Door doctrine, which required the "withdrawal of all military, naval, air and police forces from China and Indochina."

"This is an ultimatum," Prime Minister Tojo told his cabinet, having assumed the ten conditions to indicate that the American government was "unyielding and unbending." He saw "no glimmer of hope." Japanese consulates and embassies worldwide were warned that codes were to be destroyed when the war imminent signal was broadcast, hidden in the weather forecast. NIGASHI NO KESAME (EAST WIND RAIN) would indicate hostilities with the Unites States.

November 27,1941
The Secretary of State received Hornbeck's assessment: "the Japanese Government dose not desire or intend or expect to have forthwith armed conflict with the United States." Hwe put "Odds of five to one that the United States will not be at 'war' on or before December 15." However, Hull knew otherwise, telling the Secretary of War he had washed his hands of it, and that it was now "in the hands of you and Knox- the Army and the Navy." But in an unprecedented move, Marshall and Stark jointly submitted a memorandum to the President: "If the current negotiations end without agreement, Japan may attack the Burma Road; Thailand; Malaya; the Netherlands East Indies; the Philippines; the Russian Maritime Provinces. . . The most essential thing now, from the United States viewpoint, is to gain time. Considerable Army and Navy reinforcements have been rushed to the Philippines but the desirable strength has not yet been reached." Magic monitoring of the weather warning code prompted an alert radioed to all commands: "Negotiations with Japan appear terminated. . . Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities CANNOT repeat CANNOT be avoided the United States desires Japan commit the first act."

Garrison Commander General Short received the alert with the additional instructions: "Measures should be carried out so as not repeat not to alarm civil population or disclose intent." He therefore interpreted the whole message as a sabotage warning. Pacific Fleet Commander in Chief Admiral Kimmel received the specific alert: "This dispatch is to be considered a war warning. . Aggressive action expested by Japan in the next few days." He too believed that Hawaii was under no immediate threat because of the appended intelligence summary indicating that Japan's strike was expected to hit "Philippines, Thai or Kra Peninsula or Borneo."

Appended to MacArthur's order was the instruction: "Should hostilties occur you will carry out the tasks assigned in revised RAINBOW 5." This called for him "to conduct air raids against enemy forces and installations within tactical operating radius of available bases. . ."

December 1, 1941
The Admiralty ordered the battlecruiser Repulse, on passage with Prince of Wales to Singapore, to divert to Darwin, "to disconcert the Japanese and at the same time increase security."

"Matters have reached the point where Japan must begin WAR with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands to preserve her Empire." Prime Minister Tojo reluctantly advised an Imperial Conference. The Emperor did not dissent. To protect Operation Z, the Foreign Ministry agreed to present its formal rejection of America's conditions precisely half an hour before Pearl Harbor was due to be attacked. The code signals for war were flashed out: HINODE YAMAGATA To the Southern Army instructed the invasion fleets to be ready to sail on the planned schedule against Malaya and the Philippines. NIITAKA YAMA NOBORE (Climb Mount Niitaka) unleashed the Pearl Harbor Strike Force.

Roosevelt summoned the British ambassador and informed him that U.S. Intelligence anticipated Malaya and Siam would be invaded. He assured Lord Halifax that with any attack on British or Dutch possessions, "we should all be in it together."

December 2,1941
The Pacific Fleet Combat Intelligence Unit discovered that all Japanese warship call signs had been changed again. A big operation appeared imminent, but radio traffic and direction analysis of the unbroken Japanese fleet codes indicated that the Combined Fleet was still in the Inland Sea with only a single carrier as far east as the Marshall Islands. "Do you mean to say they could be rounding Diamond Head and you wouldn't know about it?" Admiral Kimmel asked, after examining his fleet intelligence officer's report. "I would hope they could be sighted before that," Captain Edwin T. Layton replied.

December 3,1941
H.M.S. Prince of Wales docked at the Changi naval base and carefully censored headlines welcome the "powerful naval force" defending Malaya.

Hainan Island:
The 14 Japanese transports and escorting warships of the Malayan invasion force sailed from Samah Bay, Hainan for the four-day crossing the Gulf of Thailand.

Admiral Kimmel received "highly reliable information" from Naval Intelligence in Washington that Magic had intercepted messages the day before instructing all Japanese embassies to begin destruction of codes and sensitive documents. He had not, however, been forwarded two even more vital bits of evidence clearly indicating Japanese interest in Hawaii: the October 9 intercept (decoded on November 24) instructing the Japanese Consulate to make detailed reports by dividing up the Pearl Harbor into alphabetically coded areas; and the November 15 signal, decoded that very day: "As relations between Japan and the United States are most critical, make your ships in harbor report irregular, but at the rate of twice a week. Although you are already no doubt aware, please take care to maintain secrecy."

December 4,1941
The U.S. Naval Governor was ordered to destroy all classified material.

The Navy's listening post at Cheltenham Maryland picked up what the operator reported as the EAST WIND RAIN war warning message. It was apparently passed on by Commander Safford, but no action was taken and all copies subsequently disappeared. The grim news from the Pacific was temporarily eclipsed by the sensational exposure by the isolationist Chicago Tribune of what purported to be a U.S. "Victory Plan" to invade Germany in 1943.

Pearl Harbor Strike Force:
Less than 1,000 miles due north of Midway and shrouded by thick weather fronts, Admiral Nagumo ordered refueling before his course was set southeast for the run to Hawaii.

December 5,1941
The carrier LEXINGTON put to sea to ferry Marine aircraft to reinforce Midway for the bomber flight due in two days' time.

Manila: Admiral Sir Tom Phillips flew in from Singapore to ask General MacArthur and Admiral Hart for American air and warship support for his proposed foray by Force Z "against Japanese movements in the South China Sea." Next day, news that RAF patrols from Malaya had sighted a large Japanese invasion convoy heading across the Gulf of Siam sent Phillips flying back to Singapore "to be there when the war starts."

Newspapers crackled with belligerent headlines: "Scandalous Encirclement of Japan," "Trampling on Japan's Peaceful Intentions," "Four Nations Simultaneously Start Military Preparations."

The Japanese envoys summoned to State Department could not explain why large convoys were moving across South China Sea. The President and the Chiefs of Staff then accepted Army Intelligence estimates Japan would not attack the United States and that "the most probable line of action for Japan is the occupation of Thailand."

Sophocles, over twenty three centuries ago in his tragedy of the siege of Troy, placed in the mouth of Ajax:

Far-stretching, Endless time
Brings forth all hidden things,
and buries that which once did shine.
The firm resolve falters, the sacred oath is shattered;
And let none say, "It cannot happen here"

December 6,1941
Malayan Invasion Force:
South of Cape Cambodia, nineteen Japanese transports escorted by cruisers and destroyers were sighted through a cloudbreak by a Royal Australian Air Force Hudson patrolling from Kota Bharu on the northern Malayan coast. The pilot radioed that the convoy was heading east, apparently toward Thailand, before he was shot down.

Churchill summoned the Chiefs of Staff for a crisis meeting. From the latest intelligence on the Japanese convoys they concluded: "It is not possible to tell whether they were going to Bangkok, to the Kra Peninsula, or whether they were just cruising round as a bluff." The code "Raffles" had been radioed out to put the entire Far East Command on war alert.

General Percival and his Commander in Chief spent most of the day debating whether to launch "Operation Matador" to send the 11th Indian Division across the border into Thailand and forestall an invasion of the strategic ports of Singora and Patani. Air Marshal Brooke-Popham hesitated after receiving the cables advice of the British minister in Bangkok not to preemptively cross the frontier and give Japan an excuse to attack. Advance troops were therefore ordered only to begin moving up to the border, even through that evening an RAF patrol reported that the Japanese convoy was now less than 100 miles from Singora.

Pearl Harbor Strike Force:
By afternoon some 600 miles northwest of Hawaii, all hands cheered Admiral Yamamoto's Nelsonian signal: "The Rise or Fall of the Empire Depends Upon this Battle everyone will do his Duty with Utmost Efforts." Pearl Harbor was confirmed as the target for the next morning's attack, after the Japanese reconnaissance submarine I17 reported that the Lahaina anchorage on the northwest of Oahu was empty. Consul Kita's latest Hawaiian intelligence report, relayed from Tokyo, was that all eight battleships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, as well as three cruisers and sixteen destroyers, were in harbor, only the two carriers were still at sea. There was little air activity, indicating that "now would be a good opportunity to attack."

The latest intelligence at 9 P.M. indicated that the Japanese invasion convoys were on course for Thailand. Roosevelt sent off a personal telegram asking the Emperor, "FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY," to intervene "TO PREVENT FURTHER DEATH AND DESTRUCTION IN THE WORLD." He told Eleanor wryly, "This son of man has just sent his final message to the son of God." He was back with his stamp collection, chatting with Harry Hopkins half an hour later when Lieutenant Commander Kramer arrived with the pouch containing the latest Magic intercepts of Japan's formal rejection of the American ten-point proposals. The President handed it to his aide with the comment: "THIS MEANS WAR." He rejected Hopkin's suggestion that America strike first. "No, we can't do that," Roosevelt reacted. "We are a democracy and a peaceful people. But we have a good record."
He tried to reach Admiral Stark by telephone, only to learn that he was at a National Theater performance of The Student Prince. The President realized that there was after all nothing very new in th efirst thirteen parts of Tokyo's final communique to warrent alarming the audience by paging the Chief of Naval Operations. It was the same conclusion reached by Chief of Army Intelligence, who decided there was "no reason for alerting or waking up" General Marshall.

Late in the Afternoon the twenty-seven transports put out from the Formosan port of Takao with the 48th Division of the Imperial Army, to head south for the Philippines. The pilots of the four hundred aircraft of the Imperial Navy's 11th Air Fleet were briefed for the massive air assault next day to wipe out the American B-17 bombers on Luzon.

For everything there is an appointed time,
and there is a time for every purpose under Heaven.
A time to be Born, and a time to Die
A time to Laugh, and a time to Weep
A time for Peace, and now it is a time for War.


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