Rebirth of Reason

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Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 3:33amSanction this postReply
I saw no mention of Pearl Harbor, the straw to break the back of American resistance to war entry. I can appreciate a resistance to war but would a non-response to the Pearl Harbor attack have served American self-interest? I recall seeing none of these questions addressed in anything Ayn Rand wrote or authorized.

I found a lengthy thread here but still no satisfactory answers.

The critic's essay leaves much to desire.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 9/12, 3:36am)

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Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 9:01amSanction this postReply

I'd agree that we should have retaliated for the attack on pearl harbor. Whether it was worthwhile to go beyond that in order to assist defeating Germany is another debate.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 1:46pmSanction this postReply
We can debate Pearl Harbor all day. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was assistant secretary of the Navy under Wilson for seven years. Of course, when he became President he understood the situation in the Pacific. How could he not?

The imperialist powers carved "spheres of influence" out of China. (Tsingtao was given to Germany, hence their beer.)  On the other hand, Japan defeated Russia and China and after World War I, Japan was given Germany's colonies in the Pacific as "trust territories."  Japan was a force to be reckoned with.

Immediately after Pearl Harbor, Time magazine speculated that the USA would launch a counterattack from our bases in the Philippines.

When they returned from Spain, some individual members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade had their citizenship challenged. You fought in the Spanish army for Spanish government, so, you must want to be Spanish.  No such barriers bothered the Flying Tigers who fought for China against Japan.  The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was not a consequence of US foreign policy, but the Flying Tigers were.

Margaret Mead wrote an essay for a contract by the government on what to do after the war to prevent totalitarianism. She said that we could start by not lying to our own people as we did about Pearl Harbor.  Most people had no idea of the extent of the destruction. The government was afraid that people would lose heart and surrender.

Honolulu is 2400 miles from San Francisco. Manilla is 7500 miles.  When Dewey won at Manilla Harbor, McKlinley had to shown on a globe where the Philippines are. But look again and see how close they are to Japan. Not only did Japan have good reason to feel threatened (see below) but at those distances, it is not clear at all that an attack on the Hawaiian Islands or the Philippines would be perceived as an attack on the United States by many or most people in the USA itself.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 9/15, 10:36am)

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 2:42pmSanction this postReply
Marotta wrote:
...it is not clear at all that an attack on the Hawaiian Islands or the Philippines would be perceived as an attack on the United States by many or most people in the USA itself.
You are out of your mind if you believe that.

There were long lines in front of nearly every military recruiting office the day after. Some newspapers have never before or since used headlines in as large a typeface. Over two thousand Americans were killed in the raid. The very next day Congress declared war and the vote was 82 to 0 in the Senate and 388 to 1 in the House. Our entire nation was turned upside down in way that hasn't been seen before or after. Almost all of those who had been isolationists before, changed immediately to support the war effort.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 10:53amSanction this postReply
Steve read the words: "it is not clear at all that an attack on the Hawaiian Islands or the Philippines would be perceived as an attack on the United States by many or most people in the USA itself."

The leaders in Washington kept from the people the actual extent of the damage at Pearl Harbor and the actual situation in the Pacific and the Philippines, because they could not expect people to react as they wanted them to. They feared that the isolationists would argue successfully for peace. Remember that Charles Lindbergh said that Germany could not be defeated; and in 1941, it looked that way to people whom we unkindly call "muscle mystics" because they believe that force works and that the possession of things gives you power.

That is not what happened.  Drumming up the war for two years, they found that the attacks in the Pacific were the catalyst they needed. 

Nonetheless... they kept telling Corregidor and Bataan to hold out, that help was coming, when they knew that it was not. 

The Battle of Midway six months later was critical, not just to the actual theater, but to our perception of it.  We the people (and they in Washington) needed the victory. 

Allow me also to suggest Bastiat's Broken Window.  We see the pictures of the men lined up to volunteer. We do not see the men who stayed home

When, twenty or forty years from now, people question general support for the Gulf Wars, those same voting numbers in the Congress, the images of the patriotic singing, and all, will be the Broken Window.  No one will see the people who kept their opinions to themselves. My uncles served in World War II because they were drafted.  Those same men advised their sons to do anything to avoid Vietnam. My family is Republican (except for the Democrats), not postmodernist marxist comsymp pinko islamofascists, just basic Americans.  Our experience was not the one recorded by the victors in their history books. 

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Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 6:35pmSanction this postReply
Marotta, you've clearly been drinking some very strange kool-aid if you believe "...it is not clear at all that an attack on the Hawaiian Islands or the Philippines would be perceived as an attack on the United States by many or most people in the USA itself."

Let me disturb your strange fantasies with some facts. Here is the front page of The New York Times of December 8th, 1941 Does that look like they had no clue?

You mention that Charles Lindbergh said that Germany could not be defeated, well, you should have mentioned that he was a fascist and admired Hitler, but that after Pearl Harbor, the Fascist minority in the United States became very silent.

Your belief that the pictures of the men lined up to volunteer being some sort of "Broken Window" fallacy is just not supported by the facts.

From Wikipedia: By the summer of 1940, as Germany conquered France, Americans supported the return of conscription. One national survey found that 67% of respondents believed that a German-Italian victory would endanger the United States, and that 71% supported "the immediate adoption of compulsory military training for all young men".[20] Similarly, a November 1942 survey of American high-school students found that 69% favored compulsory postwar military training.[21] ... The act [Selective Service Act] set a cap of 900,000 men to be in training at any given time and limited military service to 12 months. An amendment took this up to 18 million by 1942.

The numbers show that as many as about 10 million of the 16 million in service at the peak of WWII were from the draft. So, when you saw pictures of long lines at the recruiting offices, your uncles may not have been in them, but nearly 4 out of every 10 who ended up in the service were. My father was one of those who volunteered after we were attacked.

And those numbers don't tell you how many men would have volunteered if there had been no draft... many of them, because they knew they would be drafted, simply waited for the notice to arrive.

The draft was started in 1940 out of a fear that war was inevitable and that our military at that time, about 2.2 million, was totally inadequate. With Pearl Harbor they decided they needed at least 9 million in uniform, then by 1942 they raised that number to 18 million.

In 1940 the entire population of the country was a little over 132 million. If we reduce that number to able males at the right age to join the military we can see that going from a standing army of 2.2 million, to the 16 million, in a period of less than five years, would mean that somewhere between a third and a half of all eligible males ended up going into the service. Do you think that Americans of that period were:
A) So sheep-like that they tolerated this massive change to their nation, and to their lives without massive riots and demonstrations and throwing the FDR and his administration out of office? Or, were they convinced that this was necessary and proper?
B) Tolerating such a massive change to the nation and the lives of those that joined or were drafted while they were kept in the dark, and ignorant as to the extent of the damages and the dangers as you claim?

The picture you paint of a nation whose people were mostly ignorant of what was happening, and mostly still isolationist AFTER Pearl Harbor is so far from the facts as to be laughable.

The government went into full propaganda mode to support the war effort and the many, many programs (rationing, war movies, liberty ships, recycling, women in the factories, the Home Front, Salvage drives, war bonds, mobilizing manufacturers, civilian defense, etc., etc.) People were frightened, they were angry, and they listened to the news on the radio, and read the newspapers, and they knew what was going on.

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