Historical Conspiracy Theories: Pearl Harbor Was Allowed


Welcome to our first installment of a new feature here on theoddpast.com, historical conspiracy theories. History isn’t always as cut and dry as your history teachers, or the popular media would have you believe, there are still shades of gray in between the white and black of the past. While we will be covering all types of different theories from the past, I want the reader to take all posts with a grain of salt, NONE of these “theories” can be proven, but there is much evidence behind the beliefs. With that disclaimer in mind, let’s dig into my personal favorite theory from the past, Pearl Harbour was allowed to happen by FDR and the United States government.

German dictator Adolf Hitler ran roughshod over mainland Europe from 1938 to 1941, the only real bastion of freedom were the British Isles. England and their fantastic Prime Minister Winston Churchill was surviving the onslaught of Nazi aggression alone. England needed the United States, but American President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in no position to declare war and enter the Second World War. Public opinion was quite against joining the fight, and many Americans saw no reason to join yet another European conflict. Roosevelt pledged help to England in the form of the lend-lease policy where the United States sent millions of dollars worth of aid to the English, which angered the Nazis. Roosevelt also began to tighten the noose around Japan as well because of the atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese. Japan is an island nation with almost no natural resources, so their war-machine relied heavily on trade with the United States, once Roosevelt began to limit trade with Japan, it caused the relationship to sour quickly.

This is all where the conspiracy theory begins, many historians and researchers over the past seventy years have pointed to Roosevelt’s treatment of Japan as his way of prodding the Japanese to attack the United States. According to Rear Admiral Frank Beatty who had direct access to Roosevelt’s inner-circle:
“Before 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.”

To add to the conspiracy thoughts, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the armed forces at Pearl Harbour were caught completely unaware and unprepared. Multiple investigations were launched into as why the attack was so devastating. The official findings found that the Army and Navy communication was pathetic, and the unwillingness to listen to warnings were the crux of the disaster. We honestly will never know if FDR or other high-ranking officials had advance knowledge of the attack, but it seems clear that not everything was done to protect the fleet at Pearl Harbor.


Published by TheOddPast by Matthew A. Perry

Writer, teacher, broadcaster, and podcaster from West Virginia. I write about and discuss the wacky and weird side of history on my website www.theoddpast.com and my podcast "The Odd Past Podcast" available everywhere

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