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Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor Hardcover – December 7, 1999

3.8 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews

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It was not long after the first Japanese bombs fell on the American naval ships at Pearl Harbor that conspiracy theories began to circulate, charging that Franklin Roosevelt and his chief military advisors knew of the impending attack well in advance. Robert Stinnett, who served in the U.S. Navy with distinction during World War II, examines recently declassified American documents and concludes that, far more than merely knowing of the Japanese plan to bomb Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt deliberately steered Japan into war with America.

Stinnett's argument draws on both circumstantial evidence--the fact, for example, that in September 1940 Roosevelt signed into law a measure providing for a two-ocean navy that would number 100 aircraft carriers--and, more importantly, on American governmental documents that offer apparently incontrovertible proof that Roosevelt knowingly sacrificed American lives in order to enter the war on the side of England. Although obviously troubled by his discovery of a systematic plan of deception on the part of the American government, Stinnett does not take deep issue with its outcome. Roosevelt, he writes, faced powerful opposition from isolationist forces, and, against them, the Pearl Harbor attack was "something that had to be endured in order to stop a greater evil--the Nazi invaders in Europe who had begun the Holocaust and were poised to invade England." Sure to excite discussion, Stinnett's book offers what may be the final word on the terrible matter of Pearl Harbor. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Historians have long debated whether President Roosevelt had advance knowledge of Japan's December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Using documents pried loose through the Freedom of Information Act during 17 years of research, Stinnett provides overwhelming evidence that FDR and his top advisers knew that Japanese warships were heading toward Hawaii. The heart of his argument is even more inflammatory: Stinnett argues that FDR, who desired to sway public opinion in support of U.S. entry into WWII, instigated a policy intended to provoke a Japanese attack. The plan was outlined in a U.S. Naval Intelligence secret strategy memo of October 1940; Roosevelt immediately began implementing its eight steps (which included deploying U.S. warships in Japanese territorial waters and imposing a total embargo intended to strangle Japan's economy), all of which, according to Stinnett, climaxed in the Japanese attack. Stinnett, a decorated naval veteran of WWII who served under then Lt. George Bush, substantiates his charges with a wealth of persuasive documents, including many government and military memos and transcripts. Demolishing the myth that the Japanese fleet maintained strict radio silence, he shows that several Japanese naval broadcasts, intercepted by American cryptographers in the 10 days before December 7, confirmed that Japan intended to start the war at Pearl Harbor. Stinnett convincingly demonstrates that the U.S. top brass in Hawaii--Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Husband Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter Short--were kept out of the intelligence loop on orders from Washington and were then scapegoated for allegedly failing to anticipate the Japanese attack (in May 1999, the U.S. Senate cleared their names). Kimmel moved his fleet into the North Pacific, actively searching for the suspected Japanese staging area, but naval headquarters ordered him to turn back. Stinnett's meticulously researched book raises deeply troubling ethical issues. While he believes the deceit built into FDR's strategy was heinous, he nevertheless writes: "I sympathize with the agonizing dilemma faced by President Roosevelt. He was forced to find circuitous means to persuade an isolationist America to join in a fight for freedom." This, however, is an expression of understanding, not of absolution. If Stinnett is right, FDR has a lot to answer for--namely, the lives of those Americans who perished at Pearl Harbor. Stinnett establishes almost beyond question that the U.S. Navy could have at least anticipated the attack. The evidence that FDR himself deliberately provoked the attack is circumstantial, but convincing enough to make Stinnett's bombshell of a book the subject of impassioned debate in the months to come. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: The Free Press; 1st edition (December 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684853396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684853390
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Day of Deceit" provides compelling evidence that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deliberately provoked Japan to attack the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor so that America could enter the war on the allied side. Stinnett, a distinguished World War II navy veteran who researched his subject for over sixteen years, provides the following evidence:
1. A naval intelligence officer named Arthur McCollum developed an eight-point plan to provoke Japanese hostilities. This plan reached Roosevelt who implemented all eight points.
2. Contrary to popular belief, the Japanese navy broke radio silence on multiple occasions prior to December 7, 1941.
3. More than 94% of all secret Japanese naval messages (including some with direct reference to the impending attack on Pearl Harbor) were successfully decoded by American intelligence units prior to December 7, 1941
4. Roosevelt implemented a change of naval command that placed proponents of the eight-point-provocation plan in key positions of power. However, the newly promoted commander of Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel was consistently denied access to vital decoded translations of Japanese naval communications.
5. Naval Intelligence and the FBI successfully monitored the communication of Japanese intelligence agents in Hawaii for months. These communications, which included a bombing grid map of Pearl Harbor, revealed Japan's intent.
6. Much of the information successfully collected and analyzed by American Intelligence organizations prior to December 7, 1941 was reinforced by information from British and Dutch intelligence.
7. A sophisticated radio tracking system spanning from Alaska to Indonesia enabled America to track Japanese commercial and military shipping patterns.
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Format: Hardcover
Most books about Pearl Harbor, from the many volumes of the Congressional Pearl Harbor Hearings to the two-volume study by the late Gordon Prange detail all kinds of intelligence available to the United States that forewarned of the Japanese attack. If you have some background in that history, Stinnett's well-documented book adds new material to the story and discloses a set of Japanese Navy communications intercepts that complement more publicized decoded exchanges among the Japanses diplomatic corps.
The notion that high minded government leaders might conspire to manipulate American public opinion in support of a cause they think important and worth American lives is not as evocative in the post-Vietnam politics than it would have been in 1941.
Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson both managed to entice "enemy" attacks on U.S. forces to rally American public opinion Congressional support. They aren't alone. While damage to the U.S. fleet and personnel at Pearl Harbor far exceeded the couple of bullet holes inflicted on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964, the pre-event manipulation was not all that different. That people in government might conspire to keep their machinations hidden from the press and public, sadly, isn't novel either anymore. Radiation experiments, commandos known to be captured, but written off as killed and all the rest have taught us almost too much about human nature.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read the reviews of others, and I have to admit that I'm puzzled by some of them. But, if it weren't for differences of opinion, we wouldn't have horse races, would we?
I think this book is dynamite!
It occurs to me that a possible dividing line of opinion might depend upon who was around, and who wasn't around back on December 7, 1941. Those of us who WERE around, are the people who were really duped by FDR. Those who were NOT around, might tend to take a somewhat nonchalant view of the information revealed in this book.
The information that's revealed is startling, pure and simple. And, the fact that much more information about the Pearl Harbor attack is STILL kept under lock and key by the US Government, is cause for alarm. It's 60 years since these events unfolded. Why is germaine material still being withheld from public scrutiny?
Robert B. Stinnett is to be commended for his excellent detective work and perserverance in discovering and disclosing the contents of this book. (I've ordered three copies, so far.)
It should be REQUIRED reading in all US classrooms!
Carl B. Jordan - former Air Force fighter pilot.
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Format: Paperback
I served with the US Army Special Security Group (USASSG) during the period 1984 to 1987 and worked on a "declassification review" of pre-World War Two and World War Two "Special Intelligence" documents. We safeguarded several thousand linear feet of files inside a vault at Arlington Hall Station, VA. There were hundreds of linear feet of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) documents pertaining to Pearl Harbor. I admit that I was so dulled by the continuous adrenal rush of reading yet another document revealing some 50-year old historical snippet that I really did not attempt to think about the importance of what I read. After reading this book and comparing it to my memory I sat shocked at the accuracy of the author's research. It is no longer hard to believe in the perfidy of America's politicians after 8 years of The Arkansas Mafia and the Clintons; this book will make it very clear that the politicians of the 1930's and 1940's were every bit as bad as we can imagine. Buy this book and read it now.
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