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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  December 26, 2016 5:00am-8:01am EST

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>> translator: i saw a large
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object from 2,500 meters, and so i attacked it. since there were no carrier, we were reattacking the battleships that the first wave had already hit. >> host: eri hotta, you were shaking, nodding your head listening to him. was it interpreted correctly? >> guest: i couldn't hear the japanese clearly -- >> host: oh, you couldn't. >> guest: what he seemed to have said made sense, that he was doing the best, he was doing the best that he could do in the job that he was given, and there was no sort of -- it's almost like being a good student and demonstrating your skills and diligence. and i think that was probably how they survived this war, because so many things didn't make sense, and so many things seemed meaningless to lose your life for. so i think you just needed to
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concentrate on the job in front of you. >> host: craig nelson, was there a lot of vengeance in later battles in this war? >> guest: well, you take this incredible moment that happened, and the navy just responded with a fury. and the first thing they did was, i think, the really unexamined heroes of pearl harbor which was the salvage crews. they were able to resuscitate that entire operation, 96 ships were in the harbor. they brought back all but three of them. and, in fact, the cover of the book, of my book has the shaw blowing up in dry dock. it's a horizontal bomber that's striking, and its bomb is penetrating to its ammunition deck. and it's, so it's turning the ship itself into a bomb. that ship is back in business and taking part in the pacific campaign a year later, and it's just extraordinary to me that they were able to do that. then you have this outpouring of rage so that at midway, four of
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the six japanese aircraft carriers were sunk. the other two were essentially hunted down, and the yamamoto's great ship was used as a test target. one of my friends said you should call your book american rage. [laughter] >> host: let's go back to our callers. we also have social media if you can't get through on the phone lines. and, of course, our e-mail, larry, seven trail ya, washington, thanks for holding. you're on with our three authors. >> caller: yes. i'm really enjoying this. i'm 80 years old, so so i was a boy during world war ii, but we were very well aware of what was going on, having the blackouts at night and pulling down curtains. but you mentioned dory miller,
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the black mamba machine gun was killed in philippines. he was actually killed off the coast of -- [inaudible] a small aircraft carrier and it was sunk by a japanese submarine. that was the third day of the invasion. my cousin was aboard there and was killed on that. there were just a very few survivors. but my question was you don't hear anything about unit 731. and the medical experimentation on people, what they called, termed as logs so they'd dehumanize them. and no one was prosecuted after the war for war crimes on that. i just wondered who makes those decisions to prosecute? in fact, you hardly even hear it
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mentioned anymore. on the history books, china doesn't even list tiananmen square, students that were killed there they're not mentioned in their history books at all. >> host: that's larry who was 5 years old when pearl harbor happened. >> there's a terrific book, and it's not mine, called war without mercy about how savage the war in the pacific was on both sides. there were certainly racial beliefs on both sides that contributed to just enormous atrocities, far more than in europe, i think. and it's a fascinating book. i'm blanking on the name of the author -- [inaudible conversations] [laughter] >> guest: got a good plug. but i highly recommend that book to you for further
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discussionover just how awful -- discussion of just how awful that war was. >> host: albert is on the line, a veteran of world war ii from houston, texas. hi, albert. please go ahead. >> caller: hi, i was stationed -- there was always this talk that roosevelt said it was a day of infamy and so on and so forth, but i could never understand why we were having blackouts on the island of oahu about six or eight months before the attack actually came. >> host: now, albert, where were you stationed during world war ii? >> >> guest: hiccum. >> host: and what year? >> guest: 1939-1941. >> host: and how old are you, sir? may i ask? >> guest: i'm 96. i'll be 97 in january. >> host: albert, thank you so much for calling in and contributing.
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what about the blackouts? anybody? >> guest: they were routinely practicing prior to december 7th exactly that. hawaii had gone sort of preparations in terms of possible inveigh for months. -- invasion for months. one of the aspects of this that i think is most interesting to people is how militarized hawaii was prior to the attack. people were used to constant training by army and navy planes. you could hear the fleet practicing its gunnery over the horizon. military convoys clogged the roads all the time. honolulu was a booming city as the influx of army and navy troops kept building. and, yes, there were blackouts regularly planned and scheduled in preparation for, i think, what everyone knew was coming which was war. the local magazine, monthly
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magazine called paradise of the pacific was constantly talking about what's just beyond the horizon. so air raid practice was a given. >> host: i think in one of your books you talk about the fact that husband kimmel, when he came on as chief, really boosted training very, very stringently. >> guest: that must have been you. [laughter] >> guest: one of the reasons, the reason that so many people responded so quickly in the opening minutes of the attack was due to him. he had relentlessly trained the fleet in the ten months that he had been in charge, and training was his thing. this was a task master, a drill sergeant for the entire fleet. nothing escaped his anticipation. no detail was -- his attention. no detail was too small. and people would point out to
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him that he probably shouldn't be paying that much attention. he couldn't help himself. but he practiced -- he insisted on practicing maneuvers that everyone needed to be at their position, everyone needed to know their job. and by the late fall, people were saying to him and in subsequent testimony they had never seen the fleet in better condition than it was at that moment. and so what happened after december 7th, he wasn't there to see it. but the performance of the navy was due to him. >> host: what's on the cover of your book? >> guest: it's a, an image of someone looking through the, through binoculars for an enemy. i think it's more representational than a depiction of someone on that day. >> host: eri hotta, how militarized was japanese society by the time of pearl harbor? >> guest: i think it was
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militarized by default because so many people had to be sent off to battle fronts in china, and the home front had to show their support otherwise you'll be called unpatriotic. so, for instance, a neighborhood was organized into small block of four or five households, and they would cooperate with each other. in other words, they sort of spied on each other that they were performing patriotic duties and attending drills against possible fire, fire or air raids actually already. also they had the job of distributing food, rationed food amongst themselves equitably. and that was also a source of resentment for many, many families because people felt cheated. it was just a system of mutual distrust. so, but then every sort of
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neighborhood associate had an informer for the military police. it's speculated, there's nothing to prove, but i think that it was based on fear of being singled out. so people really kept really low profile. jazz music was banned and dance hallses were chosed, shut down -- halls were closed, shut down. so there was no sort of accelerately western entertainment -- overtly western entertainment. people were still holding american football matches in the fall of a 1941, but i think you didn't want to be singled out for all the wrong reasons. >> host: i think i read in your book that, basically, private cars were banned because of the use of oil. they invented cars running on charcoal and one bottle of beer every six months or two bottles
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of beer -- >> guest: can you imagine? [laughter] not a society for alcohol. >> host: john is in new york city, another world war ii veteran. john, or please go ahead. >> caller: yeah. my story is i was in japan, isn't by the army to japan -- sent by the army to japan in september of 1945. and i got out of the service there, and i continued to stay in japan for a total of five years. and i taught at a japanese university and another school. anyway, i was wondering about the japanese, how they got into this, and my experience is the man in the street really didn't seem to understand what they were doing. [laughter] what had happened.
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>> host: john, how or were you treated in japan when you were there? >> caller: well, as soon as i got out of the service, i continued to work in japanese university, and i was treated as a curiosity, of course. and i gave, and i talked to the japanese a lot, and i speak japanese. >> host: now, do you remember feeling angry after pearl harbor ? >> caller: no. i was young, younger then and, no. well, we were all kind of crazy about the war. [laughter] but when i was sent to japan, i wasn't angry at the japanese at all.
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in fact, i was curious. and my, and what i discovered is the man in the street really didn't have any feelings about the war at all. >> host: before we have our panel answer that question, just one final question to you. do you think it's fair to compare 9/11 to pearl hard or boar? -- pearl harbor? >> guest: no. >> host: why? >> guest: well, because i think the japanese, there was two groups of people there, there were the common citizens who really were not told very much, and then there was the military class. and i made kind of a study of that, because i was very curious. and when i returned to the united states after five year ares in japan -- years in japan,
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i gave 105 talks about my experiences to the locals, any convention or any kiwanis club or or anybody who invited me to speak. and my message was always pretty much the man in the street didn't know what was going on. >> host: thank you, sir. eri hotta. >> guest: it's true that japan was not an open democracy for various reasons that we discussed already. but to say that military was responsible be oversimplifying the picture a bit, in my mind, because military was not a monolithic organ. and it was dieded -- divided into different cliques, different interests and, of course, navy and army never got along. [laughter] i think it was far more complicated structure of bargaining and deal making,
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plus, civilians were involved as well and the emperor in some indirect, very, very strange but very powerful way in the end. very much the glue holding together those different fragments of interests. so i think it's okay to say that, of course, commoners, regular people in the street didn't really know why that happened, but that's different from not asking why it happened. so i think they should, they shouldn't be automatically excused or disengaged from the whole why did this happen picture, myself included as the inheritor of that sort of collected guilt. i think i have the responsibility, one way of dealing with the issue myself. people have different ways of dealing with it. but to say that people didn't
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know what was going on, people in the government didn't know what was going on, so let's try to figure out -- >> host: did your family have a connection to world war ii? >> guest: i have a -- both my grandparents, grandfathers didn't go to war for health reasons or the age, but i have great uncle who died in iwo jima, another one who was an english literature student at tokyo university, was considered quite dispensable because he was not an engineering student. so at the end of the war, he gets called on to become a kamikaze pilot. he actually doesn't go. the war ends right before his mission. so i didn't know him, sadly, enough because he died in his 60s, and i was quite ignorant about these things and not really conscious about these problems. but i think he lived with survivor's guilt all along.
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i think he ran a pilot flight school somewhere on the west coast of america. so he sort of half immigrated to america in a strange sort of twist of fate. but i think -- i don't think he quite knew why he was left to live. >> host: craig nelson, this is an e-mail from robert hyde in syracuse, new york. why did the japanese not invade and occupy the hawaiian islands as part of the pearl harbor attack? >> guest: well, they were so busy invading and occupying all of southeast asia from the northeast boundaries to the southwest boundaries of india that they really didn't have enough left over to take on the 43,000 servicemen that were in hawaii. so i really think that as mr. twomey had said, hawaii was
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very much a sideline item towards this great big operation to turn, to expand their chinese territory into all of southeast asia territory. but i to want to explain one thing about the attack we haven't discussed yet, and that's how really nutty this idea was. it's something that mystifies me about yamamoto, that he spent so much time in america and naught, well, if we cull 2,403 americans on hawaii, the american citizen is going to go, oh, well, we certainly can't fight them, we've just got to turn asia over to the chinese. i just don't understand why he was so keen on that. it's just so nutty, and you take that as sort of a foundation of why pearl harbor was attacked, and it makes no sense. >> host: how long did the japanese occupy that great expansion of sea in asia? >> guest: well, it took them is six months to get it, so by the middle of '42, so they have the great empire of japan, and they hold onto it for '44.
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>> host: when was the next major battle or the first battle after pearl harbor? >> guest: well, the great story is about midway which is another three hour conversation we could have because it's such an amazing story. midway happened six months after -- well, three months after pearl hard or boar comes the incredible doolittle raid. so that is the only time for twice in their entire life the navy and army have cooperated, we're talking about japanese. in america the navy and the term have cooperated twice, and that's one of them. in april. six months after pearl harbor comes midway which completely turns the course of the pacific war and nimitz could it the greatest squeaker of all time. but that's a story for another three-hour panel. >> host: bo is in sylvester, georgia. please go ahead with your question or comment for our authors. >> caller: thank you for letting me join your conversation this afternoon. i've got two quick things. i've been listening.
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i lived down the street in tipton from a pearl harbor survive, and his name probably will bring a bell, william outerbridge. >> guest: wow. >> caller: he commanded the -- [inaudible] that spotted the japanese midget9 submarine. they could not confirm they sunk it because the way it went down, because i think it went down in 2002. and ironically, it was december 7th, 944, that same ship that sunk that japanese midget submarine was destroyed in a cam cause key a-- kamikaze attack near the philippine eye lancz. when i knew him, he was retired as a rear admiral, and he's buried in tipton not too far from henry meyers. i think he flew the plane for roosevelt. but anyhow, the guy was a walking history book, and i want to ask ms. hotta, and i'll let you go. i knew a japanese naval officer
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from the self-defense academy e met in the 1980s, and he told me they didn't call it world war ii, they called it the great pacific war with and that's how they viewed history. he also mentioned there's an article in the japanese constitution that prohibits them from having any kind of military operations overseas. thank you, i'll hang up. >> host: one of you writes about then-captain outerbridge, was it in tell the story. >> guest: well, his story's pretty well known in its broad outlines. i don't think people really understand or know what an extraordinary set of circumstances led to william outerbridge being in the position he was in. he had been the cap sustain of -- captain of, the executive officer of another destroyer and truly hated his captain, just couldn't stand the man and had been seeking to get a transfer
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off his destroyer in any way he could, and he was hoping for a land assignment so he could be reunited with his family. in late november he was relieved and geive command of his -- and given command of his own ship, the uss ward. he took command of it on friday, december 59. he had never -- december 5th. he had never commanded a ship. the morning of december 6th he and the ward went out of the harbor on his first patrol ever. and they were tasked with patrolling back and forth in front of the harbor channel, and it was the next morning when he's asleep that he is awakened with a call to come to the bridge. and they spot an object in the water, and here's a man who's in his first job on his first day, and he didn't hesitate. he ordered his ship to hunt it down and open fire. and they did open fire. and they knew they hit it too.
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it wouldn't be confirmed until the submarine was found, as the gentleman referred to, decades later. but they warned, they sent a message saying they had attacked this submarine. that's the object, i think i should have said that. he didn't know it, they didn't know it, but it was one of the midget submarine it is japanese were using as part of their attack. urge, his -- unfortunately, his message kind of wound its way slowly up through peacetime, and the vice grip of peace was still in people's mane until today -- mentality, and they didn't react swiftly enough to what he had just told them. and he sent a letter to his wife a few days later saying took command on friday, went to sea on saturday, started the war on sunday. [laughter] >> host: eri hotta, what about
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that gentleman's call about the great pacific war? >> guest: the terminology. there's a lot in a name and how one choose to call a certain war, i think, reveals a lot about your political affiliation. pacific war or asia-pacific war, as is generally used in japan by both right and left, i think it's value-neutral, very sort of uncontestable term because, of course, war happened in that theater. they claim that japan liberated all the colonial parts of southeast asia. in china as well. i don't know how they extend the argument that way. leftist, on the extreme left, i think some people prefer to call it 5 years' war because -- 15 years' war because they see the beginning of the war as 1931 when japanese field army invaded
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parts of northeast asia. northeast china, excuse me. so i think there's a lot in the name, but i think many more just prefer to call it the value-free, neutral way of asia-pacific war. the second question, i think, had to do with article ix, the no-war clause of the constitution, which the president abe administration is trying to revise or do away altogether. because he as a sort of hawk thinks that it's a humiliation that japan didn't have the right to write its own constitution at the end of world war ii. i think the truth is slightly more nuanced because the suggestion of including this clause that renounces war as a sovereign right of japan came about because of japanese suggestion. i think there are some evidence to that, and there's been some
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research done on that. so to say that it was an american imposition to disarm japan and completely emasculate japan is wrong, but then that's how he views it, and he's been trying to correct that postwar regime, as he calls it, because japan should have the right to defend itself and wage war if need be. so he tried to pass security bills, and he did so successfully in the past year. but that actually put his administration in a very sensitive position. americans might welcome that japan is finally taking more charge in the military matters and the east asian security in terms of actual military capabilities, but that also
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means that japan has to balance power in asia itself not by sole hi relying on the united states' help. so that might mean that it -- it depends on how the cold war in east asia ends. it might also depend on how japan faces up to its past and how other concerned governments of east asia deal with that and also all parties stop politicizing all memory to their advantage. >> host: you look like you wanted to add -- >> guest: no, i did not. >> host: okay. craig nelson, in your book you cite some surveys of japanese citizens, american citizens, how they feel about pearl harbor, how they feel about hiroshima and nagasaki. what did you find? >> guest: well, a wonderful man went through all of the visitor comment cards at the arizona memorial of japanese descent,
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and he pulled them all out and found out the number one thing american people wanted was for the -- the japanese people wanted was for the american movie about pearl harbor to mention hiroshima or nag nagasa. so there's still this tug-of-war going on between, well, if we apologize for hiroshima, they'll apologize for pearl harbor, and who will do it birth? i can't believe this is still going on 75 years later. >> guest: ing and i think no japanese prime minister has visited japanese memorial -- >> host: well, president obama was the first, wasn't he? >> guest: to visit hiroshima. prime minister's wife made a further i trip and -- furtive trip and advertised on her facebook page. it doesn't really mention how her husband's government is dealing with the war memory. i thought that was really strange. >> guest: i do want to point out something. i think one of the great moments in this story happens when you
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see that, you you know, macarthr or starts off as something of a stinker, and then in korea which is another three-hour panel, he's something of a stinker. but when he goes to japan as supreme allied commander, he does sort of an amazing thing. he gives a speech at the surrender that will make you burst into tears, it is so incredible that a professional soldier gives a speech about peace that is so heartfelt. he then really begins the process whereby america supports the japanese. this is, like, two weeks after the surrender. japanese citizens are going through the american army garbage looking for food, and macarthur says you've got to send me some money, these people are starving, and they go, what are you talking about? we just defeated those monsters, we're not sending them money. he goes, well, give me butter or give me guns. and he begins the support fur a prior -- for a prior enemy that lasts over into the marshall plan when marshall is secretary of state under truman.
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so america, after winning world war ii, does these reverse reparations where we rebuild japan and germany, and i think it's an incredible legacy -- >> host: maybe on in depth we'll do a douglas macarthur round table. george in tucson, arizona, thanks for holding. you're on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: yes. thank you for taking my call. i have a couple of comments, and i'll hang up and listen to the answers. this is directed to the three authors. have any of them ever read the, excuse me, the road to rainbow by henry cole or john tolan's rising sun, and if they have, have they helped with their research in their current or future books? and my final comment, hopefully they can answer this question. i remember a few years ago reading about the japanese imperial staff in their
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long-range war plans making the comment that their war was not to start until 1947, and then it would be against russia. have any of them run up against that comment? i'll hang up now, thank you. >> host: is and, george, who was that first author, road to rainbow? what was his name? oh, john is gone. john tolan and rising sun and road to rainbow? anybody? >> guest: i've read john tolan's book on pearl harbor which i think has some problems. he buys into the notion of prior warning to a degree. and i think the primary source he had in there was subsequently debunked. >> guest: ing yeah. >> guest: but i don't know the other gentleman. >> host: is there a conspiracy theory, in a sense, about prior warning? >> guest: oh, yeah. >> guest: oh, yes. [laughter] >> host: we've gotten a facebook comment here. stanley says i was there as a
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navy kid. my dad sat up in bed and said, quotes, the japs are bombing pearl harbor, no surprise. it was bait set up by roosevelt to enrage a public sick of war and save edge land, france -- edge -- england, france and holland. >> guest: one of the founders of the america first committee, that was the group that charles lindbergh got involved with and got in trouble with anti-semitic comment, and this was that sort of group. and it was expanded on by husband kimmel's lawyer during one of the congressional investigations. it was then fold up by a guy who wanted to take all the blame away from the navy and pin it on the civilian government. so you just have these three people who have gotten together and decided to push this. and what you have to do is imagine that for the very thinnest of reasons, you know, as of the fall of france in 1940, most americans realized we
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had to do something. if we lost england, we were going to be in terrible trouble. we were going to be the only people not under the nazis on one side or the japanese on the other. to this idea that roosevelt had to push america into it, there was no pushing. we were already having our shipping taken apart in the atlantic by nazi submarines. the difference is that without pearl harbor, we would not have had to fight two wars on two oceans, three con innocent, and we -- continent, and we would not have become the pax americana. >> guest: i think by way of launching war on japan, retaliating japan, america could also go to war in junior. i -- in europe. i think it just doesn't hold because there was no guarantee that hitler was going to declare war on the united states immediately afterwards.
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japan didn't go to war against the soviet union on nazis' behalf. so there was no reason that germany should go to war against the united states for japan. so i think from a sort of logistical point of view, just doesn't hold. >> guest: i would offer two very practical reasons why i think that on the 75th anniversary this is a theory we finally ought to bury forever. [laughter] the first practical piece of evidence is that we already knew the japanese were moving substantial military forces toward the southwest pacific including one of our possessions, the philippines. all roosevelt had to do was sit back if wait, and he would -- and he would know whether japan was going to attack the philippines, at which point we probably would have declared war. he didn't need the to sacrifice the pacific fleet. and the second reason i would offer is franklin roosevelt had no independent means of intelligence.
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he depended all the way down the chain of command to eavesdroppers listening to japanese radio messages and translating them, decoding them, passing them up the chain of command. and is so hundreds of people would have had to know in order for franklin roosevelt to know. and it simply defies belief that all of those people would then go to their graves with their lips sealed with the greatest act of treason in american history. [laughter] >> guest: i did a book about going to -- [inaudible] about a third of when i was researching it, and i talked to somebody under the age of 40, they'd said, oh, you're going to show that it was all made up, right? [laughter] so it's a big problem. >> guest: i think some people are conspiratorial-minded. >> host: well, on page 49 of countdown to pearl harbor, you write that war was coming to the pacific, and they all knew it, and they all knew no one took
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that more seriously than husband kimmel. the keywords in there, war was coming to the pacific. was that general knowledge in a sense? >> guest: oh, yes. i think certainly by the last, first week of december it was so well known -- >> host: but what about earlier? >> guest: ing oh, all through 1941. we were negotiating with japan. the idea that the japanese were an arm of nazi germany was quite common, that they were engaged in similar activity. and when kimmel took command of the fleet on february 1, 1941, in his remarks to the fleet he noted that they would be working hard in light of what we all know. i believe that was his quote. and he's referring to what was likely in the pacific. war was not the surprise in 1941. it was the target where it began. and i think that's really important for people to understand.
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on december -- i will share one small story about how likely it was or how common it was. a woman by the name of helen doff traveled by ship from san francisco to hon hulu with her two -- honolulu with her two kids around november 1st. she got there, she wrote a letter home saying she was thrilled to be alive, because she had assumed that their passenger liner would be sunk by the japanese. that's how prevalent the idea that war was just around the corner was. now, she may have had an additional belief because her uncle was husband kimmel finish. -- but she said that she fully expected that they would die and was relieved that they did not. >> host: go ahead. >> guest: general marshall held an off the record press conference with all of the heeding wire services to get them ready that war was coming, and he told them the danger period is the first week of december.
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but after that we'll have, we won't have any problems because we'll have these b-17s taking off from the philippines, bombing the home eye hands of japan and coming back. and someone pointed out, well, according to your specks, the b-17 can't go from the philippines to japan and back, it doesn't have the range. and "the new york times" published this article as this is a war we could lose. >> host: and secretary marshall, sec -- general mar hall, secretary of the army at that point. pam, please go ahead. >> caller: hi. i have all of your books, all of you authors. >> guest: we thank you. >> caller: my grandfather was commanding a task group coming in that morning at dawn x because he had submarine wamp on, that's how they spotted the midget9 submarine. it's 1500 yards to the star board. in fact, my grandfather's yeoman, james dewitt, is out
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this week at pearl for the remembrance. and i spoke to a lot of radio guys verifying this too on the ward. but i'm just curious going back again as historians about the cig sniff cannes of -- significance of the submarines because it was very well known that if you spotted one japanese submarine, they knew to expect a very fast carrier force not too far behind. and my grandfather was commanding -- [inaudible] and i'll verify what steve toomey said, admiral kimmel had them continually planning maneuvers, and one of the maneuvers my grandfather was involved with was if a submarine was outside the mouth of pearl harbor or inside it. so, again, people were very congress, and he he had even given orders. this is also, again, what caused the war warning coming out november 26, no 27th, the
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codebreakers in hawaii had noticed two-thirds of the japanese submarine fleet had moved east towards the marshalls, and they knew very well what that meant. it was ipger sol and then sienna stark sent the final warning. fdr had ordered everybody, let japan make the first defensive move, but kimmel luckily countermanded that. i've spoken to enough eyewitnesses from that morning. my grandfather was in the admirals' quarters when they sighted the submarine, and why he had submarine watch on was because they'd been followed from a meeting with the british across the pacific. >> host: all right, pam, let's hear from our authors. craig nelson, you want to startsome. >> guest: ing the story of the midgets have been amazing and, in fact, there's still a pearl harbor mystery that exists to this day which is that we found one in pearl harbor in the 1960s fully intact and pulled
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it up, and it had no signs of human life in it at all. and the theory is that the two officers aboard that submarine escaped into the hawaiian japanese-american population and survived that way. but one of the many things, mr. twomey has a different opinion about mr. kimmel than me. after he receives his war warning, the ships are still sitting there with its youngest members ea board and only one boiler lit which means that most of them don't even have he can terrorist to defend themself, and i thought out of all the things mr. kimmel could have done, he could have at least done that. >> host: bob's in lincoln, nebraska. hi bork -- hi, bob. >> guest: hello. has ms. hotta already answered my primary question about a half hour ago over the education system over -- what was being taught about the war, so i'm going to have to go to my backup
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question regarding the doolittle raids. after the doolittle took off and did, quite frankly, insignificant damage, but what was the political, what was the political thinking after the doolittle raids, and what was the repercussions up the chain of command as far as how they let those bombers attack tokyo? >> guest: well, in america it was considered a great victory because we had not had a world war ii victory yet on our team, on pretty much any of the allies. well, the battle of britain, but we hadn't had much happy news, so it was taken very well. in japan it was taken very hard because they had allowed the emperor to be imperilled x they immediately launched plans to take out the final american defense forces at midway. to you can say that in the
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scheme of things, the doolittle raid led directly to midway. and it also made americans suddenly change their opinion even though the damage was minor in the american mind. suddenly we thought, well, gee, we thought the sad little britain and sad little sow -- soviet union conscious possibly win the -- couldn't possibly win the war. so so that was the great moment in history. >> host: from your book, here a couple of pictures. fdr on december 8th and a handwritten speech. want to show our audience part of this speech. >> yesterday, december 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.
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the united states of america was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of japan. the united states was at peace with that nation, and at the solicitation of japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the pacific. with confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will game the inevitable triumph, so help us god. [applause] >> host: one draft with some markouts. >> guest: someday i'll be able to do that. [laughter] >> host: and that, he basically
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orally gave that -- >> guest: gave dictation to his secretary and then did one draft, and that's one of the greatest speeches in american history. >> host: did this speech get played in japan? did it get covered? >> guest: good point. no. instead, they brought us tokyo's declaration speech, and he has no -- [inaudible] of roosevelt. so it really pales in comparison even looking ate now. and -- at it now. and he has unfortunate, not clear enunciation, and he does sound like a second rate teenage actor. but -- stage actor. tokyo was interested in propaganda tactics of the nazi, so i think he really wanted to stylize this declaration speech in a very effective manner. i think it backfired. [laughter] >> host: there seemed to, in your book, japan, 1941, there seemed to be a lot of german influence in tokyo.
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is that fair? >> guest: i think it's fair to the extent that americans also had lots of influence. and i think in 19th century japanese looked up to america more than all of europe because they were both industrializing great power. so i think there was more good will on civic level with americans than europeans, ironically. i think the nazis had influence to the extent that so many people were impressed by the blitzkrieg success. also lots of bright students went to germany in the 1920s, come to america, go to britain because it was cheaper. the hyper-inflation made it so easy for students of western sciences and philosophy to go there and enjoy themselves. and tojo, for example, was
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dispatched the germany for a time. so i think people were influenced by that kind of very organized, germanic thinking. but that doesn't really translate immediately to the admiration of naziism. i think naziism was a suspect ideology for many people because it looked down on colored people as second class race or third class race. many people didn't realize, people who read "mein kampf" in translation in japanese was omitted from the text. so only people who could read german knew about this. so i think this fascination with naziism, it's more theatrical in nature as far as my understanding. >> host: what sparks you to write about pearl harbor and about this era? and i'm just going to go around the table. >> guest: the most pedestrian of events, i took a family vacation to oahu and with my son and
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wife, went out to the arizona memorial. and i had been there before -- >> host: you can see the outline. >> guest: you can see the hull. and the exhibits at the national monument are quite good. but i got interested, oddly enough -- perhaps you can tell this already -- in husband kimmel. and i realized no one had written a biography of husband kimmel which i thought was strange. there was a reason in that he wasn't a very introspective man. you weren't going to get great revelations from him. but once you get into it, you kind of get hooked. and i thought that a way to tell it was this way starting with the departure to have japanese fleet. as we all know, the knowledge today of exactly how we got to that point is fairly thin. and i hope, as i'm sure we all did, that people would come to understand the complexity of the
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moment and also the astounding drama that it really was. it was sort of a nonfiction thriller in those days. that's why. >> guest: well, i actually wanted to do a pearl harbor book almost 15 years ago because i was living a mile away from ground zero, and a friend called and said, oh, there's been an accident, you should go look at it. so i go up and look, and the sky is completely cloud-free, and i think how could this be an accident, and that's when the second plane hit. then i sort of blacked out for a couple hours, and then i spent three years having this phobia about planes. what is that doing there, why is it -- just nutty stuff. so in trying to solve why i was having this problem, i tracked down other people with fear of planes, and there are thousands of them, and they were survivors of pearl harbor. so i had this sort of feeling towards it, but i didn't really
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want to take it on because it's such a titanic thing to do. when you go to the center for legislative archives and look at the fundamental documents, they are 48 feet long. so they're eight of me. think of a filing cabinet 48 feet long. so it's like nightmarish. but then i realized if you look at the last definitive book, it was researched 50 years ago. and people -- civilians think of history as being set in stone. you read one book, and that's it. but historians know that history is like water x it comes and goes, and i just thought 50 years later, it's time to try a new one. so that's why. >> guest: i do agree that historians' task is to keep reinterpreting history. aside from things that i said about sort of the personal state that i felt with the topic, i think beyond that i really thought, i think like steve, this was a kind of crime fiction.
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we know the outcome very well, but there are so many moments that it could have turned around. so e e really was fascinateeded -- i really was fascinated by the defense building thing. it's almost like shakespearean as well. >> guest: absolutely. >> guest: it's a drama of human weakness and sort of, it's almost tragic comedy. it's not just tragedy. it's farcical, what people are discussing or not discussing at the highest levels of government in japan. so i want to introduce that to as many audience members as possible, so writing in english made sense. >> host: well, craig nelson, you mentioned gordon prang. this is from mark in new hampshire. i would like the guests to give their assessment of the historical research and works on pearl harbor by gordon prang. >> guest: well, i think that
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mr. prang wrote the greatest book about japanese military of world war ii that's ever been written, and he was working with macarthur, and he was in part of the history section, and he was supposed to interview every single person they came across, and he did. his archives in maryland were a fantastic source for my own work. however n50 years' time, we have all new information coming out from japan such as ms. hotta's scholarship, all new information from the survives because they couldn't talk about what happened to them. and if you compare what we're able to write about now versus what prang wrote about in the attack it, you'd think he was sanitizing it or something, that he was worried about readers' sensibilities, but he just didn't have the material. so we have really, at one point this book was a million pages of raw document. and sometimes it still feels like -- [laughter] running around in my head! but that's how much new stuff we
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actually found. >> host: mike, san diego, thanks for holding. you're on with our three authors. >> caller: thank you. i have a comment and a question. the comment is that there's a terrific two volumes called reporting world war ii, and one of the articles in there is by an american journalist who was in tokyo at the time of the attack, and it's about how he got rudely hustled out of there. and i think he was interned for a while and then got back to the states. if i'm not mistaken, the title of it is this is for keeps. and the other one is you mentioned that colorful character at the japanese -- [inaudible] and truman thought the real blame for not being ready was with hoover because they were supposed to -- [inaudible] and, of course, hoover was so entrenched in secrecy and power, i wondered what you thought about that. >> guest: well, the fbi on oahu
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certainly was attuned to the japanese-american community there and had a tap on the phone of the cook at the consulate. and that's how they learned on december 3rd that the consulate was starting to burn its secret documents. but the special agent in charge in honolulu never thought there was any evidence of sabotage by the local community. certainly never knew about the spy who was operating fairly open hi and freely -- openly and freely, although they had lists of people that they intended to round up as soon as war broke out, which they did. there were, there was an a list and a b list of suspected folks in the japanese community. but i'm not quite sure i understood the caller's point. did the fbi know? no, i don't think the fbi had
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any knowledge that an attack was imminent. >> guest: well, they did have one report which happens in august, 1941, and it's one of my favorite pearl harbor stories, and it involves a man who was a triple agent. he worked simultaneously for the yugoslav, the british and the nazi intelligence agencies. he's one of the models for james bond. and he appears in august 1941 at the you offices of j. edgar hoor in washington and says i've been sent here on a job by the nazis to assess american defense capabilities, and of the three questions -- page of questionnaire i have to fill out, one of them is about pearl harbor. hoover refuse to take this seriously, and he knows that popov is having an affair with a married woman. so one of the two serious warnings about pearl harbor is ignored.
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>> host: nick's in lake hiawatha, new jersey. nick, please go ahead. >> caller: yes. you're talking about the midget subs, but how come the japanese i-boats, i understand they had some of the most advanced submarines. how come that wasn't used as a primary weapon to search down the american carriers? and just was there a second attack on pearl harbor by sea planes? >> guest: i think we need to appreciate what a spectacularly daring raid this was on the part of japan. many people in its own navy didn't think this just militarily could be pulled off. so secrecy was a prime directive, but it's also important to remember they had no way of knowing whether the fleet was going to be there and whether the carriers were going
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to be there when they left. so one of the questions they had to have answered enroute was, was our plan going to succeed because the enemy was indeed where we hoped they would be. they weren't hunting for the pacific fleet at sea with submarines, they were hunting for it in the harbor because that's when they were their most vulnerable, made the easiest targets, and it was only in the 24 hours prior to the attack that they realized that their wish, their hope was going to be fulfilled. the fleet was, in fact, there except for the aircraft carriers. so when he mentions that why weren't they using these larger submarines to hunt for the fleet, they had no knowledge of where the fleet was at any time. they were hoping it would be where, in fact, they found it. >> host: how did they keep that
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secret? >> guest: i think by really mistreating people at the top level. i mean, if i may be allowed to talk about envoys here in washington, d.c., they really didn't know what the hell was going on when they went into -- [inaudible] and how had been informed. and his hands started shaking, reading japan's declared intent to end diplomacy. even then it didn't really declare war on the united states. so the stealth bit of it was not included, and they only realized back at the embassy what had happened. so they became a sacrificial lamb, basically, to insure the pearl hard or boar success. and they weren't -- harbor success. and they weren't given enough time to type up the memo. so that's why they were late at the state department.
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i think it's a case of maltreatment of people within your own camp. >> host: craig nelson, back to where we started. why did the japanese attack pearl harbor? >> guest: they wanted to cope us from interfering with their plans for operation, number one. they wanted to strike out as a western power and show they were their equal. they wanted to insure a source of petroleum and be out of, out from under the thumb of the united states. and they thought that by doing this that america would let them keep their asian colonies and would give up on trying to proceed in a war against them in asia. >> host: steve twomey, was it militarily successful? >> guest: i think it concern the short answer is, no, i don't think it was. they certainly achieved surprise, but yamamoto miscalculated completely the response to the surprise. he didn't think -- he thought this would weaken morale. it had exactly the reverse effect.
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militarily, yes, i think they achieved in a limited sense the goal of inflicting severe damage on the fleet. but as we've talked about, they missed the targets that were going to be the most important in the coming war. the battleship era, although many people didn't know it, was already peaking and perhaps had peaked. these were all old ships. they were slow, they couldn't keep up with aircraft carriers. those were the weapons of the future. and invest the first -- and this was the first war in which that became apparent. so i think militarily by missing the aircraft carriers, they probably did not achieve their goal. >> host: eri hotta, you get the last word, and you have 30 seconds. >> guest: i disagree with your assessment ab yamamoto's personality. ..
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