Consult your bookstore for books
reviewed here — or write to publishers listed.
The Final Secret of
By Rear Adm. Robert A. Theobald, The Devin-
Adoir Company, 23 East 26th St., New York 10,
N. Y., 1954, xix, 202 pp., $3.50.
Admiral Kimmel's Story
By Rear Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, Henry Reg-
nery Co., 20 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago 4, III.,
1955, xvi, 206 pp., $3.75.
In many ways the Pearl Harbor
story is similar to the famous Dreyfus
case which so stirred French interest
and emotions late in the last century.
In America's case, two military commanders were made the scapegoats for
the mistakes and derelictions of others.
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and
General Walter C. Short were the
American Navy and Army commanders, respectively, at Pearl Harbor at
the time the Japanese launched their
surprise attack. The attack was a
surprise to the Pearl Harbor commanders, but it would not have been
had they been given the information
available in Washington.
Admiral Kimmel's predecessor in
command of the Pacific Fleet had disagreed with President Roosevelt's determination to base the fleet at Pearl
Harbor where adequate defensive arrangements would be difficult. Admiral Richardson had strongly advocated basing the fleet on the California coast. So he had been relieved
of his command of the fleet. Admiral
Kimmel had to make the best of the
situation as he found it. His orders
were to prepare and train the fleet for
war. That he carried out this assignment with skill and efficiency is witnessed by the magnificent account the
Navy gave of itself in the Pacific war,
despite the staggering losses suffered
in the Pearl Harbor attack.
The defense of the naval forces
w bile they were at their base at Pearl
Harbor was primarily the responsibility of the Army under General
Short. This task General Short was
apparently supposed to accomplish
with the planes an>l equipment being
sent to the British and Russians. Admiral Kimmel reveals that of 180
bombers and patrol planes promised
to the Hawaiian Coastal Frontier, only
twelve were supplied. At the time of
attack, six of these were in operating
condition, ft might be added that
General Short had other difficulties
with which to contend — Including a
prohibition upon normal precautionary measures, such as dispersal of
planes in individual revetments.
It was physically impossible for the
Pearl Harbor commanders to maintain an effective system of patrols with
the means they had. If the time of an
expected attack could be pinpointed
to a certain day, all-out employment
of all facilities could repel the attack.
As we now know, just such precise information was known in Washington.
The Japanese code had been broken
and Washington was reading all messages. Washington knew that the Japanese were assembling an extremely
detailed bombing plan of the Pearl
Harbor base — but the Pearl Harbor
commanders were never informed of
this. Washington knew the exact hour
of the attack — and remained silent.
Hardly before the bombs had
stopped falling, the moves were under way to conceal the responsibility
of President Roosevelt and his subordinates, and to pin the onus on the
Pearl Harbor commanders. Many investigations were conducted during
the next several years. The findings of
the honest ones were stamped "secret"
and buried in the files. The whitewash
findings of the other ones were
splashed in headlines and editorial
columns over the land. General Short
repeatedly pleaded to be tried by
courts-martial. But it was safer to
"try" these two capable and innocent
officers in print.
Admiral Theobald was at Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. Over the
succeeding years, he has aided Admiral Kimmel's defense and has spent
innumerable hours in a search for the
truth. His findings receive admirable
presentation in his book, which was
published in its entirety in U. S. News
6 World Report.
Likewise, Admiral Kimmel has devoted fifteen years to clearing his name
of the vicious and false charges made
against him. It is tragic that General
Short, who so wanted to clear his own
name for his family's sake, did not
live to see these two books published.
For Admirals Kimmel and Theobald
have also cleared General Short's name
in the only positive way it could be
done — by placing and proving the
blame squarely where it belongs.
The story as it unfolds is as amazing
as it is revolting. And there are chapters yet to be told. While we know
now that the United States was secretly committed to war by executive
agreement, important documents rf
lating to the deals between Roosevelt
and Churchill are being secreted to
this day. Particular reference is mad'
to the so-called Kent documents — co';
respondence between Roosevelt ad
Churchill that was transcribed by '
code clerk in the American embasS
in London, Tyler Kent. There hsq
been no anguished bleats in the "li»
eral" press over the fact that th'
British, under their official secrets 8fl
imprisoned Tyler Kent for trying "
leak out information from these doc"
ments. Those who have been so d*
turbed by the prospect of any actio'
against Alger Hiss, Owen Lattimof*
the Amerasia crowd and the like serf
only too happy with any and all me& c't,(uis of
ures taken to suppress the Pearl Hf P,Vernmen
bor story. Indeed, few men receP "'"'iiatio,
more favorable publicity than the w *nders,
ures directly involved in the machW If tl,lls
a Sage in ,
* On Pea
... When t
n ^e Nav
tions leading up to Pearl Harbor al?
those engaged in the "historical bl'lC
out" ever since. iT,r
The record of the day-by-day n .
hour-by-hour developments which c'
nn'natcd in the totally unnecessary'
of more than 3,000 lives in the ??*
Harbor attack is a fascinating chafl
in the history of our global i'1'
Real political issues cannot be
manufactured by the leaders of
[Hiriics. and cannot /»*■> evaded W
them — tliey declare tin'mst'lremand come out of the depths of
that deep which toe call puhUc
opinion. — I. \ i; i n i n
ventionism which supplanted the jl
tested Monroe Doctrine. No bett^
more careful account is to be
than that embodied in these boojj
two senior naval officers. Both bj
are highly readable, despite the 0j
sity of dealing with many coflJ
technical matters. Both authors
i\ "''t at
succeeded in making a clear and L' St""Sl'\elt |
cise presentation of vast ainoiin15. a *'ijs on j-
documentary material. The factfj \.""> are
conclusions are incontestable, <j1 L/"1*-
than by the bland and superficial
nial that shuns all requirement-
n<1 the \,
A* l,ePt a
tk (l,at I
Cul and ,
logic and proof.
Lest we"be led to think that "'"J t\Ql Harb,
nothing more than an exercise & 4 d^'0rr"atic
ing over the coals of the p«s^J «.at of tl,
would do well to consider the * j \^s each
of Admiral Kimmel. After all, *'eJ tif ' "h'ik! ,-
still pursuing the same globalisticfj ^ * raiS(.(]
eies which procured the Pearl H^j L tl('n to 1
attack. If we are going to COl>n t^'U'iie,!
the same course, we can at le"s|
to avoid falling again into some e
worst pitfalls. And our experie«>J
Korea adds a sharp exclamation'
to Admiral Kimmel's remarks.
tl7 their p
K .> fn
Facts Foiuim News, March:
v,.|t. the w