Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Pearl Harbor

Loud + Weak = War

China and Russia are no more impressed with empty bluster today than Japan was in 1941.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

The Roosevelt administration once talked loudly of pivoting to Asia to thwart a rising Japan. As a token of its seriousness, in May 1940 it moved the home port of the Seventh Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor — but without beefing up the fleet’s strength.477px-Franklin_Roosevelt_signing_declaration_of_war_against_Japan

The then-commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, an expert on the Japanese Imperial Navy, protested vehemently over such a reckless redeployment. He felt that the move might invite, but could not guard against, surprise attack.

Richardson was eventually relieved of his command and his career was ruined — even as he was later proved right when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Britain at the same time promoted a loud Singapore Strategy, trumpeting its Malaysian base as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” But London did not send out up-to-date planes, carriers, or gunnery to the Pacific.

Japan was not impressed. It surprise-attacked the base right after Pearl Harbor. The British surrendered Singapore in February 1942, in the most ignominious defeat in British military history.

By 1949, the U.S. was pledged to containing the expansion of Communism in Asia — even as Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson (who had been chief fundraiser for Truman’s 1948 campaign) declared that the Navy and Marines were obsolete. He began to slash both their budgets. Read more →

Is China copying the old imperial Japan

by Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media 

In the 1920s, Japan began to translate its growing economic might — after a prior 50-year crash course in Western capitalism and industrialization — into formidable military power. Read more →

War’s Paradoxes: From Pearl Harbor to the Russian Front to the 38th Parallel

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

From time to time, I take a break from opinion writing here at Works and Days [1] and turn to history — on this occasion, I am prompted by the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Here are a few of the most common questions that I have encountered while teaching the wars of the 20th century over the last twenty years. Read more →

Pearl Harbor Considered

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

Why did Japan attack us 70 years ago today, other than the usually cited existential reasons and the fact that they thought they could and get away with it? Read more →

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