The Road to Pearl Harbor

| December 7, 2022

Imperial Japanese Battle Ensign

Welcome back our very own Veritas Omnia Vincit, Delta Whiskies and Whiskettes. I for one have missed his annoyingly rational and well written screed. ‘Specially when he’s right. Anyway, he’s back from wherever he went to, and he didn’t come empty handed.

Revisionist Historians once again get it wrong.

I’ve seen some pathetic ramblings of late that suggest the US embargo of Japan in July of 1941 gave the Japanese a legitimate reason to attack the United States.

If you bump into one of these people who believe this, do me a favor and set them straight.

The embargo was enacted in 1941 as an attempt to restrain Japanese aggression into China and ultimately the rest of Asia. In 1937 the Japanese invaded China, by December they reached Nanjing and murdered some 200,000 Chinese civilians…the Japanese negotiated with the US but refused to leave China. The embargo was enacted as a result of the failure of those negotiations. The Japanese then decided they would wipe out the US fleet and force the US to a peace treaty because the fleet protecting the west coast and Pacific possessions would be gone.

We in the US are far from perfect in our history and our present, but I’m fucking tired of apologists for murderous regimes trying to paint every historical component of our past to some nefarious US plot to destroy the world.

The Japanese made their choices in the late 30s we reacted to their choices and then the Japanese made other choices. None of that is the fault of the United States. The Japanese are entirely responsible for deciding to enlarge the conflict from China to the US. The Japanese signed with Italy and Germany prior to the embargo, they signed a non-aggression pact with Russia as well the US reacting to those moves by Japan is not justification for Japan’s murder of Chinese civilians or for Japan’s surprise attack of US military personnel on December 7th, 1941. It might be an explanation, but Japan’s initial decisions to invade their neighbor was the triggering event for all that happened over the next eight years.

There are of course definitive histories out there that anyone can read, but here’s a link to a basic timeline that effectively covers the reality of the events as they transpired.

History Milestones

Thanks, and again welcome back.

Category: Guest Post, Historical, Op-Ed, We Remember, WWII

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

We in the US are far from perfect in our history and our present, but I’m fucking tired of apologists for murderous regimes trying to paint every historical component of our past to some nefarious US plot to destroy the world.

{incessantly fevered clapping}

That being said, we can strive to be better.

Cheers Ladies and Gents, to American progress!


Thank you for this post. I was trying to word something like yours but, I could not do better. I am sick and tired of our nation always being painted with the broad brushes of aggressors, colonialists, and instigators for every gripe, of every minority group, and leftists, in general, may have. Don’t like it here, don’t like the country you live in, get a passport and go someplace else and when you get there, fuck off.

Dennis - not chevy

I agree; however may I add the Army and the Navy should been better prepared.
An embargo is an act of war, that is, one country forcing another to do its will. An embargo should come with an expiration date. “The government of ____ will not do business with the country of _____ until it stops doing whatever it is that caused this embargo. If the country of ____ doesn’t stop by ____ date, a state of war will exist between the countries.” An embargo without an end date leads to a fait accompli, see the US vs Cuba for an example. If one doesn’t prepare for war, one doesn’t want to place an embargo.
I also agree, “The Japanese started this war, we’re going to finish it”.


Chicoms may only see immediate historical precedent unfortunately.
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
USMC Steve

It was nothing that water cooled M1917 Brownings could not handle.

Anna Puma

Because of the war in Europe, Congress enacted the Draft and authorized the construction of a two ocean navy. Aircraft production was also ramping up to supply France and England. American production was spinning up when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

The strike at Pearl was an attempt to force America to the negotiating table before the torrent of ships already laid down hit water. A fait accompli as it were. North Carolina class battleships, Hornet, Atlanta class light cruisers, Fletcher class destroyers all started appearing in 1941. Essex was already being built.

Yamamoto gambled on a long shot and lost.


I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure an embargo in and of itself is not necessarily an act of war. It’s pretty much just a form of sanctions against a country, in this case cutting off oil and steel from Japan. A blockade, however, can be an act of war, similar to the Cuban Missile crisis you reference.

I don’t have my textbooks near me so I could be wrong, but I don’t think all embargoes are necessarily considered acts of war.


“…do me a favor and stop them from stealing oxygen.” There! FIFY

Spot on VOV. No secret about my disgust of revisionist and untaught history around here.

Good to have you back.


Gee, it’s almost like those America-bashers wanted it to happen again or something…

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Thank’s Ed and VOV
I didn’t see anything about Pearl posts earlier but we have them now….My Dad joined the Army back in 1940 and he was dating his girl friend whom turned out to be my Mom and on Dec 7th, he was on a date in the movie theater and his dates Dad came into the movie theater and told Dad the bad news and Dad had to return to his base…


Dang it!

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
Veritas Omnia Vincit

A truly classic scene that I always enjoy…

Anna Puma

December 7 1942, what a sea change.

American and Australian forces were turning the turkey’s back of New Guinea into a graveyard of Imperial ambition and soldiers.

Guadalcanal was now firmly in American hands though it was desperate fighting on more than one occasion and it would be several more months before Japan finally admitted to reality.

Meanwhile in North Africa, Commonwealth and American forces were pushing the Desert Fox into a smaller and smaller sandbox.


What if….

What if Imperial Japan had sent a formal no- nonsense declaration of war, and been lurking the same fleet just off Hawaii, and then let us “discover” a pair of carriers, perhaps “showing a speed reducing engineering casualty?

Our fleet sorties, and runs smack into theirs.

Almost none of our torpedoes work.

Most of our pilots are minimally trained, lack combat experience, and are flying outclassed models or even obsolete junk.

We do not have our shit together. We also are arrogantly chald-convinced they are not a serious threat.

Realistivly, we get our ass kicked, hard. Then perhaps they hit Pearl Harbor as a Parthian Shot on the way home.

We refloated almost all the sunk ships at Pearl. In an ocean battle, they are sunk and lost.


Most of the crews of ships sunk at Pearl survived, swimming to shore in many cases, plucked up by numerous small craft otherwise. Sunk at sea, most crews would perish.

The pilots at Pearl mostly survived, their planes wrecked before the pilots were even ouf bed. Shot down at sea, most are fish food.

A post-battle airstrike against Pearl Harbor would lack ships as targets, leaving the IJN pilots free to wreck the fueling facilities, tank farms, repair shops, and drydocks. Needing no torpedoes, they would have dropped at least 2x the bomb load. The facilities would have been trashed, badly, even with a single reduced size strike.


In other words, by playing by the rules, the IJN may well have stuck the bat up our ass as bad as we did to them at Midway, plus wrecked the harbor facilities, forcing the remains of Navy back to California.

Lacking the carriers, we can’t save anything west of Hawaii. We either concede the Pacific west of Hawaii to Japan, or conceded Europe to the Reich.

The other one builds nukes and jets in time to match the USA, maybe even first.


Typo. The one we don’t fight builds jets and nukes.

Anna Puma

There was supposed to be a third strike at all the support structure. But American defenses were kicking in when the second wave arrived and Nagumo figured he had achieved all his objectives. So sailed home.

It would have starved the US Pacific Fleet back to the West Coast and added at least six months to the war.

Anna Puma

IIRC in Edwin Hoyt’s book on Nimitz and his admirals, Chester Nimitz gave thanks for the ships being in port because as you said at sea there would be no recovery. Only Utah, Arizona, and Oklahoma would not be returned to duty.

As for aircraft you go to war with what you got. In 1936 the TBD was cutting edge, five years later it wasn’t and the TBF would first fly in December 1941. The Pacific carriers got the newer equipment first while as late as February 1942 Hornet’s air group still had Curtis SBC Helldiver biplanes.

Pre-war US naval aviation, the officer spent a year or so with the fleet before going to Pensacola. It was a small community with only six carriers and air groups before Hornet completed. And only with Hornet do we see the start of the rapid expansion of naval airpower as she had two torpedo squadrons, Waldron had the TBDs and Fiberling trained with the TBF. Both would meet disaster at Midway, between the 21 planes launched only 1 shot up TBF would return.


The story has been entered into the conversation, Connecticut’s own, Joseph McDonald:

For a very long time, McDonald’s story was kept secret. He says he was initially told by the military not to speak about it. Today, though, there are books and even movies that portray his role in attempting to defend Pearl Harbor. (local write up here)

I hope that we’ve learned that sometimes, even if rarely, our joes can be correct.

May you Rest Easy, Sir.


Actually… the United States started the war with Japan some 80 years previous to December 7th when they attacked a country which was minding its own business. The Japanese realized they would have to get big or get eaten up entirely. And so …

The be a little fair, I suppose, if the self-righteous Admiral Perry hadn’t done it first, Britain, Spain, or any number of world powers would have eventually gotten it done.


‘Attacked’ might be more than a slight exaggeration.

… and if the Pearl Harbor attack occurred today, it would probably be described by the MSM as a mostly peaceful fly-by.

Skivvy Stacker

And how the “incidental release of some errant bombs” effected minorities on the ships, and caused the closing of businesses owned by women.


Never forget Pearl harbor while we drive away in our Nakajimas..I mean Subarus