A Day That Shall Live In Infamy/The Not So Sneak Attack

A DAY THAT SHALL LIVE IN INFAMY

The Not So Sneak Attack

 

In December, 1941 America had bases in Hawaii. They were Pearl Harbor, commanded by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Hickam Field, under the command of Major General Walter C. Short.

On the 7th day of that month, the Japanese conducted a surprise attack on naval and army facilities located at and near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. At least that was what we learned in history class. The attack was real. The surprise part, not so much.

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) produced a documentary about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Living up to such a program’s purpose, they documented what really happened leading to that moment in history.

The documentary provided information indicating Admiral Kimmel and, therefore, General Short were purposefully excluded from receiving critical information that could possibly have prevented or, at least, reduced American loses.

Their information was corroborated by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, who knew Kimmel best. Layton stated that, “Kimmel had not been provided with complete information and that he deployed the few reconnaissance resources at his disposal in the most logical way, given the available information.”

On February 18, 1941, Kimmel wrote to the Chief of Naval Operations: “I feel that a surprise attack (submarine, air or combined) on Pearl Harbor is a possibility and we are taking immediate practical steps to minimize the damage inflicted and to ensure that the attacking force will pay.”

Ten days after the Pearl Harbor attack, Kimmel was relieved of his command. The Roberts Commission, appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to investigate the attack, determined that Kimmel and his counterpart Army General Walter Short were guilty of errors of judgement and dereliction of duty in the events leading up to the attack. Kimmel defended his decisions at several hearings, testifying that important information had not been made available to him.

That commission was designed for fact-finding. There is generally no right to “due process,” right to counsel and cross examination of witnesses. Requests were made for court martial proceedings. They were denied.

Admiral William Harrison Standley, who served as a member of the Roberts Commission, maintained that “those two officers were martyred” and “if they had been brought to trial (court martial) both would have been cleared of the charge.”

The BBC documentary detailed events leading to that attack. The United States, 23 years after the end of World War One, was not interested in becoming involved in another war. In fact, Hitler received support from American businesses including trucks and parts from Henry Ford, Sr. This activity continued until the actual declaration of war.

Winston Churchill was literally pleading with President Roosevelt to help with the war in Europe, especially what he believed to be the impending attack on England. Public pressure was very strong to not get involved. Politically, Roosevelt’s hands were tied.

Several days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a pilot from an American Aircraft Carrier reported seeing the Japanese armada moving in the direction of Pearl Harbor. That report was ignored by most of Washington and withheld from Admiral Kimmel.

President Roosevelt requested that reports of the Japanese fleet movement come to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to him. They were aware of what was going on. That was not the case with Admiral Kimmel or General Short.

As a result of Roberts Commission report and congressional hearings, four star Admiral Kimmel was reduced to two star Rear Admiral. He retired early in 1942 and died on May 24, 1968 at Groton, Connecticut. General Short was reduced in rank form Lieutenant General to Major General. He retired from active duty on February 28, 1942 and died in Dallas, Texas in 1949.

A 1995 Pentagon study concluded other high-ranking officers were also responsible for the failure at Pearl Harbor. On May 25, 1999, the United States Senate, by a vote of 52-47, passed a non-binding resolution to exonerate Kimmel and Short and requested the President of the United States posthumously restore both men to full rank.

“They were denied vital intelligence that was available in Washington,” according to Senator William V. Roth (R-DE), noting they had been made scapegoats by the Pentagon. Senator Strom Thrumond (R-SC), one of the sponsors of the resolution, called Kimmel and Short “the two final victims of Pearl Harbor.”

Robert Stinnett, in his 1999 book, “Day of Deceit” and a World War Two U.S. Navy veteran, also confirms the findings of that BBC documentary. He makes the case that President Roosevelt wanted the Pearl Harbor attack to happen so public opinion would be aroused to support America’s entry into the war and that Kimmel and Short were deliberately kept uninformed or not informed in a timely manner. Stinnett claimed to have information showing that the attacking fleet was detected through radio and intelligence intercepts, but the information was deliberately withheld from the base commanders.

Historians have rejected this assertion. However, the above mentioned documentation supports it.

Interestingly, in a 1964 interview, Admiral Chester Nimitz, who took over as commander of the Pacific Fleet three weeks after the attack, concluded that “it was God’s mercy that our fleet was in Pearl Harbor on December 7th. If Kimmel had advance notice that the Japanese were coming, he most probably would have tried to intercept them. With the difference in speed between Kimmel’s battleships and the faster Japanese carriers, the former could not have come within rifle range of the enemy’s flattops. As a result, we would have lost many ships in deep water and also thousands more in lives.”

Admiral Nimitz, besides making a case in military terms, also corroborates the fact that Admiral Kimmel did not have advance notice that the Japanese were coming.

In his famous speech about “the day of infamy” President Roosevelt announced that America had declared war on Japan and her ally Germany. The American public enthusiastically supported that decision.

All of the above information does not reduce the scope of loss experienced by American forces and families on December 7, 1941. It is meant to help people understand that all is rarely as it seems.

As a personal note, I add that Presidents Clinton, Bush, Jr. and Obama have all refused to act upon that resolution. In my opinion, as brothers in the very small PCIC Fraternity (President, Commander-In-Chief), to do so would be embarrassing to all Presidents and our nation. It would acknowledge the possibility exists that a President or Presidents would actually deceive our nation in a way that costs American lives in order ro involve us in a war.

All of this is an example of the words of America’s greatest philosopher and social conscience, George Carlin. We need to question everything we see, read and hear, even in school. Of course, you should question everything that I write. Always do your own research. The very concept of valid research means it should be done with no preconceived notions or expectations. It is amazing what can be learned that way.

 

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Looking In The Mirror

LOOKING IN THE MIRROR

YES! SIZE DOES COUNT. TIMING TOO.

 

PREFACE

My mother lived until three days before her 104th birthday. For all but about 1 year, she was remarkably healthy and mentally sharp. She could name all the Supreme Court Justices and the presidents who appointed them.

For the last 15 years or so, she would look in the mirror and say, “Where’s Lilly?” “Where did she go?” No matter how remarkably well she was doing, including walking at least one mile every day, weather permitting, the mirror told the truth about her age and appearance.

I admit that I still picture myself as that skinny, young man who met a beautiful, skinny young woman and fell immediately in heat, then love, and married her.

Now being part of the “senior generation”, I am forced to admit that activities I never thought about are no longer possible without help. When I look in the mirror, I think, “Where’s Lenny?” “Where did he go?”

My solution is to avoid looking into the mirror. I can brush my teeth with my eyes closed. I hate a beard, so I still have to shave. I now do it only once or twice a week. For that, I at least need to peek at the mirror.

The point of this is that the mirror doesn’t lie. It has no political affiliation. It has no personal agenda or ingrained prejudice. It simply shows what is.

I hope that what I am writing provides that mirror for our nation’s citizens. Like me, it is natural to not want to look in the mirror, but there are times that it is absolutely necessary. In our nation’s history, now is the time.

 

BACKGROUND

I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1940. When I was 10, my father suddenly died. He was 42. He and our family were not covered by Social Security because, at that time (1950), not all Americans could get coverage. Having heart valve damage from rheumatic fever, he could not get any insurance. He died with literally only change in his pocket. My mother, who had no formal training, had to go to work to support our family (mother, sister and myself).

I had a few health issues and was an angry kid about not having a father when everyone else I knew did. Mom needed someone to help look after me while she was at work and I was home from school. Sister was six years older and went to work as soon as she could to help out.

Enter James Tyson, a man of color from Raleigh, North Carolina, janitor of the apartment building in which we lived. In every way possible, James became my surrogate father. Everything I needed to know as a successful adult I learned from him. They included, being on time, keeping your word, admitting if you made a mistake, doing a good job no matter what it entailed, being respectful and, probably most important of all, that love was color blind.

During the summer months (1951 -1955), I lived with my aunt and uncle in North Little Rock, Arkansas. I had my first tastes of racism. Kroger stores had separate drinking fountains, bathrooms and checkout counters for Whites and Blacks.

I went to stand to give an elderly woman using a cane my seat on a bus. My aunt yanked me down and loudly whispered in my ear, I’ll explain later. She did.

While teaching children with learning disabilities in the Bay Shore, New York school system, I met a man who had an idea of starting an after school recreation program. I thought it was a great idea and the Marion Starks Memorial Youth Program was initiated. Marion Starks had been a local barber who did many good things for the youth of that community.

I will use only the initials SP because I have not gotten his permission to use his full name. He was also a person of color. Interestingly, the only kids who participated in that program were also of color. It was open to everyone. For the first time in my life, I became a glaring member of a minority group, White.

On one occasion, there were rumors of a gang from a neighboring town, Brentwood, coming to start trouble. I called the police but they could not be a presence unless a “clear and present danger” existed. They said to call as soon as gang members showed up. SP and the kids all insisted that I leave. I insisted that they were my family and I would never abandon my family. About 20 kids formed a circle around me. I could not move without being in the center of that circle. When the first gang car showed up, I called the police. In minutes three patrol cars showed up with four officers in each. The incident was quelled almost immediately.

While teaching in Bay Shore, I was asked to run a special program for Mentally Retarded (as they were called then) children in East Harlem, New York. I did that every Saturday and five days per week during the summers. To get to Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals/New York Medical College, I had to drive through Harlem. I also took the kids to St. Mary’s Recreation Center in the Bronx. Those areas looked similar to Berlin at the end of WW2, especially the Bronx.

At one meeting with the parents of those children, I commented to the medical director, Dr. Margaret Gianini, that the parents should save their money, buy gasoline and burn down the neighborhoods. She suggested that I don’t say that to the parents. I took heed of her suggestion.

For those of you who are grossly uninformed, the residents of those neighborhoods DID NOT cause them to deteriorate. Please allow me to elaborate. The owners of those very large apartment buildings (several dozens) came up with a brilliant plan. They would not pay any real estate taxes and would make absolutely no repairs of any kind. They did that for 20 or 30 years, getting away with it because their lawyers were smarter than those who represented the City or possibly payoffs to bureaucratic officials. When the City FINALLY took necessary action, the owners said, you can have the buildings in lieu of the tax dollars we owe you. On paper, since New York is an island, the real estate was very valuable. In reality, the cost of repair or demolition was far too great and the City did what the original owners did, NOTHING. The buildings crumbled, metal of all kinds stolen, window glass removed and, finally, bricks were taken away. People still lived in those buildings because they could not find or afford anywhere else to live.

I became a student of the Second World War after I found out that my uncle, Lenny Rubin, was killed during the landing in Normandy, France. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I even visited his grave in the U.S. Military Cemetery in Normandy. As I walked among the rows and rows of grave sites, I kept repeating, “I am so sorry. We haven’t learned anything.”

 

PURPOSE

The reason for the background is to set the stage for what I really want to write about. Primarily that has to do with racism/oppression.

As I studied about Germany and Hitler and the Holocaust, I often asked myself why the Jews (Gypsies, homosexuals) did not stand up and fight against what was being done to them. I could also not understand why people of color, in the South, did not stand up and fight against the persecution they experienced.

Research and study helped me understand the reasons. In Germany, Jews made up just 0.86% of the total population. That amounted to about 500,000 individuals. There just weren’t enough of them. They also had no access to weapons or income to purchase them if available. There was no strength in numbers and no ability to physically resist. Perhaps they would have been just as well off dying while trying to resist instead of going to the death camps established as the “Final Solution” to the Jewish (Gypsy, homosexual) problems.

In the South, here in America, the only strong organization with weaponry was the KKK. Blacks had no organization ability, no access to guns and no money to purchase them if available. There just weren’t enough members of the Black community to take a stand. The prevailing laws also protected the KKK so it could act with impunity. They did.

CURRENT EVENTS

In the past few months, there has been a resurgence of overt racism. It has become fashionable to express hatred/anger with minorities (Black, Hispanic and Latino, homosexuals). Prior to our recent election process, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated, a Black church fire bombed and a Mosque destroyed. The day after the election, children in a Michigan elementary school chanted, “Build a wall, build a wall, etc.” to Hispanic classmates. A Muslim woman was attacked while in a car with her children saying she didn’t belong here. In Syracuse, New York, a group of pickup trucks, one draped with a Confederate flag drove through an anti-election rally. Locally a sixteen year old Hispanic girl with whom I have indirect connection (through a member of my family) attends high school on the North West side. There were never any issues until Wednesday, November 9th and Thursday, November 10th. When she tried to enter her class, three White boys, stood with arms crossed, preventing her from entering the room. She said to quit messing with her. They said, “try crossing this border and see what happens.” She had no teacher support. Thankfully, there was no school on Friday. She spent the weekend crying, trying to figure out what happened. She said she was the same person she was on Monday and Tuesday. What did she do wrong?  The KKK is planning a celebratory parade in North Carolina. There are planned political attacks on homosexuals.

When “Riots” broke out after the election results were announced, a female member of the prevailing party threatened to sue those who were against the President elect for, essentially, being subversive.

In my previous Blog about Kristallnacht/Crystal Night/Night of Broken Glass, I referred to a report by Hugh Green, correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. “….Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the ‘fun’.”

As it was aware that the German public did not support Kristallnacht, Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister for the Nazi/Fascist  government, directed the German press to portray opponents of racist persecution as disloyal.

Does any of this sound familiar? It should.

According to the Census Bureau, America’s population is 325,002,489, give or take a few thousand depending on deaths and births. The same organization states that 13.2% of those are Black and 17% are Hispanic and Latino. That total comes to 98,150,752. That is a sizable number.

At the same time, our military has trained a few million members of those groups how to handle weapons and kill people. There is also unlimited access to weapons and ammunition of all kinds. There are no background checks required. Even mentally unstable individuals can and have purchased assault type weapons at local and regional gun shows. The economy, overall, is good enough that weapons of choice can be afforded by those who wish to purchase them.

Ever wonder what drove people to go “Postal” at work? Oppression, real, imagined, possibly deserved, can drive an individual to some pretty extreme actions. As we have seen with ISIS and Taliban, it is virtually impossible to defeat an enemy if they don’t care if they die. They even look forward to it.

CONCLUSION

I have looked into our nation’s mirror and see what happened about 80 years ago in another country. However, I realize I am looking at us.

I am concerned that what is happening in America today, is creating a perfect time for a non-civil war (only a fool would call any war civil). The numbers are there. The weapons are available. The only important factor that remains is the belief that dying is better than oppression. Will Christian churches be fire bombed each time a Black church or Mosque receives the same treatment?

If size and timing do matter, we, as Americans, have a great deal to be concerned about. While you are thinking about what I have written, please remember that there are a significant number of millions of White Americans who agree with those being oppressed. The Christian belief of “Turn the other cheek” may soon become the Old Testament philosophy of, “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.”

History has a way of repeating itself if we don’t pay attention to it. The outcomes could be different if the timing is right.

I would love to be wrong about my feelings. I fear I am right. Not history, but current events will determine which road we end up traveling.

As always, I welcome your comments, pro and con, about anything that I have researched and written. The facts are the facts. I make it obvious when I state my opinion. I respect the right of others to have different opinions. That’s because I support ALL Constitutional amendments.

 

 

 

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Kristallnacht/Crystal Night/Night of Broken Glass

KRISTALLNACHT/CRYSTAL NIGHT/ NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS

From Wikipedia, eyewitness accounts and reports from Holocaust survivers

 

While the initial purpose of Kristallnacht was the need of financing for the Nazi Party, there were underlying racial and social hatred. That hatred was expanded to include Gypsies, homosexuals and members/leaders of other religions. The international Evian Conference on July 6, 1938 addressed the issue of Jewish and Gypsy immigration to other countries. The overt expression of that racial and social hatred began in Germany on November 9 -10, 1938. Germany had entered a new radical phase in anti-Semitic activity.

In a 1997 interview, the German historian Hans Mommsen claimed that a major motive for the pogrom (an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group) was a desire to seize Jewish property and businesses. He stated:  The need for money by the party organization stemmed from the fact that Franz Xavier Schwartz, the party treasurer, kept local and regional organizations of the party short of money. In the fall of 1938, the increased pressure on Jewish property nourished the party’s ambition.

As a matter of background, Jews in Germany accounted for only 0.86% of the population. The actual number was approximately 500,000. In the 1920s, most German Jews were fully integrated into German society as German Citizens. They served in the German army and navy and contributed to every field of German business, science and culture. Conditions began to change after the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, and the Enabling Act (March 23, 1933) allowing the assumption of power by Hitler. He quickly introduced anti-Jewish policies. Nazi propaganda singled out Jews and an enemy within, who were responsible for Germany’s defeat in the First World War and for its subsequent economic disasters.

Beginning in 1933, the German government enacted a series of anti-Jewish laws restricting the rights of German Jews to earn a living, to enjoy full citizenship and to gain education. On April 7, 1933, “The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” forbade Jews to work in the civil service.

Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, delivered a speech for Hitler and said, “The Fuhrer has decided that…demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.”

Kristallnacht resulted in the destruction of Jewish homes and hospitals. Schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. Over 1,000 synagogues, some 3 centuries old, were burned and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Tombstones were uprooted and graves violated. Fires were lit and prayer books, scrolls, artwork and philosophy texts were thrown upon them, and precious buildings were either burned or smashed until unrecognizable.

Early reporting estimated that 91 Jewish people were murdered during the attack. Modern analysis by German scholars like Richard J. Evans, puts that number much higher. When deaths from post-arrest maltreatment and subsequent suicides are included, the death toll climbs to the hundreds. Additionally, 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps.

After this, the Jewish community was fined 10 billion reichsmarks. In addition, it cost 40 million marks to repair the windows.

The Daily Telegraph correspondent, Hugh Green, wrote of events in Berlin:  Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the past five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. RACIAL HATRED AND HYSTERIA SEEMED TO HAVE TAKEN COMPLETE HOLD OF OTHERWISE DECENT PEOPLE. I SAW FASHIONABLY DRESSED WOMEN CLAPPING THEIR HANDS AND SCREAMING WITH GLEE, WHILE RESPECTABLE MIDDLE-CLASS MOTHERS HELD UP THEIR BABIES TO SEE THE “FUN.” (Capitalization was this author’s choice).

Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by historians a part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and The Holocaust.

Hermann Goring told a Chief of Police of Reich Main Security Office, Reinhard Heydrich immediately after the events: “I’d rather you guys had done in two-hundred Jews than destroy so many valuable assets!”

There was a meeting for Nazi leadership on November 12, 1938 to plan the next steps after the riot. In the transcript of the meeting, Goring said, “I have received a letter written on the Fuhrer’s orders requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, coordinated and solved one way or another…I should not want to leave any doubt, gentlemen, as to the aim of today’s meeting. We have not come together merely to talk again, but to make decisions, and I implore competent agencies to take all measures for the elimination of the Jew from the German economy, and to submit them to me.”

In 1938, just after Kristallnacht, psychologist Muller-Claudius interviewed 41 randomly selected Nazi Party members on their attitudes toward racial persecution. Of the interviewed party-members 63% expressed extreme indignation against it, while only 5% expressed approval. The rest were noncommittal.

As it was aware that the German public did not support the Kristallnacht, the propaganda ministry directed the German press to portray opponents of racial persecution as disloyal.

There were many indications of Protestant and Catholic disapproval of racial persecution. For example the Catholic Church had already distributed Pastoral letters critical of racial ideology. The Catholic leadership however, just as the various Protestant churches, refrained from responding with organized action. Nevertheless, individuals continued to show courage. For example, a Parson paid medical bills of a Jewish cancer patient and was sentenced to a large fine and several months in prison in 1941. A Catholic nun was sentenced to death in 1945 for helping Jews. A Protestant parson spoke out in 1943 and was sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died a few days later.

Some leading Party officials disagreed with Goebbels’s actions, fearing diplomatic crisis it would provoke. Heinrich Himmler wrote, “I suppose that it is Goebbels’s megalomania…and stupidity which are responsible for starting this operation now, in a particularly difficult diplomatic situation.”

Martin Sasse, Nazi Party member and bishop of the evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, leading member of the Nazi German Christians, published a compendium of Martin Luther’s writings shortly after the Kristallnacht:  Sasse “applauded the burning of the synagogues.”

There were few events in Germany that ever received such worldwide reporting. Most nations cut off diplomatic relations with the German government. The American government recalled their ambassador but continued to have diplomatic and business relationships with Germany until President Roosevelt declared, on December 7, 1941, that we are in a state of war with Japan and their ally Germany.

Kristallnacht changed the nature of persecution from economic, political and social to physical with beatings, incarceration and murder: the event is often referred to as the beginning of the Holocaust. In the words of historian Max Rein in 1988, “Kristallnacht came… and everything was changed.”

Many decades later, association with the Kristallnacht anniversary was cited as the main reason against choosing November 9 as the day the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. A different day was chosen (October 3, 1990) to celebrate German reunification.

On the 40th anniversary in 1978, members of two fraternities at the University of Florida gathered in front of the fraternity house of Tau Epsilon Phi and shouted expressions like, “Fuck the Jews” and “Your mother was bright but she was a lampshade (reference to the fact that human skin was used to make lampshades in German concentration camps).”

Sadly, there are more recent (as in current events) signs of resurgence of racial hatred. This time it is in America, not Germany. Desecration of  Jewish cemeteries, burning of black churches, destruction of Muslim mosques and persecution of homosexuals in spite of their constitutional rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

I write this to prove that knowledge of history is critical if we are to prevent making the same mistakes that have been in the past. Believing we could never be like Fascists and Nazis can only be true if we ignore history and human behavior. To say the least, I am very concerned. If you are also concerned, the time and research were worth it.

 

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