Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack
Throughout 1941, as diplomacy with Japan reached a dead end, Husband Kimmel, commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, was routinely warned of a possible Japanese surprise attack in lieu of, or at least in conjunction with, an official declaration of war. How then, in a climate of impending hostilities, was the American navy blind to a Japanese fleet that managed to stealthily sail thousands of miles of open Pacific ocean to Hawaii undetected? Seeking to understand rather than to blame, what Steve Twomey’s Countdown to Pearl Harbor finds in the days and months leading up to the attack is an acute failure of communication.
Finding fault with the actions of officers up and down the chain of command, Mr. Twomey nonetheless refrains from vilifying any of the main actors in his narrative, and no one officer is singled out as the scapegoat. Describing confusion between Kimmel and Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, about the state of Japanese-American diplomacy, he writes: “‘He might have asked me for a clarification,’ said Stark, who might have provided one of his own.” The American navy was sunk as much by its own assumptions and miscommunications as it was by Japanese torpedoes.
|Simon & Schuster
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