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Admiral Husband E. Kimmel - Scapegoat for Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by robycop3, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Adm. Husband E. Kimmel(1882-1968) was unjustly made the main scapegoat for Pearl Harbor's unreadiness for the Japanese attack by some other high-ranking USN officers trying to "cover their own backsides" after the attack.

    He was acting on the intel that was provided to him, which was pointing to an attack on Malaya & the Philippines. But he does share a little guilt, as war games showed PH was vulnerable to attack from the north, which was exactly what the Japanese did. As Pacific Fleet Commander, knowing the war games results, he should've had more aerial recon of the area north of Hawaii, but otherwise he was NOT at fault because the base was not prepared.

    Kimmel's predecessor, Adm. James Richardson, was the USA's foremost authority on Japanese naval warfare before the war. He strongly protested the fleet's being moved from Sandiego to PH, & was fired by FDR over that,as it was believed by the politicians that move would deter Japan from attacking US or British holdings in the Pacific. (The PH attack confirmed Richardson's concerns over the move, but FDR & Naval Secy. Knox wouldn't admit it !)

    According to the info available to him, Kimmel believed sabotage was the greatest danger to the fleet, & deployed in the harbor accordingly.

    FDR relieved Kimmel 10 days after the attack & appointed Nimitz in his place. The "Roberts Commission," appointed by FDR shortly afterward, found Kimmel & found & Gen. walter Short, the Air Commander of the Hawaii air defense guilty of lack of preparedness & derelection of duty. To this day, Kimmel's family has been trying to have him exonerated.

    There was a telegram sent out shortly before the attack, but, due to SNAFUs in communication, it didn't reach Kimmel til after the attack.

    However, Nimitz, who liked Kimmel, concluded it was fortuttious that he wasn't forewarned, as he would certainly sent the fleet out to intercept the Japanese, & that the fleet would've been sunk in short order by the much-superior enemy, & the ships would've been lost, with a much-greater loss of life. As it was, 6 out of 8 ships sunk at PH were repaired & later saw action. Most of the deaths at PH were caused by explosions, & most of the surviving crews were rescued or swam ashore.

    And most of the aircraft destroyed on the ground were obsolete types that would've stood no chance against a Zero. This led to their being replaced with more-modern planes.

    Conclusion: While Kimmel wasn't entirely-blameless for the surprise attack, he was only one of a good number of guilty parties. These included all the top Navy command, the intelligence community, & Chiefs of Staff who also believed the Japanese would attack the Philippines, Malaya, Wake, or other far-off islands first. Also, many minor personnel were guilty of not passing on warning signs in a timely manner. NO ONE PERSON WAS THE MAIN CULPRIT ! The Japanese deception in covering up their intended target worked superbly !
     
  2. carpro

    carpro Well-Known Member
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    Main one , yes. But he wasn't the only one..

    Most of the real culprits were in DC, and untouchable.

    Starting with the guy in the oval office.
     
  3. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    They had to blame someone, to "cover their own backsides" & Adm. Kimmel & Gen. Short were handy, as they were the base commanders.

    As Air Commander for Hawaiian operations, Short, also believing sabotage to be the main danger, had the aircraft removed from their hangars & parked close together. Thus, they were easy targets for the enemy to bomb & strafe. (Nothing more helpless than an airplane on the ground ! -Gen. Mac Arthur)

    Again, fortuitious that the obsolete Brewster Buffaloes & other flying coffins were destroyed while empty; they were replaced with modern planes.
     
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