Robert Stinnett closes his excellent summary article on Pearl Harbor historiography with these words: “Though the Freedom of Information Act freed the foreknowledge documents from the secretive vaults to the sunlight of the National Archives in 1995, a cottage industry continues to cover up America’s foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor.” Cottage industry, indeed! This cottage industry is the entire professional guild of salaried historians.
Pearl Harbor’s Establishment historiography remains as secure in its tenured cocoon as it was when I began college in 1959. American history textbooks are as free from the truth about Roosevelt’s deliberate provocation of Japan, and his advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor, as they were in 1943. Mr. Stinnett does not have a Ph.D., nor is he employed as a history instructor. He was therefore in a position to tell the truth. This was equally true of journalist George Morgenstern, whose 1947 book on Pearl Harbor was the first to put the story together in one detailed volume. The historical guild paid no attention to Morgenstern. We shall see if it pays attention to Stinnett. I strongly doubt that the reception will be either favorable or widespread.
A week ago, I sent a letter to a group of my subscribers. It provided background on the issues raised by Mr. Stinnett. I made this point, in the context of how intellectual guilds operate. They adopt a three-phase position on a controversial new idea.
- The story isn’t true.
- The story is true, but so what?
- We always knew it was true.
I then illustrated this with the historiography of Pearl Harbor. Here is what I wrote.by