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Fuchida's planes were then twenty minutes north of Oahu. Still en route when the attack commenced, the messenger reached Fort Shafter only after Fuchida's planes had wreaked their destruction. That communications delay was not the only missed opportunity to spoil the Japanese surprise. As Fuchida's attackers formed up over their carriers, just before A. But the destroyer's report of this contact was discounted as another in a series of frustratingly unconfirmed submarine sightings, and set aside for further verification.
Minutes after the submarine contact, an Army radar operator on northern Oahu reported an unusually large flight of incoming aircraft. They were, in fact, Fuchida's first wave, still nearly an hour away, but the operator's superior officer irresponsibly intuited that the blips on the screen represented a flight of B "Flying Fortresses" being ferried in from California to Hickam Field. The officer was brought to this tragic miscalculation at least in part by his recollection that radio station KGMB had been broadcasting all night—a programming schedule that almost invariably meant Bs were arriving from the mainland, their navigators using the station's beam as a homing signal.
Fuchida's pilot was meanwhile using that same beam, carrying saccharine Hawaiian tunes, to guide him to Oahu. When Fuchida sighted land from his lead bomber, at about , he gave the order to assume attack positions.
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Below the warplanes the American ships and aircraft lay serenely unsuspecting and virtually undefended, exactly as described by the espionage reports from Japan's Honolulu consulate. For more than an hour bombs and bullets pelted down on the unmaneuverable American battleships, mostly moored in pairs in "Battleship Row," off Ford Island, and on the unflyable American airplanes, parked wingtip-to-wingtip at Bellows, Wheeler, and Hickam Fields so that they could be guarded against land-based sabotage.
When the last Japanese plane winged away, at about A. More than aircraft were destroyed, and at least disabled. The dead numbered 2,—1, of them entombed in the battleship Arizona, which sank rapidly after a bomb exploded in its forward magazine. Another 1, men were wounded. Columns of smoke obscured Fuchida's final reconnaissance as he departed for the Akagi, but he knew beyond question that his airmen had triumphantly accomplished their mission. Incredibly, and unforgivably, he made no use of the next nine hours to mount a counterattack against Japanese positions on Formosa Taiwan , as his air commander urged, or even to launch or disperse his own aircraft.
They were caught bunched on the ground—"On the ground! On the ground! Within minutes MacArthur's force of some three dozen B bombers, on which he had obstreperously premised his claim to be able to defend the Philippines indefinitely, was severely damaged. When the Japanese began landing troops on the principal Philippine island of Luzon, on December 22, MacArthur speedily jettisoned his always dubious scheme to repel the invaders on the beaches and on the central Luzon plain, and began gathering men and supplies for a retreat into the Bataan Peninsula and the island fortress of Corregidor, where he set up his command post.
MacArthur, sometimes accused of being a legend in his own mind, soon earned himself the derogatory nickname "Dugout Doug," bestowed on him by his suffering troops on Bataan while he sat in the relative comfort of Corregidor, only once making the brief torpedo-boat run across to the peninsula to hearten his men. They sorely needed heartening. The swift retreat into the peninsula of more than 70, American and Filipino troops and another 26, civilian refugees left them all wretchedly undersupplied.
Lacking fresh food, medicines, clean drinking water, and sanitary facilities, thousands fell victim to scurvy, beriberi, malaria, and dysentery. Knowing that the Philippine garrison was doomed, Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to depart for Australia. On the night of March 12 the general and his family and personal staff were evacuated from Corregidor in four PT boats, leaving General Jonathan M.
Wainwright in command. With characteristic self-regard and uncharacteristic lack of orotundity, MacArthur announced, "I shall return. The medal was small comfort for the masses of sick soldiers and civilians left behind in the Philippines. Though MacArthur fulminated by radio from his new base in Australia that his troops should break out of Bataan and take to the mountains as guerrillas, Wainwright knew the notion was fatuous.
The Bataan contingent surrendered on April 9, and on May 6 an emaciated Wainwright, hopelessly holed up in Corregidor's putrescent Malinta Tunnel, tortured by the resonant moaning of thousands of ill and wounded men crammed into the dank thousand-foot-long shaft, finally capitulated.
In his diary Dwight D.
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Eisenhower took note of these events: "Corregidor surrendered last night. Poor Wainwright! He did the fighting Davis] and I so often listened in Manila, would now sound as silly to the public as they then did to us. But he's a hero! More than a year later, after three American survivors escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp on Mindanao, made their way to Australia, and told the story, the world learned of the cruel episode that then ensued.
There were some extenuating circumstances, but these were scarcely sufficient to exonerate the Japanese from the indictment that they behaved with wanton barbarity. The Japanese had planned on bagging some 40, prisoners of war in the Philippines sometime in the summer of Instead they found themselves with nearly 70, captives on their hands in April and May, 10, of them Americans, all of them suffering from months of siege and illness, as were the Japanese themselves.
These logistical and medical problems only exacerbated a more fundamental clash of cultures. Japanese military leaders had adopted the ancient samurai ethos of Bushido to develop a military code that engendered what two scholars have described as "a range of mental attitudes that bordered on psychopathy," including the notion of "surrender as the ultimate dishonor, a belief whose corollary was total contempt for the captive.
Japanese guards denied water to parched prisoners, clubbed and bayoneted stragglers, and subjected all the captives to countless humiliations and agonies. Some Americans and as many as 10, Filipinos died along the route of the march. Thousands more perished in the filthy camps. This death march presaged the pitiless inhumanity that came to possess both sides in the ensuing three and a half years of war in the Pacific. Pacific Fleet. But battleships were the capital weapons of the previous war.
In the war that was now so bloodily begun, aircraft carriers would be trumps, and no U. Pacific Fleet carriers had been at Pearl Harbor on December 7.
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The Yorktown had been detached in April for duty in the Atlantic. The Saratoga was stateside for repairs.
Fuchida's raiders had also failed to damage Pearl Harbor's repair shops. More important still, they had left intact the enormous fuel-oil tank farm. Loss of that fuel supply, every drop of it laboriously hauled from the American mainland, would probably have forced the U. Navy to retreat to its bases on the West Coast, at a stroke sweeping the western Pacific of American ships more cleanly than any other imaginable action. But Nagumo rejected suggestions that he undertake a second strike, against the repair and fuel facilities, or linger in the area to search for the missing carriers.
He seemed paralyzed by the very ease of his victory. He had lost but twenty-nine aircraft, and his fleet remained unsighted. In the historian Gordon Prange's apt words, he must have felt "as if he had rushed forward to break down a door just as someone opened it. Yet his failure to return for the final, definitive kill risked eventual defeat. For his part, Adolf Hitler made less than optimal use of the Pearl Harbor attack. Though the strict terms of their alliance with Japan did not require it, since Japan had been the attacker, not the attacked, Hitler and Mussolini on December 11 somewhat impetuously declared war on the United States, which then recognized a state of war with Germany and Italy.
Hitler here missed an opportunity to work incalculable mischief with the American commitment to give precedence to the European war. In the absence of such a declaration Roosevelt might well have found it impossible to resist demands to undertake the maximum U.
This was precisely Churchill's worry, and it was not easily laid to rest. Well after the German declaration of war Roosevelt came under stubborn pressure to give priority to the fight against Japan. Pressure came from the Navy, which always took the Pacific war to be its special province, and from public opinion, infected by a legacy of racial animosity and inflamed by the humiliation of the Pearl Harbor attack.
The string of relatively easy Japanese victories in the first four months of the war provoked a heated debate among Japanese military planners about what their next step should be.
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The success and momentum of the Southern Operation seemed to dictate one answer: consolidation and buildup of the bases tenuously established in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, followed by further advances into New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, and perhaps eventually Australia. But Yamamoto put the full weight of his authority behind a contrary plan. Finish the job begun at Pearl Harbor, he urged, by seizing Midway Island, some 1, miles west of Hawaii. Politically, Midway in Japanese hands would menace Hawaii with the threat of invasion, providing a potent bargaining chip with which to force the Americans to negotiate a settlement.