Patton Warns of Pearl Harbor Attack
(December 7, 2010)
|ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Dec. 6, 2010) - While
many Americans know Dec. 7 as the 69th anniversary of the
attack on Pearl Harbor, few are familiar with the role Gen.
George Patton played in foreshadowing it.|
Maj. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. (center) studies a map during World War II with General Lesley J. McNair (left), chief of staff of General Headquarters and later commanding general of U.S. Army Ground Forces.
U.S. Army photo
The Japanese Empire had been on the move in the Orient since
its defeat of Russia in 1904 at Port Arthur, Manchuria. Next
came the conquest of Korea, to be followed in World War I by
the annexation of most of the German colonies in the Pacific
(the Carolines, Gilberts, Marianas island groups, plus the
German colony on the Chinese coast at Tsaingtao).
The Japanese urge to expand their empire throughout the
Orient had been written about by such Americans as Homer Lea
and Jack London prior to World War I and most notably by
Gen. Billy Mitchell in the mid 1920s.
Then in 1931 Japan openly invaded Manchuria to claim its
rich natural resources. This was followed in July 1937 by
the infamous Marco Polo Bridge Incident which instigated the
Second Sino-Japanese War.
Then came attacks on Shanghai and Nanking and finally the
air attack on the American gunboat, USS Panay. This latter
act of aggression was filmed by cameramen onboard the Panay
and on the river bank, both openly showing Japanese aircraft
attacking the Panay with the American flag flying. |
It was at this latter time period that Patton was the
intelligence officer of the Hawaiian Division, as it was
then known. In his 1937 report dated June 3, he wrote the
This study is based on the inescapable assumption that
complete surprise offers the greatest opportunity for the
successful capture of these islands.
Some of the Mandate Islands [noted
above as the Carolines, Gilberts and Marianas], about
which absolutely nothing is known, are only 2,500 miles
distant, seven days' steaming over the loneliest sea
lanes in the world. Who can say that an expeditionary
force is not in these islands now
Since becoming modernized, Japan has
never declared war.
To facilitate the capture and
occupation of an advance base, the air and submarine
forces on Oahu must be destroyed or neutralized.
A consideration of the foregoing
impels the thought that when and if circumstances impel
Japan to attempt the capture of these islands, the
following method of procedure on her part is fraught
with the gravest danger to us.
The unheralded arrival during a
period of profound peace of a Japanese expeditionary
force within 200 miles of Oahu during darkness. This
force to be proceeded by submarines [that] will be
in the immediate vicinity of Pearl Harbor.
- The vital necessity to Japan of a short war and of
the possession at its termination of land areas for
bargaining purposes may impel her to take drastic
measures. It is the duty of the military forces to
prepare against the worst possible eventualities.
As Patton would write so often during his illustrious career: ''To be a successful Soldier you must know history."
By Kim Holien, Historian
Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, VA
Army News Service
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