FDR and Pearl Harbor 12-7-09 Letter to Gather.com

A letter to Gather www.gather.com


FDR and Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2009


I was just up at Hyde Park as an invited guest to a reception for the gifting of a long-displaced painting of FDR piloting the sloop Amberjack II to Campobello Island in June of 1933 with the ill-fated cruiser Indianapolis as his escort. This was FDR’s first visit to Campobello since he was stricken with polio in 1921. The painting was done by Arthur Beaumont and though it was intended for him, it was never given to FDR or the library for 75 years. FDR would only return to his old summer home once more. At the reception was Donald Blum, a resident of Scarsdale, NY for 80 plus years. Ensign Blum had been assigned to the Indianapolis, as a newly minted Ensign, only thirteen days before, and he wound up in the Pacific Ocean with hundreds of others for five days after the Indianapolis was sunk by the IJN Navy submarine I-58. I am a collector of cachet naval stamped/franked covers of ships that served before, during and after WWII. I brought up a three displays, one of the Indianapolis and covers (envelopes) that were franked from FDR’s cruise to Rio in 1935, the NY Naval Review of 1934 and other events. I also brought up displays of Arizona covers and one of Ford Island, Oahu and all the major ships anchored there on December 7th, 1941. It was quite interesting to listen to Mr. Blum’s account of that tragedy, the naval cover-up, the attack by the sharks, the death of hundreds of sailors, and his rescue.


Over the last 50 years I have spent many hours reading through my hundreds of books on WWII, FDR and almost all of the events that encompassed FDR’s remarkable life and career. I also host a radio show, The Advocates, and one can access its archives at http://advocates-wvox.com or just google: Richard J. Garfunkel. Many people quote John Flynn, Thomas Fleming, David Wyman, Rafael Medoff and various other FDR haters, who have made a quick buck off their publications. But quoting these folks doesn’t change history or the facts. Nobody has a right to their “own” facts. Literally millions of documents have been poured over by thousands of scholars and FDR’s excellent reputation has survived quite well the test of history. 


The fact the FDR wanted to defeat the Fascists is well-known. The fact that the American First movement, led by the virulent anti-Semite and fraud, Charles Lindbergh, were pro-Nazi or just fools, is today well known. It is also known today that John L. Lewis, the head of the United Mine Workers, and the founder of the CIO, opposed FDR in 1940, and Nazi money was funneled to him during that campaign. I hope your readers are well aware of Lindbergh’s social dalliances and his two families and many illegitimate children. That is not hyperbole or rumor. FDR was thwarted regarding preparedness by foolish people in and out of the US Congress. These individuals would have led us down the road to defeat and domination by the Fascist forces that plagued and pillaged Europe and the Pacific.


As to FDR’s effort in the Atlantic to confront the Kriegsmarine’s (The German Navy) U-Boat menace to our right of “freedom of the seas,” it is well-documented. FDR was a truly heroic visionary who identified the totalitarian threat in his “Quarantine Speech” of 1937 and was excoriated and pilloried for his warnings. His effort to re-arm America and prepare it for war was exemplary. Without that effort the isolationists and their Nazi-fellow travelers would have eventually allowed us to be left alone in our ability to confront the Axis and its massive forces. We would have been destroyed eventually.


The ships at Pearl Harbor were not bait for the Japanese as some claim. Our naval thinkers totally underestimated the skills and technological superiority of the IJN circa 1941. That certainly was not the fault of FDR or the civilian leadership. Superior, larger and more technologically advanced vessels were already in the production “pipeline,” but our naval analysts never understood carrier warfare, even with the British success at Taranto. In fact, throughout WWII our torpedoes were almost an abject failure, and the Japanese “long lance” types were much more successful, reliable and accurate.


Again, to think that FDR would use our ships and men at Pearl Harbor is a blood-libel. We were lucky the ships were at anchor in the shallow waters around Ford Island and that are carriers were off to Wake Island. They were not sent there on purpose, as some have idiotically asserted, to avoid the coming attack, and therefore survive to fight the coming war. That assertion is patently absurd. But many of the assertions from the FDR haters are absurd. What else is new?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *