2. Estimate upon which action was based.
3. Relationship of Commander in Hawaii.
II. GROUPING OF CONCLUSIONS:
1. Pearl Harbor Attack.
a. Attack a surprise.
b. Two primary causes.
1. Secretary of State.
2. Chief of Staff.
3. War Plans division.
4. Hawaiian Department.
As prelude to the citation of conclusions the following is pertinent:
1. SCOPE: Attention is called to the fact that the record developed by
the investigation of this Board contains a great amount of evidence,
both oral and documentary, relating to incidents and issues about which
no conclusions are drawn. Evidence was introduced on these so that
anything which might have had a bearing on the Pearl Harbor disaster
would be fully explored. The Board considered that its mission implied
the revealing of all pertinent facts to the end that charges of
concealment would be fully met. In formulating its conclusions the Board
has selected for treatment only those things which it considers material
for a clear understanding of the events which collectively caused the
Pearl Harbor disaster. The full report of the Board discusses and
analyses the testimony in its entirety and must be read for a clear
understanding of the history of the Pearl Harbor attack.
2. ESTIMATES UPON WHICH ACTION WAS BASED: The responsible officers in
the War Department and in the Hawaiian Department, without exception, so
far as this Board has been able to determine, estimated by facts which
then seemed to impel the conclusion that initially the impending was
would be confined to the land and seas lying south of the Japanese
homeland, as forces of the Japanese Army and Navy were concentrating and
moving in that direction. British and Dutch forces were being organized
and made ready to move in opposition. The Philippine Islands which were
in this theater constituted a threat to the flank of the Japanese force
if the United States should enter the war. Supplies and reinforcements
were being rushed to the Philippines. There was complete ignorance of
the existence of the task force which attacked Pearl Harbor.
Intelligent officers in high places made the estimate and reached the
conclusions in the light of these known facts. They followed a sane
line of reasoning. These statements are in explanation, not
The estimate was in error. The procedure in arriving at it was faulty,
because it emphasized Japanese probabilities to the exclusion of their
capabilities. Nevertheless, the thinking of these officers was colored
and dominated by this estimate and their acts were similarly influenced.
3. RELATIONSHIP OF COMMANDERS IN HAWAII: The relations between General
Short and Admiral Kimmel and Admiral Bloch, the commanders of the Army
and Navy forces in Hawaii, were very cordial. They were making earnest
and honest efforts to implement the plans which would result in the two
services operating as a unit in an emergency. These highly desirable
ends had not been accomplished at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.
4. INTERCHANGE OF INFORMATION -- STATE AND WAR DEPARTMENT: The Board
was impressed with the apparent complete interchange of information
between the State Department and the War Department. As a result the
War Department was kept in close touch with international developments
and the State Department knew of the Army's progress and its
preparations for war.
II. GROUPING OF CONCLUSIONS
The conclusions group themselves logically in two divisions: the Pearl
Harbor attack, and operations of the Engineers in Hawaii. We shall
consider these in the order stated.
1. PEARL HARBOR ATTACK:
a. The attack on the Territory of Hawaii was a surprise to all
concerned: the nation, the War Department, and the Hawaiian Department.
It was daring, well-conceived and well-executed, and it caught the
defending forces practically unprepared to meet it or to minimize its
b. The extent of the Pearl Harbor disaster was due primarily to two
1. The failure of the Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department
adequately to alert his command for war, and
2. The failure of the War Department, with knowledge of the type of
alert taken by the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, to direct
him to take an adequate alert, and the failure to keep him adequately
informed as the developments of the United States-Japanese negotiations,
which in turn might have caused him to change from the inadequate alert
to an adequate one.
c. We turn now to responsibilities:
1. The Secretary of State -- the Honorable Cordell Hull. The action of
the Secretary of State in delivering the counter-proposals of November
26, 1941, was used by the Japanese as the signal to begin the war by the
on Pearl Harbor. To the extent that it hastened such attack it was in
conflict with the efforts of the War and Navy Department to gain time
for preparations for war. However, war with Japan was inevitable and
imminent because of irreconcilable disagreements between the Japanese
Empire and the American Government.
2. The Chief of Staff of the Army. General George C. Marshall, failed
in his relations with the Hawaiian Department in the following
(a) To keep the Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department fully
advised of the growing tenseness of the Japanese situation which
indicated an increasing necessity for better preparation for war, of
which information he had an abundance and Short had little.
(b) To send additional instructions to the Commanding General of the
Hawaiian Department on November 28, 1941, when evidently he failed to
realize the import of General Short's reply of November 27th, which
indicated clearly that General Short had misunderstood and misconstrued
the message of November 27 (472) and had not adequately alerted his
command for war.
(c) To get to General Short on the evening of December 6th and the
early morning of December 7th, the critical information indicating an
almost immediate break with Japan, though there was ample time to have
(d) To investigate and determine the state of readiness of the Hawaiian
Command between November 27 and December 7, 1941, despite the impending
threat of war.
3. Chief of the War Plans Division, War Department General Staff, Major
General Leonard T. Gerow, failed in his duties in the following
(a) To keep the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, adequately
informed on the impending war situation by making available to him the
substance of the data being delivered to the War Plans Division by the
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2.
(b) To send to the Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department on
November 27, 1941, a clear, concise directive; on the contrary he
approved the message of November 27, 1941, (472) which contained
(c) To realize that the state of readiness reported in Short's reply to
the November 27th message was not a state of readiness for war, and he
failed to take corrective action.
(d) To take the required steps to implement the existing joint plans and
agreements between the Army and Navy to insure the functioning of the
two services in the manner contemplated.
4. Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department, Lieutenant General
Walter C. Short, failed in his duties in the following particulars:
(a) To place his command in a state of readiness for war in the face of
a war warning by adopting an alert against sabotage only. The
information which he had was incomplete and confusing but it was
sufficient to warn him of the tense relations between our government and
the Japanese Empire and that hostilities might be momentarily expected.
This required that he guard against surprise to the extent possible and
make ready his command so that it might be employed to the maximum and
in time against the worst form of attack that the enemy might launch.
(b) To reach or attempt to reach an agreement with the Admiral
commanding the Pacific Fleet and the Admiral commanding the 14th Naval
District for implementing the joint Army and Navy plans and agreements
then in existence which provided for joint action by the two services.
One of the methods by which they might have become operative was through
the joint agreement of the responsible commanders.
(c) To inform himself of the effectiveness of the long-distance
reconnaissance being conducted by the Navy.
(d) To replace inefficient staff officers.
Page 304 (Pages 301-303 not provided)
Lieut. General, U.S. Army.
Henry D. Russell
Major General, U.S. Army.
Walter H. Frank
Major General, U.S. Army.
20 October 1944.
Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, email@example.com. Created: 12/12/96 Updated: 12/12/96