Biography of Adm James Richardson

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Biography of Adm James Richardson

Post by Dougcp4 »

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This book has revealed a different story about the Pearl Harbor disaster, to what I was taught in school
and what I have seen in documentaries. Prior to Admiral Kimmel, the US Navy Pacific Fleet, was
commanded by Admiral James Richardson, when it was first deployed to Pearl Harbor, from
the fleet's normal base of San Diego. Richardson protested this move, for many different reasons.

One of Richardson's reasons was vulnerability to aircraft attack, which could come from any direction.
Another was the narrow channel to the harbor, that could be pluged, if a ship sunk in the channel.
This situation would trap all ships in the harbor and prevent the use of the naval base, to resupply
and repair USN ships. Without our main Pacific base, it would be hard to defend and supply our other
Pacific bases, like Guam and Wake Island and our Asiatic Fleet.

Richardson went twice to Washington, to discuss this with the Navy brass and the President Roosevelt.
After the second meeting, Richardson was essentially fired, for complaining about problems with the fleet
being at Pearl.

Next the Pacific fleet command, was offered to Adm Nimitz, who turned it down. Nimitz's son, Chester
Nimitz jr (a WW2 sub captain & later also an admiral), said during a 1996 History Channel interview, that his
father foresaw a possible attack, by the Japanese and didn't want to be in command when it happened.

It just sounds to me like, many people were able to see the vulnerability of Pearl Harbor and tried to
warn FDR about it. However, FDR was busy getting reelected and other political matters. In 1940 FDR
would tell audiences, he would only go to war if the US was attacked. Moving the fleet to a safer place
might make FDR & the US, look weak or scared and hurt his reelection chances. So, political concerns
took precedence over our defensive strategy and sound military judgement.

In this biography about Adm James Richardson (by Skipper Steely), Pearl Harbor Countdown. Richardson
wrote down his judgement about the Japanese & the mistakes made by FDR and his civilian staff (pg 363):

1. The President & the Secetary of State viewed the Japanese through
rose-colored glasses, when they did not actully misread their intentions.

2. The President consistently overestimated his ability to contol the actions
of other nations whose interests oppesed our own.

3. The President's responsibilty for our initial defeats in the Pacific was
direct, real and personal.

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