Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What caused Pearl Harbor? Flappers and jazz.

Victor Davis Hanson, National Review's "classical historian" in residence, idly speculates why Admiral Yammamoto planned the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor:
But it may be just as likely that Yamamoto’s earlier years in the United States, at Harvard in particular, rather than convincing him of the futility of attacking such an industrial colossus had encouraged his prejudices that Western society, especially in its Roaring Twenties excesses, was decadent and lacked the martial steel for an eventual war with the Japanese.
Now, there's no reason to actually produce any evidence in support of this theory, but it's fun to play with. "Of course we can beat the Americans! With General Jay Gatsby misguidedly leading the troops, there's no way we can't win! Twenty-three skidoo indeed! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Of course, it might just be that Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because the Japanese wanted to expand their control over Pacific island resources, and the American fleet stood in the way. You don't have to have contempt for your rival's character to want what he's keeping from you. It helps, but it's not a requirement. Without offering any evidence to support his argument, it sure appears that Hanson is engaging in an age-old "blame America" argument.

I know: I'm the one who wrote earlier today that we need to let Pearl Harbor not be such an urgent memory. But we're obviously going to remember it still. It would be nice if we didn't mis-remember it in order to make political arguments about our present-day policy.

1 comment:

namefromthepast said...

Mis-representing and rewriting history is cornerstone to modern political strategy.

I agree it would be nice not to have it happen but c'mon man.