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Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy

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This book by the world expert on Pearl Harbor blows the top off a seventy-year cover up, reporting for the first time on long-suppressed interviews, documents, and corroborated evidence.
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A president faced an economic depression that wouldn't go away, and a deeply disgruntled electorate. Not for the first or last time, the option of entering a war seemed politically appealing. How badly did FDR want a war and to what lengths was he willing to go to get one? The questions have vexed historians for many decades.

Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy by Percy Greaves, Jr. (1906-1984), published for the first time in 2010, blows the top off a 70-year cover-up, reporting for the first time on long-suppressed interviews, documents, and corroborated evidence.

The first section (the seeds) provides a detailed history of pre-war U.S.-Japan relations, thoroughly documenting the sources of rising tension. The second section (the fruits) shows that the attack on December 7, 1941 was neither unexpected nor unprovoked. Nor was it the reason that Franklin Roosevelt declared a war that resulted in massive human slaughter. Instead, in exhaustive detail, this book establishes that Pearl Harbor was permitted as a public relations measure to rally the public, shifting the blame from the White House, where it belonged, to the men on the ground who were unprepared for the attack.

For 70 years, Greaves's documents have been the primary source of revisionist scholarship on Pearl Harbor. These documents were prepared under his leadership as main counsel for the Republican minority on the Joint Congressional Committee that investigated Pearl Harbor from 1945 to 1946.

More than any other person, he was qualified to speak on this subject. He possessed encyclopedic knowledge and had access to research available to no one else. He conducted in-person, detailed, comprehensive interviews with all the main players at Pearl Harbor and many people in the security apparatus. The contents of these interviews are further corroborated by military records.

However, for many reasons, the documents were not published. He continued to work on this book for many years before his death in 1984. At that point, his wife Bettina Bien Greaves took up the project. The result is absolutely astonishing.

Much of Greaves’s research has never appeared in print—effectively suppressed for 70 years. Even the censored minority report did not include it all. But at long last, the fullness of this report is revealed. The result is this monumental book, completed and edited by Bettina Greaves and published by the Mises Institute. Pearl Harbor is a 937-page indictment of the Roosevelt administration, one that finally and devastatingly rips the lid off a case that has been shrouded in mystery for generations.

Because of the astonishing source material and thoroughness of the argument, Robert Stinnett, the leading authority on the topic and the author of Day of Deceit, calls Greaves's book "explosive!"

Indeed, it is. The author writes in a guarded tone, carefully backing up every statement with massive evidence, provided in a level of depth never before seen. The prevailing consensus is that the fault for Pearl Harbor attack belongs to General Walter Short and Admiral Husband Kimmel, while the major political and military figures in Washington should be completely exonerated.

Greaves turns this conventional wisdom on its head. "It is now apparent also that the president himself, even before the attack, had intended to order the U.S. armed forces to make a pre-emptive strike against the Japanese in the southwest Pacific in order to assist the British in southeast Asia. But the Japanese 'jumped the gun' on him by bombing Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941."

Greaves's conclusion is dramatic: "It must be said also that the evidence revealed in the course of the several investigations leads to the conclusion that the ultimate responsibility for the catastrophe inflicted on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, must rest on the shoulders of President Roosevelt.... It was thanks to Roosevelt’s decisions and actions that an unwarned, ill-equipped, and poorly prepared Fleet remained stationed far from the shores of the continental United States, at a base recognized by his military advisers as indefensible and vulnerable to attack.... Thus the attack on Pearl Harbor became FDR’s excuse, not his reason, for calling for the United States’s entry into World War II."

Greaves provides comprehensive coverage here on the history of U.S. and Japanese relations, the actions of the Roosevelt administration, the attack and the response on the ground, the investigations and cover-ups that began almost immediately and continue to this day. Today the "back-door-to-the-war" theory has become mainstream historiography, even if those who admit it say that the lies were necessary for the good of the country. That is a difficult opinion to maintain in the face of the fullness of the evidence against FDR.

It is a remarkable fact that Greaves, who later became a close confidant of Mises himself throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and who is known mainly for his monetary work, has left us an amazing revelation 70 years after the fact and 26 years after his own death. It is proof that the wheels of justice can grind slowly but also very finely.

“Percy Greaves was chief of the minority (Republican) research staff of the (1945-1946) Joint Congressional Committee to Investigate the Pearl Harbor Attack. He attended all its hearings, interviewed many Army, Navy, and Washington principals involved in the attack and in the investigations. He researched diplomatic documents, studied reports and accounts of the event published during the years that followed. This book is not about the attack itself. It is about never before presented pre-attack and post-attack events, from the Washington point of view. Without name-calling, innuendo, or slander, Greaves simply presents the pertinent, significant and relevant facts which led the Japanese to attack and the political administration to want to cover-up its involvement.” - Bettina Bien Greaves


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on 9/14/2010
Percy and Bettina Greaves [Pearl Harbor:  The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy, Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama, 2010, 937 pages] never mention, but more than justify Vice President Joe Biden’s pre-election comment that, “[The Rear Admiral Kimmel and Major General Short matter] is the most tragic injustice in American military history.”  And they do so without ever using the word, conspiracy.  Just the facts—mainly those uttered under oath by the principals involved, many who are thus injured by the testimony that they intended to use to injure others:  Army Chief of Staff George Marshall and Chief of Naval Operations Harold Stark most notably.  The fact that the Department of Defense remains almost willfully obtuse to these facts continues to disappoint; indeed, amaze.

In 2000, the Congress, led by then Senator Joe Biden, passed a law recommending that the President posthumously advance Kimmel and Short to their highest held temporary ranks in World War II in accordance with the Officer Personnel Act of 1947 from which they alone have been punitively excluded.  Percy Greaves deceased in 1984, the same year that the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA) initiated the preceding action. Clearly, PHSA would have referenced this book in its decades long struggle had it been available to them. Before the sun finally sets on PHSA the matter should be revisited using this book as exhibit A+: a well-deserved A+.

The Seeds:  A chronological trace of the conflicting forces from 1894 that led the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941.   The chronology depicts a well-informed President secretly making, but not declaring war; or an innocently-surprised President honorably standing on principle.  The reader is prompted to decide.
The Seeds alone is worth the price of the book, but the payoff is The Fruits.
The Fruits:  Another chronology, but this time by a Pearl-Harbor story principal, Percy Greaves, who served as the minority counsel for the Joint Congressional Committee (JCC) investigating the attack.  This makes the book perhaps the last first-hand account of the Pearl-Harbor story we will ever get, which by itself automatically makes the book unique, and important. 
Greaves is at his best describing what he knows best, his work for JCC member Senator Homer Ferguson.  Greaves suggested the lead that led to the highlight of the entire JCC proceeding—the testimony of Navy Commander Lester R. Schultz, who on December 6th delivered the 13th part of the 14-part Japanese response to the American Note of November 26, 1941, prompting the President to famously say, “This means war.”  This in turn prompted investigators to wonder if the President could possibly read this secret communication from the enemy, declare that, “this means war,” and not immediately reach out for the heads of his army and navy.  Thus begins the sycophantic stories of Marshall’s mendacity and Stark’s shame presented in their own disgraceful words chronologically.
Greaves presents news to this life-long student of the attack.  Commander Joe Rochefort, the cyptographic hero of the June 4-7, 1941, Battle of Midway, inexplicably was also a casualty of the post-Pearl Harbor attack personnel changes and ordered in October 1942 to command a floating drydock in San Francisco.  Enroute he serendipitously met Kimmel in New York and gave Kimmel his first hint that crucial information about Japanese intentions had been available in Washington prior to the attack, which had not been relayed to him in Pearl Harbor.  This then may well have been the genesis of Kimmel’s long march toward vindication, and helped explain why the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in Washington, D.C., which Kimmel was forced to rely on prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, was ignored by Kimmel’s successor, Admiral Nimitz, after the attack. Indeed, ONI was not even aware of the Battle of Midway until it was over.  Rochefort’s belated vindication came posthumously in 1985 when awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Bettina Greaves demonstrates enormous discipline by offering almost nothing that was learned after her husband deceased in 1984.  This adds much to the credibility of the work, which, of course, is attributed to him.  Nonetheless, Mrs. Greaves must have been sorely tempted to include a host of relevant information made public since 1984—a couple of examples should suffice for the point:

1. President Reagan's Director of Central Intelligence William Casey wrote in 1988 that, “The British had sent word that a Japanese fleet was steaming east toward Hawaii.”
(William Casey, The Secret War Against Hitler, 1988, p.7);

2. MI6’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Chairman Victor Cavendish-Bentinck reportedly said that, “We knew that [the Japanese Fleet] had changed course [by Friday, December 5, 1941]. I remember presiding over a JIC meeting and being told that a Japanese Fleet was sailing in the direction of Hawaii, asking ‘Have we informed our transatlantic brethren?’ and receiving an affirmative reply.” (Richard Aldrich, Intelligence and the War Against Japan, Cambridge Press, 2000, p.87); 

3. Sir Julian Ridsdale, member of the JIC, "Recalled a JIC meeting at which radio silence adopted by the Japanese fleet was discussed and its possible destinations reviewed. Pearl Harbor was one of the targets thought most likely and as a result a warning telegram was despatched to Washington. [He later] met with Cavendish-Bentinck and confirmed that a warning telegram had been despatched." (Richard Aldrich, Intelligence and the War Against Japan, Cambridge Press, 2000, p.87); 

4. Army Pearl Harbor Board (APHB) Member USA General Henry Russell’s APHB reminiscences. (Henry Russell, Pearl Harbor Story, 2001 {written 1946});

5. Admiral Arthur McCollum’s October 7, 1940 “Action Proposal” to D/ONI revealed in 1999 by Robert Stinnett, Day of Deceit.; and 

6. VENONA declassification in 1995 by NSA confirming that Harry Dexter White and Launchlin Currie were Soviet spies.

Percy Greaves once wrote that there was no need to go beyond the known facts in telling the Pearl Harbor story.  He was correct, and this book is testament to a noble effort to get the facts straight as he knew them.

Tom Kimmel is a former naval officer, a retired FBI agent, and a grandson of Admiral Kimmel. For
by Earl Lively
on 7/15/2010
from Dallas, TX
Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy
I rate this volume Excellent before reading it and ordering it, which I will do today, for I was a personal friend of Percy Greaves and learned the true story from him years ago. I have been writing about FDR's "Day of Infamy" for 50 years, and I long ago read most if not all of the revisionist books which exposed the Pearl Harbor hoax shortly after World War II, but which were suppressed by the mainstream book reviewers and media. Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Toland's book "Infamy," published many years after WWII, shed belated light on this story. Toland got a lot of his information from Percy, who told me about his contacts with Toland. In my opinion, Toland's book was a great contribution, but he did not reach some final conclusions quite as fully as I have, through information I got from Greaves and some of the earlier revisionists. Percy Greaves was the most knowledgeable person in the world on this subject. I am grateful that Bettina Greaves has published his work finally.
by Richard Ebeling
on 6/25/2010
from Northwood University, Midland, Michigan
Pearl Harbor - The Seeds and Fruit of Infamy
Many books have appeared over the years about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And among them have been outstanding "revisionist" works challenging the "court history" of America's "innocence" in the events leading up to that "date that will live in infamy."

But none of these excellent histories have offered the detail and thoroughness of Percy Greaves' important work. He lived through the times, served with the Republicans when the Congressional investigations were undertaken on the background of the attack, and knew all the "facts" from the inside. 

While approaching his subject with a point-of-view, no one can accuse Percy of an "axe-to-grind." He is interested in honestly and factually tracing out the ideas, actions, and consequences of FDR's foreign policy leading up to December 7, 1941. 

But the conclusion at the end of the book is that FDR maneuvered U.S. and Japanese relations into a corner that had to lead to one end -- conflict in the Pacific.

Richard Ebeling

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ISBN 9781933550336
eISBN 9781610162616
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 2010
Binding HC
Page Length 937
Dimensions 6" x 9"

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