Realist's blog

9/11 and Pearl Harbor Conspiracies on Front Page of San Diego Union-Tribune

Prewar attacks fuel whispers of conspiracy

By Peter Rowe and Scott LaFee

December 4, 2006

Historians agree that imperial Japan, hoping to cripple United States forces in the Pacific, scored a major – although fatally incomplete – victory 65 years ago this week at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories were revived in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
But there's a version of the tale you won't find in textbooks. In this alternative history, Dec. 7, 1941, was also President Franklin Roosevelt's triumph. He had withheld information that would have warned the Pacific Fleet, willingly sacrificing a dozen ships and more than 2,400 Americans to achieve his goal.

FDR had dragged America into World War II.

That's the gist of the “backdoor to war” conspiracy theory, originally championed by Roosevelt's right-wing foes in the 1940s. This revisionist view of Pearl Harbor was dying when Sept. 11, 2001, cast it in a new light. The notion that an American president would welcome a surprise attack as a pretext for war was taken up anew. This time, though, the argument came from leftist commentators.