“No, young man. I don’t think they’d be such damned fools.” Admiral Husband Kimmel, Dec. 6th 1941.
Kimmel granted an interview to the Christian Science Monitor and was incredulous when the young reporter asked about the possibility of Japan starting a war with the United States.
The events of the following day forced Kimmel to retire in disgrace as the US government was quick to place all the blame on him.
Cryptic war “warnings” and casual disregard for military realities in the Pacific could be excused as only the civilian leaders enjoyed the benefit of hindsight.
- Roosevelt had personally promoted Kimmel to command of the Pacific Fleet, jumping over 50 flag officers.
- Kimmel’s superior Admiral Stark, chose not to immediately notify Hawaii after the translation of Japan’s war message on the morning of Dec. 7th.
- It was Kimmel’s decision to keep the aircraft carriers at sea, thus sparing them from destruction on December 7th.