Revisionist overview of historiography in recent

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*Revisionist*Overview of historiography:In recent times, Pearl Harbor historiography has shifted towards thequestion of whether or not the Pearl Harbor attack could have been predicted through interceptedsignals. The recent prodigious output of books and articles on this subject makes it necessary toreflect upon how the debate has developed. Some traditionalists (who believe that the Pearl Harborattack surprised US and Allied authorities) continue to criticize revisionists (who believe thatintercepted signals may have provided foreknowledge of the attack)….Similar criticisms ofrevisionists continue to the present day, but such criticisms are unfounded as relevant evidenceconcerning pre-Pearl Harbor signals intelligence, drawn from both archival and anecdotal sources,suggests that the revisionist thesis merits further scholarly attention.”Traditionalists:According to traditionalists, Allied-American decryption of Japanese diplomatic andnaval codes yielded no warning of the impending attack. In support of traditionalist claims, severalAmerican and British official war histories state categorically that neither the principal Japanesediplomatic codenor theJapanese naval code… offered advance warning of Japan’s intention toattack Pearl Harbor.
oConsidering 1941 eye-witness accountsthe thesis that Allied officials had the ability topredict a Pearl Harbor attack is one that some traditionalists may accept. Yet they willcorrectly note that the case for specific foreknowledge is based mainly upon post-waraccounts. For traditionalists, multiple post-war sources are not enough to support therevisionist position. They will nonetheless have to explain why several participants inwartime intelligence and covert operations made such claims, all quite independently….It isclear that an entire class of evidence cannot simply be ignored in support of atraditionalist thesis.Revisionists:Revisionists believe that some details concerning the Pearl Harbor attack may havecome from decrypted Japanese naval messages, although they are not certain of what was read,considering the primary evidence that is currently available.oRevisionists point to thesuccessful theft of Japanese codebooksfrom the Japaneseconsulate in New York as evidence that American intelligence operatives could read up-to-date Japanese encrypted messages.o“Furthermore, in 1941 the USN intercepted a number of Japanese naval messages thatsome historians believe pointed to a Pearl Harbor attack. From September to December1941, the USN intercepted over 26,000 Japanese naval messages of which about 90 per centwere encrypted in JN-25B [which Wilford claimsthe US could decrypt]…. National SecurityAgency (NSA) historian Frederick Parker observed that a number of these interceptedmessages revealed Japanese plans and training exercises concerning the North Pacific.

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Term
Fall
Professor
Cavalli
Tags
World War II, Test, Empire of Japan, Pearl Harbour

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