American History / Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

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nited States. Admiral James O. Richardson of the Pacific Fleet was in full opposition to the long stay at Pearl Harbor. He felt that the facilities were inadequate to maintain the ships or crews. Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, was the one who originally made the decision to extend the crew's stay in Hawaii; and, in spite of Admiral Richardson's complaints, he maintained that the Pacific Fleet must stay there to keep the Japanese from entering the East Indies. Richardson felt that the Japanese would realize the military disadvantages of being stationed at Pearl Harbor, and would be quick to act on the situation. All of Richardson's objections, in meetings with both the Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and the President, got him nothing but a dismissal shortly thereafter. On November 12,1940, British torpedo bombers launched an attack on the Taranto harbor in Italy severely crippling the Italian Fleet. This sent worry into United States government officials who were afraid that the same thing could happen to Pearl Harbor. On November 22, Admiral Stark suggested to Richardson the idea of placing anti-torpedo nets in Pearl Harbor. Richardson replied that they were neither necessary nor practical. On February 1,1941, Richardson was officially replaced by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel. Kimmel also did not like the idea of his fleet at Pearl Harbor; but, after seeing what had happened to Richardson, he was very quiet about his objections. The Pacific Fleet was to be used as a defensive measure to direct Japan's attention away from Southeast Asia by: (a) capturing the Caroline and Marshall Islands, (b) disrupting Japanese trade routes, and (c) defending Guam, Hawaii, and the United States mainland. Kimmel was supposed to prepare his fleet for war with Japan. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of Japan's Combined Fleet, had to be careful of his country's position in the Pacific. If he concentrated his forces too much in the pacific islands, then

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