A few years ago James Johnson and Robert Zarate published in The Weekly Standard an article on Roberta Wohlstetter’s analysis of Pearl Harbor and concept of “slow Pearl Harbors” — an article that’s worth revisiting:
James Johnson and Robert Zarate, “A Slow Pearl Harbor: Some Disasters are a Long Time in the Making,” The Weekly Standard, Vol. 11, No. 14 (December 19, 2005).
SIXTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, Japan stunned our nation with a daring raid on Pearl Harbor, killing 2,400 Americans and crippling the Pacific fleet. That same day, Japan also attacked U.S. forces in Manila, Midway and Wake Islands, and Guam, as well as British forces throughout East Asia. American leaders had anticipated attacks on the latter targets, but not on Pearl Harbor.
In the years following, fierce debates raged–in congressional hearings and among historians–over how the United States could have been so completely surprised. But it was not until the publication of Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, historian Roberta Morgan Wohlstetter’s 1962 Bancroft Prize-winning study, that the dimensions of this national tragedy came to be fully understood….
Read the whole thing.