Stalin Triggered The Sneak Attack On Pearl Harbor
by John Czop
Since the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Communist regimes have killed at least 100 million people. Communist political murder continues in today’s China, North Korea, Tibet, and Cuba where ruthless Communist regimes remain in power.
Now, thanks to John Koster’s new history book, we must add American, Japanese, and other casualties of World War II in the Pacific Theater to the already staggering number of victims of Communism.
In OPERATION SNOW: How a Soviet Mole in FDR’s White House Triggered Pearl Harbor (Regnery, Washington, DC: 2012), Koster establishes beyond any doubt that on Stalin’s orders, a top Soviet agent of influence in FDR’s Treasury Department, Harry Dexter White, knowingly subverted America’s national interests in the western Pacific and northeast Asia. White did so in late November 1941, at a moment when top American and Japanese political decision-makers were doing their best to avoid war. Moreover, neither the United States Navy, nor Army was ready to fight.
White, of course, was more interested in protecting Stalin’s Soviet Union by deflecting a Japanese invasion of Soviet controlled Mongolia launched from then Japanese controlled Manchuria, or Manchukuo. This is why, in the November Memorandum, the 26 November 1941 “final” note from the United States Government to the Japanese Government, White included requests that he well knew Japanese leaders surely would consider a thinly veiled American declaration of war against Japan.
By abusing his position of trust as FDR’s top expert on Japan’s economy and domestic politics, White succeeded in subverting the “final” note, which FDR and Secretary of State Cordell Hull viewed as what the United States and Japan needed to do to regularize state-to-state relations between the two countries in order to avoid war. In Point 7 of the November Memorandum, White demanded that Japan: “Sell to the United States up to three-fourths of her current output of war material-including naval, air, ordnance, and commercial ships on a cost-plus 20 per cent basis as the United States may select.”
Imperialism is the control of one country by another country. Sovereignty requires the legitimate monopoly over the use of armed force on the territory of the sovereign country. Point 7 of the November Memorandum called on Japan to let the United States control Japan’s national defense, and by extension to control Japanese foreign policy, thereby exercising American imperium over Japan. How would Americans react if some country dictated national security policy to the United States?
No sovereign country could comply with the demands made in the November Memorandum. Moreover, as a close student of Japanese internal politics, White well knew that if the Japanese Government demonstrated willingness even to consider such an intrusive American demand, then it would be overthrown with alacrity by the Japanese military, which stalwartly resisted American imperialism. War against the United States was the only way for Japan to defend its national honor. Stalin’s agent of influence, Harry Dexter White, sneaked demands into the November Memorandum he knew Japan must refuse, and this triggered the Japanese decision to choose war rather than dishonor.
White played a key role in drafting this note which caused Japan to do exactly what Stalin wanted. Stalin ordered White to manipulate the Japanese into attacking the United States so the Soviet Union would not have to fight a two-front war. Most unpleasantly surprised by his erstwhile ally, Nazi Germany, which invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, Stalin was convinced that Japan would honor the Tripartite Pact. This agreement to make war together, signed on 27 September 1940 by Germany, Italy, and Japan, did imply that Japan was obliged to invade Mongolia from the east in order to support Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union from the west.
Nevertheless, by late November 1941, it was clear that Japan was having serious reservations about the Tripartite Pact. Japan had NOT used armed force against the countries then at war with the Axis: the British Empire, the Dutch Empire, or the Soviet Union. Paradoxically, Japan did occupy French Indo-China; Vichy France was neutral with a marked pro-Axis tilt. All evidence points to a willingness by top American and Japanese leaders to seek detente in late November 1941. Secretary of State Cordell was prepared to modify the September 1941 embargo on oil sales to Japan by allowing oil for civilian consumption.
None of this suited Stalin, and his agent of influence, Harry Dexter White, who used his high position of trust in the Treasury Department to poison improving relations with Japan. White did so by knowingly persuading the Japanese leadership, through the November Memorandum, that the United States wanted to dictate the conduct of Japanese foreign policy. No sovereign country could accept such terms. The November Memorandum, crafted by White, presented the Japanese leadership with the stark choice of going to war, a war they knew full well that they could not win, to save their country’s honor, or to be forcibly removed from power, and likely killed by their own people, who refused to submit to American dictates.
The war between the United States and Japan served the interests of neither country. Only Stalin, the Soviet Union, and Communism benefited. The war ended Japan’s imperium over Korea, Manchuria, and portions of China, but it resulted in a power vacuum filled by the Communists, and compelled the United States, rather than Japan, to contain Communism in that part of the world.
Koster marshals several sources of documentation to show beyond doubt that Harry Dexter White was in fact an agent of influence. The most persuasive of these is the memoires of Lieutenant General Vitalii Pavlov, OPERATION SNOW: Half a Century at KGB Foreign Intelligence. Moscow: Gaia Herum, 1996. Kremlinologists and Cold war historians broadly agree that the memoires of Pavlov, like the memoires of Nikita Khrushchev, do not distort what the authors present as facts, however, they only include those facts which support their purpose in writing.
For Khrushchev, two kinds of facts are relevant. Those which show why Stalinist centralization was a mistake, versus those which show why Khrushchev’s decentralization policy was necessary to save Communism. The heroes, for Khrushchev, are those who shared his views on how to work for the success of Communism inside the Soviet Union, however, he acknowledges with gratitude the accomplishments of loyal Communists working outside the Soviet Union, like Julius Rosenberg whom Khrushchev praises for helping the Soviet Union to defend itself from the atomic arsenal of the Western Imperialists. Khrushchev’s praise for Julius Rosenberg removed any remaining doubt about whether or not he was a loyal Communist and spy for the Soviet Union.
For Pavlov, Stalin saved Communism by organizing the victory over counter-revolutionists both inside, and especially outside the Soviet Union. Pavlov served as KGB Resident in Poland where he defeated the Polish Independentists armed struggle (1944-1956) against the imposition of Communism. His self-effacing memoires show how he and his colleagues, especially after the death of Stalin, remained true to Stalin’s legacy as they understood it: the integral defense of the Motherland of the Communist Revolution, the Soviet Union, against the insidious and ultimately futile efforts of counter-revolutionists and their dupes to retard the course of history which mandates the world-wide victory of Communism.
Pavlov writes that Harry Dexter White is an exemplar of truly revolutionary and progressive Communist man. This new type of man, like White, exudes a contagious sense of the historical inevitability of Communism’s victory and is a particularly model Communist because he seeks to hasten this victory, for humanitarian reasons, through purposeful action against counter-revolutionists, and therefore, those like White, well merit humanity’s special gratitude.
Next, Pavlov, in his memoires, describes his meeting with White at the Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC in May 1941. At this time, White was a senior official in the Treasury Department and Pavlov was a 27 year-old Captain in the NKVD, who was ordered by Stalin’s Kremlin to ask their most important Communist agent of influence in FDR’s administration to protect the Soviet Union from attack by Japan and to provoke war between the United States and Japan. According to Pavlov, White accepted this assignment with alacrity and said that he anticipated Comrade Stalin’s request and was already thinking about how to embroil the United States and Japan in war in order to advance the victory of Communism. There is no reason to suspect that Pavlov is NOT writing the truth about White, whom Pavlov judges an architect of the Communist victory in the Second Great Imperialist War.
Koster’s book makes us ask ourselves: Who is in charge of making United States foreign policy today? In late November 1941 FDR wanted to ride to the rescue of England, but the Army and the Navy were not ready for war. Moreover, FDR wanted to win re-election in 1944, and 80% of Americans, in November 1941, did NOT want to go to war. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wanted to protect his bureaucratic turf from Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr., who wanted to go to war against Nazi Germany, and Harry Dexter White, who was Stalin’s agent of influence. Stanley Hornbeck in the State Department was an advocate of Chiang Kai-shek. Dean Acheson in the State Department was convinced that United States’ interests were identical to those of the British Empire. Who was considering the national interests of America?
The principal advantage of democracy over other political systems is that it is capable of self-correction through the efforts of an educated and critically thinking citizenry. Self-correction based on drawing useful analogies to remedy in the future the recurrence of mistakes that spring from a faulty knowledge about our past requires a solid understanding of our politically relevant past. Far too many of us wrongly maintain that FDR deliberately provoked the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor to bring a reluctant American public into World War II to save the British Empire. Others hold that the Japanese are a suicidal people who perversely attacked an America with twice Japan’s population and many times Japan’s agricultural and industrial output.
Koster’s book discredits both of these popular, but wrong views. Moreover, Koster persuades us that the United States and Japan need never have gone to war and that both the Japanese and the American casualties of that war are victims of Communism, a particularly arrogant contemporary avatar of Gnosticism, which holds that a select few members of the latter day Gnostic brotherhood, like Comrades Stalin, Pavlov, and White know where history is going and deploy deception, fraud and lethal force to try to compel us to follow them. This shared sense of being Stalin’s victims, the key message of Koster’s book, should do much to overcome misunderstandings in both state-to-state and people-to-people relations between the United States and Japan and between the Americans and the Japanese.