Pearl Harbor Story

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Major General H. D. Russell was a member of the US Army Pearl Harbor Investigation Board, (the Roberts Commission) which completed its work in October 1944. He dictated his recollection of that experience in early 1946, soon after his return to civilian life following six years of active duty with the Army. A few copies were made, but the general public remained unaware of the existence of Gen. Russell's manuscript, in part for reasons of national security. David L. Mincey, a World War II naval combat veteran living in Macon, Georgia, finally unearthed a copy of Gen. Russell's memoir and, with the consent of the general's heirs, has now made it available for publication.The immediacy of this first-person account of the behind-the-scenes activities of the commission is its greatest feature. Gen. Russell was angry about the attack, and almost equally angry about attempts to sanitize the incident for public consumption. He promised to speak his mind freely if ever asked about his experiences as a member of the commission.Russell weighs in on perhaps one of the greatest questions faced by historians of the twentieth century US: How much did key US government officials know about the possibility (or likelihood) of a Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in the days leading up to December 7, 1941? The official report's conclusion that there had been no reason to expect such an attack faces a new challenge with the publication of Russell's account.Like the Warren Commission's report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Roberts Commission's findings concerning Pearl Harbor faced immediate criticism from many quarters. Unlike the Warren Commission, however, the federalgovernment silenced dissenting views from the Roberts Commission for many years. The rest of the story can now be told.