It's been 65 years since the Japanese Empire comitted the first act of war against us at Pearl Harbor. The 18-year-old recruits who fought back are now 83 years old, and have decided that is will be their last reunion. It's with great pride that we salute those veterans one last time as the passing of the "Greatest Generation".
On to matters of historical debate: Col. Oliver North did a show recently exploring the possibility that FDR was aware of the Japanese plan to attack Pearl Harbor, but allowed it happen for the benefit of the run-to-the-flag reaction it generated. Although there were many clues in the few hours preceeding the attack, information leaks to anyone outside the Imperial Navy are extremely unlikely. The US Navy simply had no idea this could have happened.
I'm all about investigating possible conspiracies, but this one happened in a time where communication was anything but instant, and even further from reliable. In fact, the Emperor had intended to deliver their declaration of war to the US Department of State as early as 4 hours prior to the attack, but the transmission was delayed, and was not recieved until after the damage reports were being processed.
According to interviews with Japanese veterans, they had no idea the Americans weren't suspecting acts of war. A Samurai proverb states that one should always wake one's enemy before killing. A Japanese submarine was depth-charged in the wee hours, but the Navy didn't think enough about that to place the force at general quarters. The first wave of attack aircraft was spotted on radar, but the radar officer mistook the gigantic wave to be a scheduled flight of B-17's from the mainland. Remember that radar technology was in its infancy in those days.
The 2,000+ Americans that were killed that day were ultimately avenged, but it cost hundreds of thousands more. The concept of Boshido engrained a stubborness to fight that so emboldened the War Party of Japan that only a pair of nuclear bombs dissuaded further fighting. With this 65th anniversary, I think we should all close the case on the rumors of FDR's prior knowledge, and celebrate the heros that beat brutal oppression into submission all over the Asian continent and the Pacific Ocean.