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U.S. History/Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor?


Hello Mike, it's Chelsea again.

       I had asked you a question about FDR having prior knowledge about the attack on Pearl Harbor. You had basically said that there was evidence that Japan was planning to attack, but we didn't know they were going to attack on December 7th. I have a couple more questions for you if you don't mind.

Question one: Could the U.S. had prevented the attack? Since the administration knew we were going to be attacked?

Question two: Why did we declare war on Japan so quickly?

The Administration could have been on higher alert to look for ships and planes.  It could have more ships out of the harbor and in the open seas where they would have been better able to defend themselves.  The Administration could not have prevented the attack, but could have reduced the amount of damage suffered and could have inflicted more harm on the enemy if better prepared for it.  But without specific knowledge of a place and time for an attack, just keeping all troops on high alert all the time would have strained men and resources.

Prior to WWII, people took the Constitution's war making power more seriously.  Many believed that the US could not retaliate against Japan without having a declaration of war.  The war declaration allows US military forces to take action against Japan right away.

- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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