Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement: The Shocking True Story of the Military Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor and the Fourteen Men Responsible for the Disaster

Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement: The Shocking True Story of the Military Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor and the Fourteen Men Responsible for the Disaster

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504013512
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 522
Sales rank: 63,638
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

Bruce Lee is a military historian, author, and editor. His books include Marching Orders: How the American Breaking of the Japanese Diplomatic and Military Secret Codes Led to the Defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan and, with coauthor Henry C. Clausen, Pearl Harbor: The Shocking True Story of the Military Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor and the Fourteen Men Responsible for the Disaster. Lee has been an editor-researcher for Cornelius Ryan and has edited the works of other renowned historians and authors, including Gordon W. Prange, Admiral Edwin T. Layton, Ronald Lewin, Charles B. MacDonald, and Pulitzer Prize winner David J. Garrow.
Henry C. Clausen was a trial lawyer and an assistant US attorney in San Francisco. In 1944 secretary of war Henry L. Stimson ordered young Major Clausen to investigate the proximate causes of the disaster at Pearl Harbor. For the first time, witnesses were forced to tell the truth about the military’s failure to exploit the priceless intelligence obtained by the United States before the attack.

In 1945 Clausen was awarded the Legion of Merit, then the highest honor a citizen could receive for service during wartime. He also served as president of the Scottish Rite’s Mother Supreme Council of the World and as the sovereign grand commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. With coauthor Bruce Lee, Clausen wrote Pearl Harbor, which critics have acclaimed as being “so well grounded it makes all further speculation on the subject seem pointless.”

Read an Excerpt

Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement

The Shocking True Story of the Military Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor and the Fourteen Men Responsible for the Disaster

By Henry C. Clausen, Bruce Lee


Copyright © 1992 Henry C. Clausen and Bruce Lee
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-1351-2



I was born to survive calamitous events.

At least, that's what my mother always claimed.

Whenever she recalled the great earthquake and fire that destroyed San Francisco in 1906, she would tell everyone how I was only a few months old at the time and was snoozing on a Murphy bed when the quake hit. Instead of its usual reluctance to spring upright and tuck itself into the wall, with the first tremor the bed snapped itself back and held me securely against the strongest interior support while the exterior of the house crumbled away.

After the quake, when my parents finally managed to reach the bed and pull it down, there I was, looking somewhat startled, but otherwise happy and content. By another stroke of luck, I had even been turned right side up.

Such recollections were far from my mind in late November 1944, however, when as usual I rose with the sun. The war in Europe was going well. Our Allied forces were moving steadily forward on a broad front across Europe. The Canadians had secured the Beveland Peninsula and the entrance to the vital port of Antwerp; the British Second Army was mopping up the Geilenkirchen salient after heavy fighting; and the American Third Army, under General Patton, was about to penetrate the Maginot Line. In Italy, the British and the Americans were driving steadily north along the Mediterranean coast, while on the Adriatic side of the peninsula, the Canadians, Poles and British were advancing on the city of Ravenna. Meanwhile, the Russians were moving toward Budapest after having driven the Germans out of Romania. In the Pacific, the American Navy was celebrating its victory in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, in which it had sunk the last of Japan's aircraft carriers.

I cannot recall the exact date, but that morning in Washington, D.C., the sun was bright. The city's foliage was at its best: a rich green-gold, yellow and burnished bronze, electrifying in its beauty. I looked longingly at the golf clubs standing in the corner of my bedroom, especially at the new putter with which I had been practicing with great success, and I thought of a number of schemes I might employ to escape from my office at the Pentagon and hit the golf course.

I could almost hear my ball drop into the cup of the eighteenth hole, and I could feel the crisp dollar bills that I would win when I remembered that I was supposed to meet that morning with Brig. Gen. Carter Clarke, the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Army Intelligence). My heart sank. I didn't realize it, but I was about to be dropped into some truly calamitous events.

As a Major in the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps, I had recently served as the Assistant Recorder to the Army Pearl Harbor Board's investigation, during the period July 24 to October 19, 1944, into the greatest military defeat in American history. Some unusual things had occurred during this investigation, and after the Board submitted its final reports, it became apparent that information had been withheld from the investigating officers. I also suspected that the Board had been given tainted testimony. I didn't know exactly what information had been withheld, nor did I know the extent of the questionable testimony given to the Board. But I had been asked to investigate.

My mission this day on behalf of the Army's Judge Advocate General was to gain access to and review the Japanese radio messages the Americans had intercepted and which had been given to the Army Board as evidence. I was a relative newcomer to this code breaking, and I needed the messages to supplement a study that Col. William Hughes and I were writing on the findings and recommendations of the Army Pearl Harbor Board for a report that the Judge Advocate General would submit to the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson. Although I sat on the Army Board as a Recorder, I had never seen the intercepts and I needed to know what they said. In turn, Stimson would make his report to Congress and the nation about what had gone wrong at Pearl Harbor.

The man who held the key to the decrypted messages I needed to review was General Clarke. I suspected that he had been involved in whatever hanky-panky had taken place with the Army Board, and I knew he was going to be a hard nut to crack. His office was famous for never giving out any information, even the time of day.

In those days, only a tiny number of people knew about our having broken the Japanese codes before Pearl Harbor. Nor did the public know that General Clarke, as Commander of the Army's Communications Intelligence Operations, had been the courier between the Army's Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, and the Republican presidential candidate, Thomas E. Dewey, in the election of 1944. Somehow, I am not sure how exactly, Dewey had learned that the United States had broken the Japanese codes before Pearl Harbor. His campaign strategy was obvious: to charge that the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been aware of the Japanese intentions to attack Pearl Harbor but had done nothing to prevent it. In turn, this brought America into the war against the Axis powers, which Roosevelt had wanted and the Republicans had been trying to prevent. Needless to say, if Dewey followed this strategy, he would probably win the election.

However, General Marshall feared that a presidential campaign revealing the greatest secret of the war, that we had broken the enemy's codes (those of both Japan and Germany), would endanger the Allied war effort, to say nothing of starting a bitter political struggle between Republicans and Democrats. It might needlessly cost thousands upon thousands of Allied soldiers' lives, plus prolong the war, if not make our goal of unconditional surrender by the Axis impossible.

So Clarke had carried a special message from Marshall to Dewey, in which Marshall asked Dewey not to discuss the issue of breaking the Japanese codes during the campaign. A true patriot, Dewey acquiesced to the Chief of Staff's request. It cost him the election. Roosevelt won an unprecedented fourth term in office that November 1944. (The nation had no idea how ill Roosevelt was at the time.)

I knew that Clarke had an explosive temper. Although quite a decent person, he laced his language with frequent bursts of profanity. He was tall, with a great shock of black hair that sometimes streamed like rivulets over his ears and forehead. From experience in dealing with him, I expected that if I was going to get the documents I needed, I'd have to slug it out, toe to toe.

I was pleasantly surprised when I entered Clarke's office and he said, "Clausen, how the hell are you? Take a seat."

I sat, and then reminded him about our earlier phone conversation, that Colonel Hughes and I were reviewing the Army Pearl Harbor Board's findings and that I needed to check the decrypts.

"Ordinarily, I'd tell you to go to hell," Clarke replied with cheerful good humor that amazed me. "If the Japs ever learned we'd broken their Purple codes, it could cost us the damn war. But I'll level with you. Before you came, I checked with a higher authority. I was told to give you whatever you wanted and to cooperate fully. I don't understand why. I think it's dead wrong."

"Well, maybe it'll keep me from going off half-cocked like the Army Pearl Harbor Board seems to have done," I said. "We don't need another fiasco."

"You're damned right about that," said Clarke. He ordered a portable desk set up alongside his own and handed me one file folder after another filled with decrypts of Japanese messages. It took several hours to go through the lot and be briefed on their meaning, but I finally got all the messages that the Army Board had seen. Clarke had true copies made while I waited. He then bound them together in a special folder. As he handed them over, he said, "Clausen, guard these documents as though they are vials of nitroglycerin. If you lose a single one, may God have mercy on your soul."

I put the file folder in my special briefcase, locked it, put it under my arm and hurried to my office.

Mine wasn't an ordinary office. The outer door was made of steel and had a big combination lock for a doorknob. It looked like a bank vault. No one could enter without the permission of Colonel Hughes or myself, and access was so tightly restricted that only we had the combination for the door. Inside, there were no desks with drawers, only flat-topped tables plus row upon row of armored file cabinets, each with its special combination lock, containing all the records of the Army Pearl Harbor Board and related papers.

It was nearing noon, and I found it difficult to work the combination of the outer door with my briefcase under my arm. Suddenly, I heard my telephone inside start to ring, so I put the case down, spun the dial frantically and got to the phone before the calling party hung up. I immediately recognized the voice as that of the secretary for Gen. Myron Cramer, the Judge Advocate General.

"Major Clausen?"

"Hi, Bernice."

"Major, I've been trying to reach you all morning. The General wants you to join him in a meeting with Secretary of War Stimson at two P.M. today."

"Please tell the General I'll be there. What's up?"

"The Secretary of War is worried about how the public will react to the report of the Army Pearl Harbor Board. He has asked General Cramer to brief him and make recommendations."

"Okay. I think I can help, and thanks for the tip. I bet you thought I'd snuck off to play golf this morning. Actually, I was with General Clarke."

"I know," Bernice said.

The way she said "I know" made me nervous. Something was up.

Although it was getting on toward lunchtime, this wasn't a day to go to the cafeteria for coffee. I made a cup of tea and sat at my table eating the sandwich I'd brought from home, trying to figure out what was going on.

The memoranda about potential errors in the Army Board's two reports I had prepared with Colonel Hughes had obviously struck home with someone. But with whom? And why?

The problems with the Board's report (in reality there were two reports, one Secret and one Top Secret, the latter dealing with the issue of the breaking of the Japanese codes) were myriad. The Board members had reached mistaken assumptions about when the Japanese had actually set sail on their way to attack. They preferred to believe that the Japanese had dispatched their attacking force toward Pearl Harbor as a result of Secretary of State Cordell Hull's proposals of November 26, when in fact the Japanese fleet had gone to sea before that date. (The report said that Hull had to bear some responsibility for Pearl Harbor because his message to Tokyo of November 26 "was used by the Japanese as a signal to begin war by the attack on Pearl Harbor.") There also were errors about spying in Hawaii, and claims that the Japanese had their submarines inside Pearl Harbor before the attack. The Board found that the Army commander on the spot, Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, had failed to alert his command adequately for war. But then the Board had gone on to fault the War Department for not ordering Short to prepare "an adequate alert," and for not keeping Short properly informed about the ongoing diplomatic negotiations between Japan and America.

The Board had also been extremely critical of the actions of Chief of Staff Marshall. He was accused of failing to keep his immediate staff properly informed about developments, of failing to brief General Short adequately and of failing to send Short "important information" on December 6 and 7 that would have warned Short that an attack was coming. Lastly, the Board said that Marshall was responsible for not knowing that Short's command was not prepared for war. In brief, the Army Board was saying that, like Short, Marshall should be relieved of command.

There were other criticisms, but the primary ones were aimed at the Secretary of State and the Chief of Staff. I didn't know it at the time, but Marshall had been so devastated by the report that he had told Secretary Stimson he believed the report had destroyed his usefulness to the Army. This estimate wasn't completely true, but as I will show later, the Army Board's reports severely wounded Marshall's reputation.

So, as I sat munching my sandwich, it seemed to me that two issues were most likely to come up for discussion that afternoon: (1) How should Secretary Stimson tell the public that the Army Board had found, erroneously I suspected, that the Secretary of State and Chief of Staff were largely responsible for Pearl Harbor? (2) How could he say that the findings of the Army Board were not really true? As I said earlier, I already knew that many so-called facts found in the Board's report were false. But proving that the Board was wrong about Marshall and Hull was another matter. I could foresee a real legal challenge in the offing. My guess was that either the Army Board would have to be reconvened or yet another one would have to be appointed to review the findings of the first. This inquiry into Pearl Harbor was becoming a major scandal, if not a miscarriage of justice. The meeting with Secretary Stimson was going to be interesting.

Thus, I was in the Secretary's waiting room well before the appointed hour. The Judge Advocate General arrived next. Cramer was a short, squat man, with a chin like a bulldog's. He was a great paper pusher, a delegator who liked to claim that he ran the biggest law firm in the world. The claim was true. There were more lawyers in the Army than anywhere else in the country. But he could spare me the "law firm" bit. I don't believe Cramer ever tried a major case in a civilian court.

Just before two P.M., we were joined by Harvey Bundy, Special Assistant to the Secretary of War. Tall, slim, with thick eyeglasses and a ready smile, Bundy had been a prominent Boston lawyer before joining forces with Stimson. Bundy's genealogical roots ran deep in American history, and he was the best aide a Secretary of War could have asked for: smart, loyal, with trustworthy judgement.

When we entered Stimson's office, I was struck yet again by his magnetic personality. He was a tall, distinguished-looking man with a heavy, imposing presence. He had a short mustache and a rather stern face that lit up with an attractive smile. I would have hated to have him angry at me, because he was tough as nails. He had served as Secretary of War under President Calvin Coolidge and as Secretary of State under President Herbert Hoover. He was proudest of his title of Colonel, however, which he had earned in combat as an artilleryman in the First World War. He preferred the title Colonel to anything else. A prominent Republican, he had broken with the isolationists in his party in the spring of 1940, making a speech at Yale University that created banner headlines because he came out in support of President Roosevelt's programs for a draft to build up the American military and aid to Great Britain in her fight against Germany. As a result, Roosevelt had appointed him Secretary of War in June 1940, and although Stimson was then in his seventies, he served as, we would call it today, Secretary of both the Army and the Army Air Force (there being no separate Air Force at that time) throughout World War II with extraordinary wisdom, strength and integrity.

To me, Stimson was a man of truly heroic stature, one of the greatest men of the war, head and shoulders above Marshall. That's personal opinion, of course, or perhaps it's just one civilian sticking up for another, but I believe that Stimson saw changes in the wind, and the way the world would be in the future, before Marshall did. I also believe, and the evidence to date seems to prove the point, that Stimson stiffened Roosevelt's spine on a number of occasions, forcing Roosevelt to take immediate action rather than vacillate, as was his custom.

When the Pentagon was built, at first Stimson refused to move his office from the old War Department next to the White House, because he liked to have his windows open. The Pentagon was hermetically sealed because of its newfangled air-conditioning. Later, he relented and came to like it. As for me, I always propped my window in the Pentagon open with a coat hanger. No one could catch me doing this, since no one had the security clearance to enter the room and see what was going on.


Excerpted from Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement by Henry C. Clausen, Bruce Lee. Copyright © 1992 Henry C. Clausen and Bruce Lee. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword: Why I Wrote This Book,
Background Documents,
Chapter 1 "Leave No Stone Unturned",
Chapter 2 "Your Mission Is Impossible",
Chapter 3 "With Your Blessing, I'll Enlist",
Chapter 4 Who Was Telling the Truth?,
Chapter 5 "Hostile Action Possible at Any Moment",
Chapter 6 "Put a Priority Tag on ...",
Chapter 7 "I Have Had to Barter Like a Rug Merchant",
Chapter 8 "It Was Understood ...",
Chapter 9 "No. ... I Read a Novel",
Chapter 10 "It Was Customary and Expected",
Chapter 11 Not on Duty,
Chapter 12 Sentries Who Failed,
Chapter 13 Errors of Joint Command,
Chapter 14 "Senator, ... the Purple Machine Was Ordered Destroyed",
Chapter 15 "They Just Quit",
Chapter 16 Final Judgement,
Exhibit B,
Clausen Investigation Exhibit No. 7,
Clausen Investigation Exhibit No. 8,
Exhibit D,
Information Made Available to General Short,
The "Winds Code",
Image Gallery,
About the Authors,

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Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement: The Shocking True Story of the Military Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor and the Fourteen Men Responsible for the D 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every reader who persues truth must ponder these postullates.