Putting An End To The Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Theory – Who Shot First America Or Japan?

Putting An End To The Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Theory – Who Shot First America Or Japan? | World War Wings Videos

National Archives and Records Administration

Under The Surface.

“December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy”. The day the United States Navy was brutally attacked by Japanese forces and pulled into World War II. However, there is often talk of American forces catching a Japanese submarine prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. So how much truth is there to this claim?

Over 2,400 Americans lost their lives in the Japanese sneak attack when over 400 aircraft decimated the base. Japanese planes get most of the attention for the attack yet there were some submarines who participated in the attack and they tell another story.


Aside from their air force the Japanese Navy also wanted the glory of participating in the attack and sent five midget submarines. One of the submarines malfunctioned and ended up grounded on the beach of Oahu. Another one of the subs was spotted by the USS Ward who gave chase and destroyed the invading vessel with depth charges. Fearing for their security they radioed base for high alert.

“We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area.”

– Lt. William Outerbridge (Sent at 6:53 AM on December 7th, 1941)


The message was relayed on to Admiral Kimmel who dismissed it as another false attack and the Navy was not put on full alert. At 7:55 AM the Japanese attack commenced with American forces at a full disadvantage. Historians dismissed reports of midget subs as conspiracy theories for over 60 years until the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory discovered its remains 1,200 feet down in using sonar.

Remains of the downed submarine discovered in 2002.
Remains of the downed submarine discovered in 2002.

The assumption that this was merely a false alert made the Navy vulnerable after another “Boy who cried wolf” scenario. The details of the submarine strikes are often omitted but history has proven their presence at the attack. The American Heroes Channel dives deeper into the issue of the American strike on submarines prior to the Pearl Harbor attack.

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