Live in Infamy

(top left) The USS Arizona during the attack on Hawaii. (top right) A war bonds poster. The headline says “Tojo Wanna Cracker?” (row 2 left) The bombs on Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945) finally ended the war in the Pacific. (row 2 right) Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan (1941–44), at his war crimes trial in 1948, was hanged as a Class-A war criminal December 23, 1948. (the other three images) Three views of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.

Today we are reminded of “a date which will live in infamy” – the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Let us take a moment to respect those brave individuals who serve(d), better understand the events leading up to the event and reflect on the ongoing role of the US as the world’s peacekeeper.  Special thanks to Wikipedia and Air and Space Museum for the insights.

  • The attack on Pearl Harbor, many believe, can be traced back to the 1850’s, when U.S. Naval Captain Matthew C. Perry sailed to Japan and negotiated the opening of Japanese ports for trade. After more than 200 years of self-imposed isolation, Japan wanted to engage with the rest of the world and knew its fortunes lie outside its shores.
  • To compete globally, Japan needed resources—a theme that persistently and eventually pushes the narrative of Pearl Harbor to its climax. Iron and coal were key natural resources in the steam era at the end of the 19th century but were not available in any significance on the Japanese island. Japan needed to look elsewhere for oil and vital manufacturing resources.
  • Beginning around 1894, Japan engaged in war with China and in 1904 with Russia to secure more resources.  A 1905 win against the Russian Navy shocked the world and alerted the U.S. that they needed to be prepared for new relations with a more aggressive Japan.
  • As early as 1911, the U.S. Navy drafted plans for dealing with a possible war with Japan, known as War Plan Orange. The 1921 Washington Naval Treaty set out to prevent expensive naval building races between nations, but limited Japan to a much smaller navy than the U.S., a result that further soured the relationship between the two countries.
  • The relationship between the two countries was cordial enough that they remained trading partners. Tensions did not seriously grow until Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Over the next decade, Japan expanded into China, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Japan spent considerable effort trying to isolate China and endeavored to secure enough independent resources to attain victory on the mainland. The “Southern Operation” was designed to assist these efforts.
  • Starting in December 1937, events such as the Japanese attack on USS Panay, the Allison incident, and the Nanking Massacre swung Western public opinion sharply against Japan. Fearing Japanese expansion, the United States, United Kingdom, and France assisted China with loans for war supply contracts.  The goal was simple – keep Japan at bay.
  • In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina, attempting to stymie the flow of supplies reaching China. The United States halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline to Japan, which the latter perceived as an unfriendly act. The United States did not stop oil exports, however, partly because of the prevailing sentiment in Washington: given Japanese dependence on American oil, such an action was likely to be considered an extreme provocation.
  • In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Hawaii. He also ordered a military buildup in the Philippines, taking both actions in the hope of discouraging Japanese aggression in the Far East. Because the Japanese high command was (mistakenly) certain any attack on the United Kingdom’s Southeast Asian colonies, including Singapore, would bring the U.S. into the war, a devastating preventive strike appeared to be the only way to prevent American naval interference.
  • In September 1940, Japan aligned with Germany and Italy. Japan hoped the war would result in a boon of new resources and saw the alignment as a way to push back against the U.S. embargos.  If America wanted to declare war on Japan, they would also have to declare war on Germany meaning a fight across two oceans.
  • An invasion of the Philippines was also considered necessary by Japanese war planners. The U.S. War Plan Orange had envisioned defending the Philippines with an elite force of 40,000 men; this option was never implemented due to opposition from Douglas MacArthur, who felt he would need a force ten times that size. By 1941, U.S. planners expected to abandon the Philippines at the outbreak of war.
  • The U.S. finally ceased oil exports to Japan in July 1941, following the seizure of French Indochina after the Fall of France, in part because of new American restrictions on domestic oil consumption. Because of this decision, Japan proceeded with plans to take the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. On August 17, Roosevelt warned Japan that America was prepared to take opposing steps if “neighboring countries” were attacked. The Japanese were faced with a dichotomy—either withdraw from China and lose face or seize new sources of raw materials in the resource-rich European colonies of Southeast Asia.
  • The U.S. believed that Japan would run out of necessary resources in six months and would have to agree to negotiations or cease military action. Japan did the same math and realized they needed to act. Japan began to plan the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Many within the Japanese military were wary of the risks—Japanese carriers did not have the range to make it to Pearl Harbor and would need to refuel at sea, a maneuver that was unfamiliar to their navy. But to Japan, the potential reward outweighed the risks. They believed an attack on the U.S. would prevent America from entering the war for up to six months. In that time, Japan could shift the balance of power and take Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. Japan also hoped the attack would demoralize the United States into inaction.
  • The Japanese Marshal Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto knew that to be successful secrecy was key. Few within the military were aware of what was conspired. Japanese carriers would take an extremely northern path to avoid shipping routes, and while travelling they were under complete radio silence. Even ship-to-ship communication was done using flags or blinker lights.
  • The final orders to attack Pearl Harbor were delivered to the ships by hand before they sailed on November 26th.  Burke noted that, at the time, the U.S. had only broken Japan’s diplomatic codes, not their naval codes. But even if the U.S. could read Japanese naval codes, there was no radio traffic to intercept.
  • Japan set an internal deadline: If negotiations with the U.S. did not go as desired, Pearl Harbor would be attacked. They pushed the deadline to November 29th. Three days later, the Japanese high command sent the message, “Climb Mount Niitaka,” to tell the listening Japanese carrier force to proceed with the attack.  War declaration communications were drafted and sent to the U.S. leadership, but never arrived on time.
  • What unfolded in the days to come is the story we’re more familiar with—2,403 Americans were killed, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, and the heart of the Pacific Fleet was left sitting on the harbor’s bottom.
  • Said Pearl Harbor curator Lawrence Burke said, “We can see why Americans should have anticipated war with the Japanese.” But the specifics of the attack were a surprise. The U.S. knew something was afoot but anticipated being attacked in the Philippines not Pearl Harbor. The U.S. knew the risks that Japan faced with an attack on Pearl and believed it to be impossible. And the U.S. did not believe that Japan was capable of planning and executing such an attack.
  • To say that Pearl Harbor was a complete surprise, as most history books do, does not take into account the complex history and relationships between the U.S. and Japan leading up to the attack. The war with Japan was not a surprise, but the location and nature of the first strike was.

To learn more, visit  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pearl_Harbor_looking_southwest-Oct41.jpg, and God bless the brave souls who lost their lives defending our great nation.

On December 8, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Declaration of War Address to congress and later officially signs it.  WATCH HERE

 

 


 

Legend, Teamwork & The Impossible

 

Ever set a crazy goal … and then reach it?  Ever been told “oh, that’s impossible”, then feeling larger than life when it happens?  Ever convince a small group, that even though the goal is crazy (BHAG’s as the motivation experts like to call them today), you overcome the odds, and deliver.  That drive, passion and purpose, lives everyday here at KHT –  it’s the engine behind our PIA (Pain in the @%$) Jobs solutions – digging, testing, discovering and delivering.  It’s an amazing feeling for sure.  Last week a legend passed away at the age of 88 – Sir Roger Bannister, famously known as the first person to break the four-minute mile barrier, an accomplishment, at its time, most felt was “simply impossible”.  Being a bit of a running junkie, I dug into the history books a bit, and found out some things I never knew – like the fact that two other runners were chasing the same dream and pushing Bannister to hit his goal – like the fact that Roger had a pack of runners help him during the race to set the correct pace – that prior to breaking the record, Roger finished far behind in the pack of runners in many of his previous races, was unsure of this ever happening, and even thought of not running at all that glorious day, and about a month later, another runner broke Mr. Bannister’s record time.  Special thanks to The Guardian and Wikipedia and for the info, and congratulations Roger for reminding us all that sometimes, the impossible is possible.

 

  • Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister was a British middle-distance athlete, doctor and academic who ran the first sub-4-minute mile (3 minutes 59.4 seconds) on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing.
  • Bannister was born in Harrow, England. He went to Vaughan Road Primary School in Harrow and continued his education at City of Bath Boys’ School and University College School, London; followed by medical school at the University of Oxford Exeter College and Merton College and at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, now part of Imperial College London.
  • Bannister started his running career at Oxford in the autumn of 1946 at the age of 17. He had never worn running spikes previously or run on a track. His training was light, even compared to the standards of the day, but he showed promise in running a mile in 1947 in 4:24.6 on only three weekly half-hour training sessions.
  • He was selected as an Olympic “possible” in 1948 but declined as he felt he was not ready to compete at that level. Inspired to become a great miler by watching the 1948 Olympics, he set his training goals on the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
  • In 1949, he improved in the 880 yards to 1:52.7 and won several mile races in 4:11. By 1950 Bannister saw more improvements as he finished a relatively slow 4:13 mile on 1 July with an impressive 57.5 last quarter. Then, he ran the AAA 880 in 1:52.1, losing to Arthur Wint, and then ran 1:50.7 for the 800 m at the European Championships on 26 August, placing third. Chastened by this lack of success, Bannister started to train harder and more seriously.
  • His increased attention to training paid quick dividends, as he won a mile race in 4:09.9. In 1951 at the Penn Relays, Bannister broke away from the pack with a 56.7 final lap, finishing in 4:08.3. In his biggest test to date, he won a mile race on July 14 in 4:07.8 at the AAA Championships at White City before 47,000 people. The time set a meet record as he defeated defending champion Bill Nankeville in the process.
  • Bannister avoided racing after the 1951 season until late in the spring of 1952, saving his energy for Helsinki and the Olympics. He ran an 880 on May 28 in 1:53.00, then a 4:10.6 mile time-trial in June, proclaiming himself satisfied with the results. At the AAA Championships, he skipped the mile and won the 880 in 1:51.5. Then, 10 days before the Olympic final, he ran a ¾ mile time trial in 2:52.9, which gave him confidence that he was ready for the Olympics as he considered the time to be the equivalent of a four-minute mile.
  • His confidence soon dissipated as it was announced there would be semifinals for the 1500 m (equal to 0.932 miles) at the Olympics, and he knew that this favored runners who had much deeper training regimens than he did. The 1500 m final would prove to be one of the more dramatic in Olympic history. The race was not decided until the final meters, with Josy Barthel of Luxembourg prevailing in an Olympic-record 3:45.28 (3:45.1 by official hand-timing) and the next seven runners all under the old record.  Bannister finished fourth, out of the medals, but set a British record of 3:46.30 in the process.
  • After his relative failure at the 1952 Olympics, Bannister spent two months deciding whether to give up running. He set himself on a new goal: to be the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. Accordingly, he intensified his training and did hard intervals, a type of training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods
  • On 2 May 1953, he made an attempt on the British record at Oxford. Paced by Chris Chataway, Bannister ran 4:03.6, shattering Wooderson’s 1945 standard. “This race made me realize that the four-minute mile was not out of reach,” said Bannister.
  • Other runners were making attempts at the four-minute barrier and coming close as well. American Wes Santee ran 4:02.4 in June, the fourth-fastest mile ever. And at the end of the year, Australian John Landy ran 4:02.0, and matched his time again early in 1954. Bannister had been following Landy’s and Santee’s attempts and was certain a rival would likely succeed, Bannister knew he had to make his attempt soon.
  • The historic event took place on May 6, 1954 during a meet between British AAA and Oxford University at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, watched by about 3,000 spectators. With winds up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) before the event, Bannister had said twice that he favored not running, to conserve his energy and efforts to break the 4-minute barrier; he would try again at another meet. However, the winds dropped just before the race was scheduled to begin, and Bannister did run.
  • The pace-setters from his major 1953 attempts, future Commonwealth Games gold medalist Chris Chataway and Olympic Games gold medalist Chris Brasher combined to provide pacing on this historic day. Bannister had begun his day at a hospital in London, where he sharpened his racing spikes and rubbed graphite on them so they would not pick up too much cinder ash. He took a mid-morning train from Paddington Station to Oxford, nervous about the rainy, windy conditions that afternoon.
  • The race went off as scheduled at 6:00 pm, and Brasher and Bannister went immediately to the lead. Brasher, wearing No. 44, led both the first lap in 58 seconds and the half-mile in 1:58, with Bannister, No. 41, tucked in behind, and Chataway a stride behind Bannister.  Chataway moved to the front after the second lap and maintained the pace with a 3:01 split at the bell. Chataway continued to lead around the front turn until Bannister began his finishing kick with about 275 yards to go, running the last lap in just under 59 seconds.  Said Bannister, “The world seemed to stand still, or did not exist. The only reality was the next 200 yards of track under my feet. The tape meant finality – extinction perhaps.  I felt at that moment that it was my chance to do one thing supremely well. I drove on, impelled by a combination of fear and pride.”
  • The stadium announcer for the race was Norris McWhirter, (who went on to co-publish and co-edit the Guinness Book of Records). He excited the crowd by delaying the announcement of the time Bannister ran as long as possible.

“Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event nine, the one mile: first, number forty one, R. G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which—subject to ratification—will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time was three…” (the roar of the crowd drowned out the rest of the announcement – “minutes, 59.4 seconds.”

  • The claim that a four-minute mile was once thought to be impossible by “informed” observers was and is a widely propagated myth created by sportswriters. The reason the myth took hold was that four minutes was a round number which was slightly better (1.4 seconds) than the world record for nine years, longer than it probably otherwise would have been because of the effect of the Second World War in interrupting athletic progress in the combatant countries.
  • Just 46 days later, on 21 June in Turku, Finland, Bannister’s record was broken by his Australian rival John Landy, with a time of 3 min 57.9 s, which the IAAF ratified as 3 min 58.0 s due to the rounding rules then in effect.
  • On August 7, at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, B.C., Bannister, running for England, competed against Landy for the first time in a race billed as “The Miracle Mile”. They were the only two men in the world to have broken the 4-minute barrier, with Landy still holding the world record. Landy led for most of the race, building a lead of 10 yards in the third lap (of four), but was overtaken on the last bend, and Bannister won in 3 min 58.8 s, with Landy 0.8 s behind in 3 min 59.6 s. Bannister and Landy have both pointed out that the crucial moment of the race was that at the moment when Bannister decided to try to pass Landy, Landy looked over his left shoulder to gauge Bannister’s position and Bannister burst past him on the right, never relinquishing the lead.
  • Bannister went on that season to win the so-called metric mile, the 1500 m, at the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, with a championship record in a time of 3 min 43.8 s. He retired from athletics late in 1954 to concentrate on his work as a junior doctor and to pursue a career in neurology.
  • Bannister later became the first Chairman of the Sports Council (now called Sport England) and was knighted for this service in 1975. Under his aegis, central and local government funding of sports centers and other sports facilities was rapidly increased.  He also initiated the first testing for use of anabolic steroids in sport.
  • Retiring from athletics, Bannister spent forty years practicing medicine. He ultimately published more than 80 papers, mostly concerned with the autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular physiology, and multiple system atrophy.  Bannister married the artist Moyra Jacobsson, daughter of the Swedish economist Per Jacobsson, who served as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.  In 2011, Bannister was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and died on March 3, 2018 at the age of 88.
  • On the 50th anniversary of running the sub-4-minute mile, Bannister was interviewed by the BBC’s sports correspondent Rob Bonnet. At the conclusion of the interview, Bannister was asked whether he looked back on the sub-4-minute mile as the most important achievement of his life. To the contrary, Bannister replied essentially that he instead saw his subsequent forty years of practicing as a neurologist and some of the new procedures he introduced as being more significant.
  • For his efforts, Bannister was made the inaugural recipient of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award for 1954. Later runners inspired by Bannister and his achievement, included Phil Knight who says that Roger Bannister inspired him to start Nike.
  • Today, according to The IAAF, the official body which oversees the records, Hicham El Guerrouj of Moracco is the current men’s record holder of the mile with his time of 3:43.13, while Russian Svetlana Masterkova has the women’s record of 4:12.56.