British Espionage (Provocateurs) Behind Pearl Harbor
The U.S. Navy battleship USS California ablaze at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. (Photo: Reuters)
Former British servicemen and officials may have passed on to the Japanese intelligence and training to aid in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, according to a new BBC documentary produced by Paul Elston.
Elston says the espionage had its roots in the early 1920s, during a legal British air mission to Japan. That program provided the Japanese with training on the use of aircraft carriers. British servicemen taught their Japanese counterparts how to fly on and off the decks of carriers and how to sink ships using air bombardment and torpedoes.
Washington forced an end to the program. But some British officials who had formed very strong links with the Japanese carried on supplying them with information and technology long after it was legitimate.
“They were certainly being paid,” says Elston. “But I think there was a strong ideological link, certainly in the case of this British aristocrat Lord Sempill was his name. He developed an affinity with the Japanese, but he also had an affinity with right wing militarist regimes.”
Elston adds, “In a word, I think he thought Britain was fighting the wrong war.”