Even seventy-five years on from the attack on Pearl Harbor, questions remained about how the world’s most powerful nation was caught by surprise. This Secret History documentary from 2016 reveals new insight into what Washington knew before the attack, and whether Churchill and Roosevelt conspired to allow it to happen.
Within the space of two hours, the devastating assault by Japanese forces left nearly 2500 people dead and 19 ships destroyed or damaged. An investigation ordered by President Roosevelt found Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, guilty of dereliction of duty. With his career in ruins, Kimmel became a broken man. But was he really to blame?
Now, new research reveals what Washington knew prior to the attack and uncovers a crucial dossier that could have prevented it. Pearl Harbor also changed the course of the war at home. As Britain stood alone in the fight against Nazi Germany, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was desperate for military support from the US, which was outwardly committed to peace. The events of Pearl Harbor – and America’s subsequent entry into World War II – gave rise to conspiracy theories that Churchill had colluded with President Roosevelt to allow it to happen. With the help of new research, this programme conclusively answers these questions.
Built around the countdown to the attack, the film unfolds as a political thriller as Admiral Kimmel fought to clear his name, telling the extraordinary story of a top-secret US military project that tracked Japanese spy operations directly on the Hawaiian base. Working with Pulitzer-nominated authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, the documentary has exclusive access to the story told in their new book A Matter of Honor: a journalistic investigation of Pearl Harbor based on startling new evidence from thousands of newly unearthed documents, letters and photos.
Director: Joanne MacGregor
Executive Producer: Ashley Potterton
Production Company: Arrow International
Pearl Harbor: The New Evidence airs on Saturday 4 November 2017 from 8.00pm-9.00pm on Channel 4.