SHOUT OUT: “Operation Snow,” Glen Rock author John Koster’s behind-the-scenes account of the attack on Pearl Harbor, is being released in a new paperback edition as the lead book Regnery Publishing’s World War II collection on May 4.
Based on federal papers from the Seeley G. Mudd Library at Princeton and original translations from Russian, Japanese and Korean documents, “Operation Snow” tells how Harry Dexter White, a key U.S. Treasury official, took orders from Vitalii Pavlov, a Soviet agent and later a lieutenant general of the KGB, to start a war between the United States and Japan.
As Koster tells it, the Soviets in spring of 1941 anticipated an immediate attack by Nazi Germany and didn’t want to fight a war on two fronts — against the Germans and their European allies in Poland and the Ukraine and against Japan in Mongolia and Siberia.
Meeting for a late breakfast at the Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC, White and Pavlov passed notes across the table, “Operation Snow” says.
White, acting on behalf of the Soviets, then ramped up the pressure to offend and threaten Japan, which wasn’t yet involved in the European conflict, Koster wrote.
“At one point Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the U.S. State Department and the Japanese had almost negotiated a stand-down that could have ended Japan’s war on China and the U.S. oil embargo against Japan,” Koster said..
“But Harry Dexter White drafted a desperate midnight note to Roosevelt, to be signed and submitted through White’s boss, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, FDR’s best friend, urging Roosevelt to stand tough and maintain the oil embargo and credit freeze against Japan at all costs.
“White posed as a great friend of China because Roosevelt saw himself as a great friend of China,” he added. “But the deal that the Japanese cabinet had offered due to FDR’s embargo pressure and general war weariness would have allowed the Japanese to gradually evacuate China, except for Manchuria, and would have allowed Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalist to end the war with Japan and go back to fighting Communism.
“Harry Dexter White made as sure as shootin’ that we got into a war with Japan that benefited Communism but killed millions of Chinese, millions of Japanese, and 100,000 American service personnel in the Pacific,” Koster wrote.
“The break-up of the anti-Communist Japanese Empire led to two more wars and another 100,000 dead Americans in indecisive wars to keep Communism out of South Korea and South Viet Nam,” he added.
Several other authors, including Benn Steil of the Council on Foreign Relations in “The Battle of Bretton Woods” and the late Herbert Romerstein in “Stalin’s Secret Agents,” have confirmed that Harry Dexter White was the key instigator of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Koster noted.
“PBS still hasn’t gotten the message through to the viewing public,” he said. “Within the past year we’ve seen an excellent 14-hour documentary on the Roosevelt Family by Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward which never mentioned Henry Morgenthau Jr. and a two-hour documentary on the Morgenthau Family which never once mentioned Harry Dexter White.”
“Operation Snow” has gotten favorable reviews from Admiral Ronald J. Hays, former commander of Pacific Forces, from American Studies Professor Louise Barnett of Rutgers, and from a number of Russian, Polish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese anti-Communists.
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