"The Secretary inquired as to whether or not incendiary bombs could be used inasmuch as the Japanese cities were all made of just wood and paper." 

- Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., December 21, 1940


The Author

              Alan Armstrong is an aviation lawyer who practices in Atlanta.  In addition to practicing law, he flies as a pilot in the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. Among other aircraft, he flies a North American SNJ-4 (Texan) that was specially modified for the 20th Century Fox film, Tora! Tora! Tora!

          Around the year 2000, Alan became intrigued with the idea of developing a story concerning the exploits and activities of Claire Chennault and the American Volunteer Group (also known as the Flying Tigers).  Tom Pandolfi, a collector of Flying Tigers materials, provided Alan with a collection of papers found in a desk drawer at the Pensacola Naval Air Station (the “Pensacola Papers”).  As Alan studied the papers, it became clear to him that there was more to the formation of the American Volunteer Group than merely providing fighter planes to China. 

          His curiosity aroused, Alan began ferreting out information from libraries and institutions throughout the United States dealing with Joint Army/Navy Board 355, Serial 691 (the “Joint Board Plan” or the “Plan”).  The Diary of Henry Morgenthau, Jr., obtained from the Roosevelt Presidential Library, along with the Joint Board Plan, clearly demonstrated that America was formulating a plan to mount preemptive bombing raids on Japan before the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The principal architect of this plan was Captain Claire Lee Chennault.  Chennault had retired from the Army Air Corps in 1937.  Then, Chennault began his exploits as a soldier of fortune in the employ of the Chinese government as China struggled to avoid being crushed by the forces of Japan in the undeclared Second Sino-Japanese War. 

       After writing several film proposals and screenplay synopses, two of Alan’s friends, Bill Wages and Phil Bellury, suggested that Alan write a book dealing with his findings in terms of the Chinese-American bombing initiative directed toward Japan before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

           Beginning in or about the month of January, 2004, Alan devoted as much time as possible to drafting a manuscript that was entitled:  Preemptive Strike – The Secret Plan to Bomb Japan Before the Attack on Pearl Harbor.   The majority of this manuscript was written in approximately nine months.  Eventually, Lyons Press, a division of Globe Pequot Press, agreed to publish Alan’s manuscript.  In time, it was re-titled:  Preemptive Strike – The Secret Plan That Would Have Prevented the Attack on Pearl Harbor.  With the assistance of Holly Rubino at Lyons Press, Richard L. Dunn and Skipper Steeley, Alan’s initial manuscript underwent massive revisions between September of 2005 and March of 2006.  These revisions included not only stylistic and story-flow revisions, but also a considerable amount of data uncovered by Mr. Dunn dealing with the Chinese-American bombing initiative, the extensive construction of bomber bases in China, intelligence reports from the Naval and Air Attachés in China and in Japan, and the buildup of fuel stores in China.  Additionally, Mr. Dunn found the four radio circulars from Tokyo to Japanese Headquarters in Southeast Asia concerning information being leaked to Japan by a spy in or near Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Government.  Alan also received from Thomas Kimmel (grandson of Admiral Kimmel) Japanese radio messages decoded by American cryptographers before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

        Although developed, the Joint Board Plan was not timely executed.  Alan’s work explains the struggles of Chennault, Roosevelt and their confederates as they attempted to deal Japan a preemptive blow before the attack on Pearl Harbor, but failed.

        Alan’s research clearly demonstrates that America developed an offensive military initiative in concert with China, Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies to reduce Japan as a power in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific before the outbreak of hostilities on December 7, 1941.  This reduction of Japanese influence would be accomplished in two spheres.  First, America imposed a total trade embargo against Japan in late July of 1941.   At or about the same time, specifically on July 23, 1941, President Roosevelt signed the Joint Board Plan.  On the same day the Joint Board Plan was signed by President Roosevelt, his aide, Dr. Lauchlin Currie, cabled the American Embassy in Chungking to deliver a message to Madame Chiang declaring that China would receive sixty-six bombers, with twenty-four bombers to be delivered immediately.

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