Seventy-five years ago editor Ralph E. Fisher wrote an editorial which appeared on November 12, 1941 a little more than three weeks before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. We were so intrigued with his comments we thought we would reprint them for you on the anniversary of that Day of Infamy.
“We are unable to understand why the United States hasn’t made a formal declaration of war on someone. We know that is the old fashioned way of doing things and they aren’t running wars like they used to, but so far five of our ships have been sunk, about 150 of our sailors killed, and we are all out in our aid to England.
“The killing of one man or the sinking of one ship formerly constituted sufficient grounds for war. In fact, it used to be that if a nation talked to us using the tone Japan has been using the past few months, a lot of idling Americans would have rushed to the colors and demanded a fight.
“We can’t figure whether we are growing soft or growing smart. Personally, we don’t see any reason as yet for jumping in, but it is getting closer. Some West Virginians have already been listed as casualties and as soon as they list someone we know we’ll start getting hot under the collar.
“The one thing that bothers us is what activities our own Navy has been in since the start of ‘the shooting.’ We wonder how many belligerent submarines our depth bombs have silenced. As yet there has been no official denial of any sinkings, nor any admissions of any sinkings. We feel that the boys on the water haven’t been twiddling their thumbs while five of our ships have been sent to the bottom. We see that our country has asked Germany for a little item of two million dollars for sinking the Robin Moore, and we’re waiting for a bill from them for one of two subs.
“As we said before, the whole war is screwy and we are thinking that maybe with ninety percent of the world actively engaged in hammering someone we are missing something.
“They all say this war can’t last long because it costs so much, but the Nazis have been doing right smart fighting for two years and were supposed to be broke before the war started.
“What we would like to read about is news of just one good victory when the victory didn’t add up to the loss of three cities and a few hundred square miles of territory.”
Think about the timing again. The editorial was written 25 days before the Japanese surprised America with its attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 8, the United States declared war on Japan which hadn’t even been on the radar. Then 4 days later, on December 11, Germany declared war on the U. S. The United States was then fully involved in two theaters of war on opposite sides of the world.