Home > Encyclopedia > Stark, Harold R.

Admiral Stark, Harold R.

Admiral Stark was Chief of Naval Operations, based in Washington, D.C. He was nick-named "Betty". In March 1940 he informed the Commander in Chief Pacific Admiral James O. Richardson (Richardson, James O.) that it was possible that the Pacific Fleet would be ordered to shift its base to Pearl Harbor. Richardson's protests, his criticisms of the Oahu facilities and his effort to by-pass Stark, led to his replacement by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel (Kimmel, Husband E.) ealy in 1941. In the increasing international tension it is surprising that Stark was not aware that Kimmel did not have MAGIC, the means to read the Japanese code Purple, and was not monitoring messages emerging from the Japanese espionage activity in Hawaii. Stark did anticipate war, in which case the Pacific Fleet was to implement WPL-46, a plan to harass Japan with attacks on her eastern front, the Marshall and Caroline Islands. The possibility of attack on Pearl Harbor was, in spite of strong evidence, neglected. Stark did, however, suggest anti-torpedo nets might be used, but was told the harbor was too shallow for the weapons to work. A war warning was sent to Kimmel on 27 November directing him to be ready to implement WPL-46. The information that local Japanese spies had been told to send details of ship locations and movements was not shared with Kimmel. An investigation by a commission under Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts held Stark and General George C. Marshall (Marshall, George C.) blameless, but Stark was transferred to Europe in March 1942.

See also: espionage; Kimmel, Husband E.; MAGIC; Marshall, George C.; Oahu; Pacific Fleet; Pearl Harbor; Purple; Richardson, James O.; anti-torpedo net

You can find out more about Admiral Harold R. Stark in the following Osprey book:

CAMPAIGN 62 Pearl Harbor 1941