Short file photo [984]

Walter Short

Given NameWalter
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseLieutenant General Walter Campbell Short was the appointed to command Army operations and bases at Hawaii in Feb 1941. By the end of that year, Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo would strike Pearl Harbor and end Short's 40-year military career.

ww2dbaseShort was the assistant chief of staff to the Third Army during WW1. Between WW1 and the outbreak of WW2, he held a number of assignments of high importance, leading to his appointment at Hawaiian Department, the largest overseas Army department. While being an extremely efficient commander in terms of preparing his troops for war, Short himself was criticized in never preparing himself for an actual attack on Hawaii by the Japanese even though he was well aware of the threat (as shown by his decision to park his planes closely together to guard against possible Japanese saboteurs, which proved to be disastrous when the raid took place). After the Pearl Harbor attack, he was relieved of command by Washington on 17 Dec. His Quarter 5 residence, traditionally the commanding general's residence on Palm Circle, was occupied next by Lieutenant General Delos Emmons. Along with his Navy counterpart Husband Kimmel, Short was one of the principle scapegoats for the American unpreparedness for such an attack by the Japanese. Subsequent investigations, he was found to be guilty of errors of judgement and dereliction of duty. It was not until after his death before the United States Senate cleared his name (25 May 1999), although the Department of Defense continue to place the blame of the Pearl Harbor disaster on Short and Kimmel. "(Short and Kimmel) were denied vital intelligence that was available in Washington", said Senator William Roth, Jr., noting that they had been made into scapegoats in 1941 to lift blame from other high ranking officers. The attack on Pearl Harbor faced nine investigations, the national attention was clearly unjustly weighted on this single event when, for example, the same unpreparedness for Japanese aggression was equally as great at the Philippines. When President Roosevelt ordered Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts to head up the investigative commission, which was appropriately named the Robers Commission, many argue that Roosevelt had much political motivation in mind. By charging Short and Kimmel with failure to defend the important American military bases at Hawaii, Roosevelt paved himself a path to take military action against Japanese aggression that he had long wished to intervene, and cleared himself of any faults of his own for his re-election campaign in 1944.

ww2dbaseAfter being removed from command, Short retired from the Army and worked for Ford Motor Company. He passed away in 1949.

ww2dbaseSources: National Geographic, Talking Proud, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2005

Walter Short Timeline

23 Jan 1942 The Roberts Commission found Walter Short guilty of dereliction of duty for the Pearl Harbor disaster.


Portrait of Short, date unknown, photo 1 of 2Portrait of Short, date unknown, photo 2 of 2Walter Short, Louis Mountbatten, and Husband Kimmel, Aug 1941 in Hawaii. Behind are chiefs-of-staff Frederick Martin and Patrick Bellinger.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
6 Mar 2006 10:18:18 AM

cool site dude
2. ily God and Jesus says:
15 Jan 2008 08:03:49 PM

kewl site
3. FuFuCuddlyPoopS says:
5 Dec 2008 05:02:53 AM

Very interesting i knew Walter short came out as a coward but i believe i understated his superiority.
4. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
9 Mar 2009 11:31:46 AM

As a Military Commander, what was he thinking? in times of crisis, and uncertainty as to the intensions of a potential enemy, always have your forces on alert. Short should have had long range air patrols 24/7, even on a sunday!
5. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
9 Mar 2009 11:45:37 AM

Short should have had a "gut feeling" as to the intensions of the Japanese. An enemy always makes you think he somewhere else. Short should have acted on his own even if he was denied vital intelligence, there is still the question: where is the enemy. Lesson learned since 7 Dec. 1941 the U.S. is and should be on 24 hr. alert.
6. Tommy says:
28 Jan 2011 07:23:32 PM

Odium on the dude. His thinking was clearly on the threat of the local Japanese. Admiral Kimmel was supposed to do his part against the little country whose navy beat the navy of the biggest country in the world, Russia, in World War I. Depravities in town distracting the troops: Read "From Here to Eternity" a novel by James Jones made into a Hollywood Oscar winner for Frank Sinatra. General Short must be the U.S.A.'s biggest loser. Where are his kids and grand-kids today? Too bad we can't sympathize and blame FDR.
7. Anonymous says:
13 Mar 2011 03:01:44 PM

wat a dork
8. Anonymous says:
10 May 2011 09:38:26 AM

i like it
9. Christian short says:
2 Oct 2014 07:10:33 PM

He is in my family
10. Betsy says:
4 Jun 2015 01:46:47 PM

General Short and Admiral Kimmel should both be exonerated. Their careers proved they were loyal, patriotic and knew what they were doing. I don't know why anyone needed a scape goat, were there enough people hurt in the attack. If DC knew more than they told to the commanders they should have been the ones facing disgrace.
11. Sandy Short says:
7 Dec 2018 05:44:43 AM

He is my family as well. The government used him as a scapegoat for their own incompetence.

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More on Walter Short
Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor

Related Books:
» Pearl; December 7, 1941

Walter Short Photo Gallery
Portrait of Short, date unknown, photo 1 of 2
See all 3 photographs of Walter Short

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