Pearl Harbor Harbinger

One-hundred and ten years ago today, February 3, 1907, was a Sunday, so neither the Norwalk Daily Reflector nor the Norwalk Evening Herald published a paper. We’ll take advantage of this break in Norwalk news to look at an international event that both newspapers reported on extensively the previous week: the threat of war with Japan.


Early in 1907, tensions between the U.S. and Japan were near a boiling point due to a series of actions by the state of California to expand the Chinese Exclusion Act to ban the immigration of Japanese and Koreans. Especially galling to the Japanese government was a decision by the San Francisco school board to exclude the children of Japanese immigrants.

On Wednesday, February 1, 1907, the Norwalk Daily Reflector reported that while the Roosevelt administration was attempting to resolve this crisis, the military were lobbying to increase spending to beef up defenses in the Pacific, telling congressmen that:

. . . on the declaration of war, Japan would seize the Philippines, take Hawaii and try to occupy Alaska. With the Philippines once in the possession of the Japanese, it is asserted that the navy would have to build up to retake it, and that this would prolong the struggle anywhere from two to five years.

It is eerie how accurate this warning seems to us today. All week, the papers in Norwalk and across the nation reported breathlessly on the possibility of conflict between the two nations, and attempts by both sides to avoid it. But war would not come for another thirty-four years. So what prevented it. We’ll discuss that in a future post.


“War with Japan is Inevitable,” February 1, 1907, The Norwalk Daily Reflector, page 1, column 1.

“Jap Ambassador Delivers Practical Ultimatum,” The Norwalk Evening Herald, February 1, 1907, page 1, column 6.

“Japanese Scoff at War Scare,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, February 2, 1907, page 1, column 2

“Scare May Build Ships,” The Norwalk Evening Herald,” February 2, 1907, page 1, column 3.


Please like this post and let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you.


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