Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A Spokane senator foresaw conflict in the Pacific — 21 years before Pearl Harbor

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 14, 2020

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

U.S. Sen. Miles Poindexter of Spokane was already contemplating the possibility of war with Japan, 21 years before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Poindexter told a Walla Walla audience that West Coast defenses and Pacific island defenses needed to be bolstered.

“The defenses of the island of Guam must be looked after and in event of war with Japan, the holder of the Philippine Islands would be the power in control of the seas,” Poindexter said. “A naval power is only as strong as its supply bases.”

Poindexter also said that a development of a naval yard was underway in Bremerton. Also, an “outpost” was contemplated at Ediz Hook in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

He added that the outpost and a submarine base would be needed to guard the Bremerton navy yard and Puget Sound as a whole.

Poindexter served on the naval affairs committee. Poindexter acknowledged rumors that he might be chosen by President Warren G. Harding to be Secretary of the Interior, but said he “preferred to remain in the Senate.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1864: During the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman began their “March to the Sea” from Atlanta; the campaign ended with the capture of Savannah on Dec. 21.

1966: The flight of Gemini 12, the final mission of the Gemini program, ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic after spending four days in orbit.

More from this author