Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
Teaser Image

Kimmel, Husband Edward (1882–1968)

U.S. Navy admiral and commander of the Pacific Fleet at the time of the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Born in Henderson, Kentucky, on 26 February 1882, Husband Kimmel graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1904 and was commissioned an ensign in 1906. Over the next years, Kimmel served on battleships; participated in the 1914 intervention at Veracruz, Mexico; served as a naval aide to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt; and was staff gunnery officer for the American battleship squadron attached to the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet during World War I.

Kimmel, a highly regarded gunnery expert, rose to the rank of rear admiral in 1937 and served at the Naval Gun Factory; he also commanded a destroyer squadron, attended the Naval War College, commanded the battleship New York, and served as chief of staff of the battleships in the Battle Force. From 1937 to 1939, he was budget officer of the navy, and following command of a cruiser division and of cruisers in the Battle Force, Pacific Fleet, he was named commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in February 1941 as a full admiral. During the next months, Kimmel put the Pacific Fleet through a vigorous training program in preparation for a possible war with Japan and refined plans for offensive operations in the western Pacific if war came. Following the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, which put all of the Pacific Fleet's battleships out of commission, he was relieved of his command.

Kimmel has been the subject of considerable controversy for his actions preceding the Japanese attack. Several investigations and historians determined that he was too lax in his command and not sufficiently prepared for the possibility of war. Defenders—and Kimmel himself—believed he was made a scapegoat for the failures of Washington authorities, arguing that he was denied both crucial intelligence about deteriorating Japanese-American relations and adequate numbers of long-range reconnaissance aircraft.

On 1 March 1942, Kimmel retired in disgrace from the navy. Thereafter, he was employed by an engineering consulting firm until 1947. He died in Groton, Connecticut, on 14 May 1968.

John Kennedy Ohl


Further Reading
Gannon, Michael. Pearl Harbor Betrayed: The True Story of a Man and a Nation under Attack. New York: Henry Holt, 2001.; Kimmel, Husband E. Admiral Kimmel's Story. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1955.; Prange, Gordon W. At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.
 

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Introduction
  Essays
  A
  B
  C
  D
  E
  F
  G
  H
  I
  J
  K
  L
  M
  N
  O
  P
  Q
  R
  S
  T
  U
  V
  W
  X
  Y
  Z
  Documents Prior to 1938
  1939 Documents
  1940 Documents
  1941 Documents
  1942 Documents
  1943 Documents
  1944 Documents
  1945 Documents
  Images
ABC-cLIO Footer