Walter Campbell Short Collection of Pearl Harbor Materials Now Available for Research

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Walter Campbell Short

Walter Campbell Short
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Walter Campbell Short had led a successful military career. After he was dismissed and forced to retire, Short requested a formal court-martial in an attempt to clear his name; his request was never granted. (Walter Campbell Short papers, Box 5, Folder 7, Hoover Institution Archives)
By Paige Minister


The personal papers of Lieutenant General Walter Campbell Short are now open for research for the first time since the collection was acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1975. Lt. Gen. Short was commander of the US Army Hawaiian Department at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Immediately following the attack, Short was relieved of his command, reduced to the rank of major general, and forced to retire from the military.

The materials in the Walter Campbell Short Papers extend past Short’s death in 1949, including items collected by his wife, Isabel, and son, Walter Dean, relating to Short’s death as well as posthumous campaigns to exonerate Short and reinstate his rank of lieutenant general. The papers include letters of support received after the Pearl Harbor attack, other personal correspondence, certificates, photographs, writings, clippings, and several scrapbooks documenting his military career before World War II.

One significant item in the collection is Short’s official statement on the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, including exhibits, which was presented to Congress in 1946 as part of an investigation into the attack. The collection also includes congressional publications, maps, and other material related to the 1946 Pearl Harbor investigation, as well as the investigation conducted by the Roberts Commission in December 1941.

The Walter Campbell Short Papers offer a unique insight into the life of Lt. Gen. Short, often referred to as one of the scapegoats of Pearl Harbor, and the controversy surrounding the attack. This collection complements our other holdings on this topic, such as the Percy L. Greaves Papers and the Frank K. B. Wheeler Papers.