United States Army General. In December 1941, he was the commanding general of United States Army Forces in Hawaii, during the Pearl Harbor attack. Born in Fillmore, Illinois, he attended the University of Illinois, graduating there in 1901, and receiving a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. Prior to his assignment as Army Commander, Hawaii Department, in February 1941, he had several important assignments over his 40 year career. During World War I, he served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, to the Third Army. Ten days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was suspended from command pending an investigation into the Japanese attack, and in 1942, both he and Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel (senior Navy officer at Pearl Harbor) were found guilty of dereliction of duty by a Presidential Board of Investigation, and forcibly retired from the service. The Roberts Commission, established to look into the attack by President Franklin Roosevelt, determined that Short had failed in his duties by lining up the aircraft wingtip-to-wingtip, thus allowing Japanese planes an easy target, and had taken no specific actions to ward off an attack despite a "war warning" telegram sent to him and Kimmel two weeks before the attack. The two men were not allowed to testify, were not allowed to cross-examine any witnesses, and were not allowed to call any witnesses for their defense; legal experts stated that the Commission had but one goal, and that was to convict the two men of gross negligence in their duties. Both men did admit that sabotage by the large resident Japanese population then living in Hawaii was their primary concern and that the likelihood of a Japanese bombing attack was extremely remote. Kimmel was retired at the rank of Rear Admiral (two ranks reduced), and Short was retired as a Major General (one rank reduced). Following his forced retirement, Short then worked for the Ford Motor Company, and died at his home in Dallas, Texas. On May 25, 1999, the United States Senate passed a resolution exonerating both Kimmel and Short, noting that both men had been denied intelligence about a pending Japanese attack and had been made scapegoats for the military's failure to be prepared. While both men have been nominated several times for a presidential pardon, no president has acted on the request.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Isabel Dean Short