December 07, 2023

Pearl Harbor Day

Timothy Birdnow

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the 82nd  anniversary of the sneak attack on America by the Empire of Japan, turning what had been a European war into WWII.

2400 people died in the attack, a record number until the 911 attacks in 2001. (The deadliest battle in American history was Antietam with 3,675 killed,but that was purely a military engagement and was fought entirely by Americans.)

At any rate today marks the American entry into the War.

The sad thing is America had broken the Japanese code, but in the flurry of messages were unable to get the information in time.

Fortunately  the Roosevelt Administration suspected danger and had many of the ships out on maneuvers when the attack came - or they got lucky.

Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the plan, had never wanted to attack the U.S. Yamamoto had  attended Harvard from 1919 to 1921 and had seen the awesome industrial might of America, and the toughness of the American People. He knew Japan couldn't win a protracted war.

His plan was aquick, decisive strike; destroy  the American fleet, then invade California. He knew America had not been invaded since the War of 1812 and the shock of foreign troops on American soil would be enough to get the country to make a peace deal - one with VERY generous terms. In fact Yamamoto figured the Japanese would probably lose ground on the peaqce deal BUT would get a guarantee the Americans would leave them alone in Asia.

Yamamoto said he would run wild for six months and then the industrial power of America would turn the tide; the war needed to be over before then.

It wasn't. And Yamamoto would be killed at Bougainville, New Guinea, when his plane was shot down by a P-38 shell (in what was known as "Operaton Vengeance").

At any rate Yamamoto'sworst fears were realized and American industrial might kept producing new ships, new planes, new guns while America's higher population meant they could keep sending men to die while every Japanese soldier was a loss Japan could not spare.

I wrote about this years ago, about how  a series of American decisions and actions, starting with Commodore Perry, led us to Pearl Harbor. Read it here.

Brave and honorable if cruel, the Japanese warriors had little respect for the Americans until they came face to face with us. It wasn't just technology and weapons that made America win the war, and they learned about the bravery and strength and fortitude of the American solodier in due course.

So on this Pearl Harbor day let us hoist a glass in memory of the brave soldiers, and of those who perished in the vile sneak attack.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:05 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 And we might also hoist a cup of sake in honor of the Japanese, who eventually became our friends after the war -- allies, even, because we handled the occupation decently and eventually helped them become an industrial powerhouse. It's true that the Big Three auto makers are no longer GM, Ford and Chrysler, but that's THEIR fault for falling asleep while J. Edwards Deming was showing the Japanese how to manufacture cars the right way, and Detroit refused to learn. Oh, and there were the unions, too...

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 09, 2023 12:34 AM (XtojG)

2 Yep.Japan was a great student while we rejected the things that had made us great.Of course, as good students, Japan is now mired in Keynsian economics and her economy has been in the  toilet since,but that's another story.

But I'll hoist a glass to Japan - but not sake, which tastes more like sweat sockie if you ask me.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 09, 2023 09:46 AM (QdmPZ)

3 Sake accompanies sushi wonderfully -- Martha and I swear by it. That's the only time we drink it, and it has to be hot. I think the only other thing that might go well with sushi would be a light white wine; maybe a pinot grigio.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 09, 2023 11:54 PM (XtojG)

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