Thursday, December 27, 2007

Isoroku Yamamoto - The Supreme Ironist?

I attach the words "the art of" to virtually any pursuit, if the processes of interpretive imagery and profound thinking are allied in order to communicate the results.
It may seem strange to apply "the art of" to the issue of War; however, in the case of Isoroku Yamamoto, one can, perhaps, see the case for argument:
He was born in Japan in 1884(Isoroku means "56", as his father was that age at the time of birth).
Like Bach, who due to poverty, copied manuscript so that he could read them later, Yamamoto did the same thing with books as a youth. After graduation from military school, he went to America and studied at Harvard, learned to play poker and got to understand and admire the cultural structure of the American. After going to the oil fields of Texas and the automobile industry in Detroit, he warned the leaders of the Japanese military factions that " we would not stand a chance of winning any war with America."
In his brilliant sense of imagery, Yamamoto foresaw sea battles decided by air power, not the great guns of the battleships. This was back in the 1920's.
He came back to America in 1925 as a naval officer of high rank; actually, about one fifth of his career was spent outside of Japan.
His admiration of America was represented by his constant recommendations of works about Lincoln because he was " such a humble man who fought all of his life for freedom."
Yamamoto constantly warned the right wing elements in Japan against disaster if they were to go to war against the U.S., and that the two countries should "do everything possible to avoid a clash." He also stated that Japan should never conclude any agreement with Nazi Germany. It may be difficult to believe, but there were militarists in Japan who were in agreement that Yamamoto should be done away with.
But; above all, Yamamoto saw himself as "a child of the Emperor", and was really made quite unassailable, becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet by order of Hirohito, the emperor.
What an irony! This inveterate admirer of America becomes the planner of Pearl Harbor. His hope was that the blow against the American fleet at Pearl would lead to negotiations with America. "I must do my duty, though I am filled with doubt as to the future."
Remember his prophetic words on Dec.7, 1941, when he learned that although the Japanese attack devastated the the American fleet, no aircraft carriers were there, and with his conviction that air power would decide naval wars, he said "all I'm afraid we've done is to awaken a sleeping giant. and fill him with a terrible resolve". To me, these words from this man on the very first day of the war against America meant that Japan had already been defeated.
Another part of the supreme irony:
On April 18, 1943, Isoroku Yamamoto was the first commander-in-chief to be assassinated by air, when his plane was shot down by American P-38's flying out of the Solomon Islands.
A tale of supreme irony, it seems to me.

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