Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On This Date, 70 Years Ago...

It was a Sunday in 1941; specifically Dec. 7th, that the forces of Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into the Second World War.
Our entry into history's greatest conflict resulted in some truly significant events; for instance, a solution to the lingering depression in America, due to an almost immediate conversion from a peace-time industry to that of a war-engendered necessity.
From my view, another more significant issue emanating from Pearl Harbor was the ultimate assurance that Imperial Japan's geopolitical aims would be transmogrified into their utter defeat.
I go back to a generation or so before Dec.7, 1941, when a brilliant young Japanese naval officer warned the militants coming to power "never to go to war with America." This he said on more than one occasion after having spent a couple of years in America studying at Harvard, and visiting the oil fields in Texas and the industries in Detroit. He understood that the resources in the United States would overcome an enemy in any future conflict. He also prophesied that "the next naval war would be decided in the air."
This military visionary would be proven correct:
Within six months of Pearl Harbor, Japan's dreams of conquest in the Pacific were shattered at the Battle of Midway, where the opposing battleships and aircraft carriers were never in sight of one another - it was America's air power that permanently destroyed Japan's offensive naval capabilities. From that time on, America began its offensive operations that ultimately defeated Imperial Japan just three years later.
Another pregnant statement came from this visionary on Dec. 7th, when he received word that the two aircraft carriers America had in the Pacific were not berthed that fateful day at Pearl Harbor. They were out at sea, therefore escaping destruction.
This man of vision then remarked "all I fear that we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
Were these the words of a man who, on the very first day of the war, knew that America would not lose this war?
This remarkable man was the planner of the Pearl Harbor attack - the very same man to warn his nation never to engage America in conflict; but nevertheless, and without hesitation, went to war, as the overriding reality was that he "was a son of the Emperor."
His name - Isoroku Yamamoto.

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