Its not a good idea to poke a napping lion. Or, as Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is erroneously said to have quipped, "awake a sleeping giant". But poke it they did, and in so doing, the Empire of Japan virtually guaranteed American involvement in WWII, and ushered in a tremendous era of horror, change, and ultimate victory over those who sought to unleash unspeakable acts on innocent human lives.
December 7, 1941 was a day like any other.
Beautiful, clear and mild, the Hawaiian morning was much like so many that came before it; bright sunshine, light breeze, and the stir of casual activity as the inhabitants of the island chain awakened. Hawaii, as in most of early 1940s America, was sparsely populated and generally languid and peaceful. Some might say inattentive. Typically, Americans went to bed at night with the absolute certainty that no offshore threat could possibly reach the massive, geographically well-protected country.
The dawn of the tumultuous twentieth century put a sudden and unpleasant stop to all that. Global territorial incursions and spats ratcheted up as nation after nation became increasingly twitchy about their border security and elbow room. Japan was peevish about any close neighbor, and did not appreciate the American presence in the Pacific. In an audacious and risky wager, Japanese plans were laid to intimidate the Americans out of the region by launching a terrifying and overwhelming attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. The American military was distinctly caught off guard. Catastrophic and shocking communications failures, naive diplomacy, bad timing, and utter disbelief combined to stymie and hinder the U.S. response long enough to result in the deaths of over 2400 American servicemen.
Fortune does favor the bold, however, and for the day, the Empire of Japan was certainly the winner. But in a brutal, long war that left almost no corner of the globe untouched, every American man, woman and child was instantly transformed into a warrior. The victory for the Land of the Rising Sun was short-lived, for at the end of the day, the Japanese people paid heavily, suffering misery of tremendous proportions for what amounted to a single, lucky punch.
Read more about the American Homefront efforts in John Bloom and the Victory Garden, available on Amazon Kindle books! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OKMZ8G0