A Date Which Will Live In Infamy
December 7, 1941. "A date which will live in infamy," President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it. The attack's 80th anniversary is this month.
Infamy. Webster's Dictionary defines infamy as: "evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal."
From the U.S. perspective, the Japanese 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor definitely fits that definition.
The Japanese elites -- other than Adm. Isoruku Yamamoto -- thought the sneak attack would do two things. The semi-sane bean counters thought it would destroy America's Pacific Ocean fleet and make retribution (counterattack on Japan) impossible, or at least improbable.
The total whack-job, imperial-emperor virtue-signaling Tokyo elites thought the attack would utterly frighten feckless, libertine, paper-tiger American cowards into retreating from Asia and submitting to Japanese racialist-globalist superiority.
Back to Pearl. The brainy Yamamoto, who designed the tactical success at Pearl Harbor? The gifted strategist in him may not have said "don't awaken the sleeping giant" -- giant meaning the U.S. That quote may have been apocryphal, but the next one isn't. After a Pearl Harbor-type attack Yamamoto said, "I can run wild for six months ... after that, I have no expectation of success."
That's prescient fact. The Battle of Midway occurred six months after the Pearl Harbor debacle. Four Japanese carriers went to the bottom, and with their demise went Japan's offensive capacity.
"Offensive capacity" in WWII Pentagonese means being able to put Zeros over L.A. or Portland.
However, Pearl Harbor was more of a culmination than a surprise.
In the late summer of 1945, historians Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager reflected on the WWII's origins. In a short article published in November 1945, they wrote, "The explanation (for WWII) was to be found in the breakdown in the system of collective security and the growth of international anarchy, moral and political, in the post-war years." Post-war meant post-WWI, the war to end all wars.