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According to an article in the 22 Jan 1967 NYT, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. paid $150,000 for screen rights to Ladislas Farago’s book, The Broken Seal, scheduled to be published by Random House on 16 Mar 1967. Farago’s deal included a bonus schedule of up to $50,000, depending on how well the book sold. The author claimed Twentieth Century-Fox had been involved in the project during the two years he had spent writing and researching “Japanese and American source material covering secret code activities from 1920 through the end of 1941.” By Jan 1967, screenwriter Larry Forrester had already completed a treatment for the screenplay. Fox subsequently secured rights to Gordon W. Prange’s upcoming book, Tora! Tora! Tora! (which translates to “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!”), named after the Japanese phrase that had been used to indicate the success of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II (WWII). Prange’s book had originally been published in Japan in 1966, where it had become a best-seller, and was due to be released by McGraw-Hill in summer 1969.
       Twentieth Century-Fox planned to tell the story of the Pearl Harbor attack via a large, ensemble cast, as it had portrayed the Normandy invasion (a.k.a. “D-Day”) in The Longest Day (1962, see entry). Elmo Williams, who had served as associate producer and coordinator of battle sequences on The Longest Day, was brought on to produce. Although an early budget was set at $15 million, the number climbed to $20 million, as stated in the 25 Aug 1968 LAT, and again to $22 million by 5 Dec 1968, according to that ... More Less

According to an article in the 22 Jan 1967 NYT, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. paid $150,000 for screen rights to Ladislas Farago’s book, The Broken Seal, scheduled to be published by Random House on 16 Mar 1967. Farago’s deal included a bonus schedule of up to $50,000, depending on how well the book sold. The author claimed Twentieth Century-Fox had been involved in the project during the two years he had spent writing and researching “Japanese and American source material covering secret code activities from 1920 through the end of 1941.” By Jan 1967, screenwriter Larry Forrester had already completed a treatment for the screenplay. Fox subsequently secured rights to Gordon W. Prange’s upcoming book, Tora! Tora! Tora! (which translates to “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!”), named after the Japanese phrase that had been used to indicate the success of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II (WWII). Prange’s book had originally been published in Japan in 1966, where it had become a best-seller, and was due to be released by McGraw-Hill in summer 1969.
       Twentieth Century-Fox planned to tell the story of the Pearl Harbor attack via a large, ensemble cast, as it had portrayed the Normandy invasion (a.k.a. “D-Day”) in The Longest Day (1962, see entry). Elmo Williams, who had served as associate producer and coordinator of battle sequences on The Longest Day, was brought on to produce. Although an early budget was set at $15 million, the number climbed to $20 million, as stated in the 25 Aug 1968 LAT, and again to $22 million by 5 Dec 1968, according to that day’s LAT. The final budget of $25 million made Tora! Tora! Tora! the second most expensive American film to that time, after Cleopatra (1963, see entry). By the time it was finished, the script called for an estimated 244 cast members. In discussing potential lead actors, Elmo Williams noted that the only performer who had fought at Pearl Harbor, to his knowledge, was Jason Robards, Jr., whom he believed was appropriate for “a number of the top roles.” Although the 16 Oct 1968 Var stated that Robards, Jr. would play himself, the actor was ultimately cast in the role of “Gen. Walter C. Short.” According to the 20 Apr 1969 LAT, Rod Steiger was mentioned as a potential addition to the cast.
       While in development, Tora! Tora! Tora! was devised as two complete films, to be intercut together. An article in the 25 May 1967 DV stated that one section would be told from the American point of view – to be directed by Richard Fleischer – and the other from the Japanese perspective – to be written and directed by Akira Kurosawa, in his first American-made picture and his first to be shot in color. An article in the 16 Oct 1968 Var also deemed Tora! Tora! Tora! the first picture to be made by two enemy countries about their first battle.
       In the 25 Aug 1968 LAT, Elmo Williams acknowledged some “heated moments” had transpired between him and Kurosawa, via translator, over scenes in Kurosawa’s script, co-written in Japanese (to be subtitled in English) by Hideo Oguni and Ryuzo Kikushima. The American producer stressed the importance that they retell events exactly as they had happened in real life, and rejected some of Kurosawa’s additions as excessive and uninteresting to the American audience. According to the 16 Oct 1968 Var, the only invented scene in the final script involved a “discussion between two American sailors about the International Date Line.”
       In late Jul or early Aug 1967, Williams met with Kurosawa and Richard Fleischer in Hawaii. There, they scouted locations and discussed the script, which was rumored to be 360 pages, or the written equivalent of a six-hour film. Although the 25 Aug 1968 LAT listed Mitchell Lindemann as Forrester’s co-writer on the American screenplay, Lindemann did not receive credit on the final film.
       While awaiting word from the Department of Defense on whether or not it would cooperate on the project, Williams’s team embarked on a worldwide search for WWII aircraft, including “38 flying fortresses, P-40’s, Vultee AT6’s, and North American VT13’s,” all of which were set to be destroyed in staged battle scenes. The search for Japanese planes, including bombers, torpedo planes, and “Zero,” “Kate,” and “Val” models, led production aides as far as the Caroline Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The 16 Aug 1968 LAT specified that Fox would buy or lease sixty-four WWII-era aircraft, and the 4 Oct 1968 DV stated that seventy-five planes would go to Hawaii, and another thirty would go to Japan for filming. The 25 Aug 1968 LAT indicated the fleet of airplanes would represent “the largest air armada ever assembled for an American film.” Fox received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly prototype airplanes that were being built on the studio lot, to airports in Long Beach and Oxnard, CA. One trial run resulted in a plane, piloted by U.S. Air Force Col. Sy Bartlett, crashing into Fox’s advertising building. Bartlett and others were unharmed. The 20 Apr 1969 LAT stated that forty-one pilots, who were mostly on leave from the U.S. Air Force and Navy, worked on the film. Prior to shooting, two pilots were killed in the line of duty. One of them died in late summer 1968 while “ferrying an aircraft over Pennsylvania”; the other perished during a training exercise.
       Period-specific Japanese warships proved difficult to locate since all but one that had been used in Pearl Harbor were sunk. The paucity necessitated that Japanese crewmembers build sections of ships at Japanese shipyards, and, according to the 16 Oct 1968 Var, a full-size replica of the battleship Soryu, which had since been renamed Nagata. For the Hawaii fleet, Richard Fleischer procured privately owned battleships, and also planned to use “service ships and old destroyers that are no longer fit for use in Vietnam.” As noted in the 7 Dec 1968 LAT, American crew were set to build a full-scale model of the USS Arizona’s stern half, and the “mast superstructure” of the USS Tenessee, at the Dillingham Corp. shipyard in Honolulu, HI. The models were to be towed to Pearl Harbor for filming by mid-Feb 1969.
       On 4 Dec 1968, DV confirmed that the U.S. Navy would cooperate with the production, lending its aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown, to double as a Japanese carrier. As stated in the 5 Feb 1969 LAT, the following vessels, “all bound for the scrapyard,” would be rented from the Navy between Feb and Mar 1969: the destroyers USS Philip, USS Sproston, USS Brister, and USS Newell; and the minesweeper, USS Sheldrake.
       Principal photography began on 7 Dec 1968 in Kyoto, Japan, as reported in a 28 Mar 1969 DV production chart. In Tokyo, filming was also planned to take place at the Imperial Palace, where film crews had never before been allowed to shoot interiors, according to a 29 Aug 1968 LAT. After only a few weeks of filming, it was announced that Kurosawa had left the project due to exhaustion. The 25 Dec 1968 NYT claimed the director had spent the past week in the hospital. However, by mid-Apr 1969, LAT was reporting that the Kurosawa had actually been fired after twenty-two days of shooting. It was noted that, prior to filming, he and Williams had struggled through twenty-seven versions of the Japanese script; an article in the 14 Jan 2012 Daily News [Lebanon, PA] echoed this assertion, stating that the relationship between Kurosawa and Williams had begun to sour after Kurosawa had handed in a script that would have made the Japanese portion four hours in length.
       Following reports of his “exhaustion,” Kurosawa maintained that he had been forced to leave over creative differences, although the decision was likely financial as well; Williams stated that in the twenty-two days he had worked on the picture, Kurosawa had only delivered “seven-and-a-half minutes of unedited film.” In its 7 Sep 1998 obituary for Kurosawa, NYT noted rumors that the renowned director had thrown temper tantrums on set while making impossible demands, which had caused mutiny among Japanese crewmembers. Some believed Kurosawa had thrown the tantrums in order to get fired, as he had wanted to leave the project ever since learning David Lean would not serve as his co-director – something Fox had allegedly promised. An article in the 22 Dec 1985 Philadelphia Inquirer also noted Kurosawa’s disappointment over having to work with Fleischer instead of Lean, and stated that, in the wake of his ousting, Fox canceled a plans for a future project based on Kurosawa’s script, Runaway Train, which was eventually made into a film by Andre Konchalovsky (1985, see entry).
       In the wake of Kurosawa’s departure, Japanese filming was postponed but the American shoot went on as planned, beginning in Hawaii on 5 Feb 1969, as noted in that day’s LAT, with “action filming” supervised by second unit director Ray Kellogg. A total of twenty-three Hawaiian locations were chosen, including Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Hickam Field, and Wheeler Field. Shooting was also slated for eight locations in Washington, D.C., and the remainder of filming was set to take place at Fox studios in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles.
       On 12 Apr 1969, while filming was still underway in Hawaii, seven background actors were burned during a staged battle sequence on the USS Arizona replica (which also stood in for the USS West Virginia, USS Oklahoma, and USS Nevada, according to the 20 Apr 1969 LAT ). The accident was caused by unexpected trade winds that redirected flames from planned explosions into an area where the seven men were stationed. The 15 Apr 1969 LAT stated that only one person suffered serious burns, while the others “were able to walk away”; however, the 21 May 1969 Var reported that six men had been hospitalized with burns. All seven victims filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Fox, as announced in the 29 Oct 1969 Var, alleging “their cries for help were ignored,” and negligent “agents and employees” of the studio did not give them medical attention until thirty minutes after the injuries were first occurred. The men’s claims, which sought monies in addition to Workmen’s Compensation, were ultimately denied in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Feb 1973.
       As of mid–Apr 1969, filming had resumed in Japan. Locations there included the islands of Kyushu and Hokkaido. Kurosawa’s replacements, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, were reportedly beset by inclement weather and “skyrocketing production costs.”
       The 20 Apr 1969 LAT noted the controversial hiring of Gen. Minoru Genda, who was known for having planned the Pearl Harbor attack, as a technical advisor. On the U.S. side, Navy Cmdr. Haynes was also employed as a technical advisor. The Navy’s involvement subsequently came under attack when Columbia Broadcast System (CBS) aired an episode of the television newsmagazine, 60 Minutes (24 Sep 1968-- ), in which reporter Mike Wallace suggested the Navy’s cooperation on Tora! Tora! Tora! stemmed from its hope that the film would have “propaganda value.” The program revealed that the active-duty USS Yorktown, which normally would have been preparing for its next deployment or still serving in Vietnam, had sailed forty Japanese planes to be used in the film from San Diego, CA, to Honolulu, HI, and allowed its American officers to pose as Japanese seamen while cameras rolled. 60 Minutes also reported on the two pilots who had been killed, and the seven off-duty servicemen who had been burned in the 12 Apr 1969 accident on the mock USS Arizona. The segment contemplated whether or not enlisted servicemen should be asked to “risk injury and death” for a Hollywood movie, and if taxpayer money should go toward subsidizing what was described as “a $25,000,000 commercial for the Carrier Navy.” It was also noted that the Pentagon had initially refused to support the film, but that Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) president and former aide to Lyndon B. Johnson, Jack Valenti, had used his Washington, D.C., ties to overcome the initial decision.
       The 60 Minutes segment prompted an outcry from U.S. congressmen, including Rep. Sam M. Gibbons of Florida, who questioned whether Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird had donated the USS Yorktown’s services at a cost, to the military, of $40,000 per day. Rep. John Murphy of New York followed with accusations against Fox, which he believed had exploited military support. Murphy then proposed legislation (HR 11996) “to prohibit military cooperation with motion pictures.” Fox responded to Murphy’s numerous accusations in a telegram, denying that the film “glorified the enemy” by showing Japan in a favorable light; attesting that the servicemen who were burned on 12 Apr 1969 had been employed as paid actors and were therefore protected under the Workmen’s Compensation Act; explaining that the shift in winds that had caused the fire to spread could not have been predicted, and otherwise all safety requirements had been met; denying having purposely made light of the men’s injuries in the press; asserting that no ships had been diverted from duty to be used in the film; stating that servicemen had participated voluntarily, while off duty or on leave; confirming that an estimated $500,000 had been paid to the government for use of its services, property, and personnel; and clarifying that the pilots who had died while working on the film had not perished in the 12 Apr 1969 accident, but prior to filming. Fox continued to defend itself by spending $15,000 on two full-page advertisements in NYT and the Washington Post, as noted in the 17 Jun 1969 NYT, which also stated that filming had recently concluded on 6 Jun 1969.
       A 2 Jul 1969 DV article stated that the 1968 film, The Green Berets (see entry), had recently come under similar criticism for its failure to compensate the military properly for use of government assets. The Department of Defense’s audio-visual department head, Norman Hatch, responded to the outcry on both films by saying that “he could foresee no major changes in current Defense film cooperation policies.” He also denied that the Pentagon had ever refused to partake in Tora! Tora! Tora! Instead, he stated that the use of the USS Yorktown had been questioned, but after receiving Jack Valenti’s letters and reconsidering the issue, Defense aide Paul Nitze decided to allow the aircraft carrier to be utilized by Fox. A Congressional investigation into Tora! Tora! Tora! was launched at Representative Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.’s request. According to the 12 Dec 1969 LAT, it was found that Fox paid the U.S. Navy $313,000 for equipment use, in addition to $489,000 in wages for pilots and enlisted servicemen. An item in the 26 Sep 1970 LAT later reported that Rep. John M. Murphy had been “instrumental in forcing 20th Century-Fox to reimburse the Department of Defense $515,000.28.”
       Fox planned to promote the film with a $250,000 campaign, its largest advertising budget to date, according to the 6 Mar 1968 Var. A worldwide publicity office was established in Tokyo, Japan, to be headed by veteran publicist Theodore Taylor, who was credited onscreen as production coordinator. The advertising campaign was said to be modeled after Fox’s promotional push for The Longest Day.
       On 10 Oct 1969, DV reported that Fox chief Darryl Zanuck was spending weekends overseeing editing of the picture, which was currently over three hours. Although a 7 Dec 1969 opening was initially planned, the film was not released until 23 Sep 1970, when it debuted simultaneously at Los Angeles’s Pantages Theater and New York City’s Criterion Theatre. A Japanese premiere followed on 24 Sep 1970. The same night, a black-tie preview screening was held in Washington, D.C., attended by “wartime congressmen, government officials – and two Japanese who helped plan the attack,” as stated in the 26 Sep 1970 LAT. Rep. John M. Murphy was again vocal in his objection to the film, calling the event “an affront to Americans fighting in Vietnam.”
       In its 13 Oct 1970 issue, LAT suggested that box-office earnings were off to a good start. However, the 2 May 1990 Var noted that cumulative domestic film rentals only amounted to $14,530,000. The picture did prove to be a success at the Japanese box-office, with a cumulative gross of $3,150,000, according to the 25 Aug 1976 Var. At a cost of $25 million, Tora! Tora! Tora! continued to be one of the “top-budget films of all time” as of 22 Aug 1979, when a DV chart listed it among the twenty-one costliest American pictures in history.
       Although Tora! Tora! Tora! was met with largely negative reviews, A. D. Flowers and L. B. Abbott won an Academy Award for Special Visual Effects, and the film received four additional Academy Awards nominations for Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, and Sound.
       A restored Blu-ray home video version was released in 2011, the 6 Dec 2011 Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Although the digital restoration crew, headed by Schawn Belston, searched for Kurosawa’s footage, rumored to be “legendary,” they could not locate it and deduced that it no longer existed.
       The following people were listed as cast members in DV and LAT items published between 4 Nov 1968 and 15 Dec 1969: Japanese “industrialists and business personalities” Takeo Kagiya, Tsuguto Kitano, Daisaku Goto, Kazushige Hirasawa, Ban Ando, Yasuyoshi Obata, and Yoshio Miyoshi; Tsutomu Yamazaki, said to be cast in the role of “Comdr. Minoru Genda,” ultimately played by Tatsuya Mihashi; Col. Jonathan Ladd, who was reportedly cast in the role of “Gen. George C. Marshall,” portrayed in the final film by Keith Andes; Erhan Imset; Ralph Togashi; Shozo Inagaki; U.S. Army Major Wesley V. Geary, said to be cast in the role of “Doris Miller,” ultimately played by Elven Havard; Tom Middleton; Robert Herbeck; Victor Brandt; Ed Sheehan; Chief Gunner’s Mate Billy D. Allinson; Drew Handley; Edgar White; Ken Lynch; Walter Reed; and Joseph Kaufman. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1967
p. 1.
Daily Variety
25 May 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 May 1968
p. 6.
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Nov 1968
p. 10.
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1968
p. 21.
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1968
p. 13.
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1969
p. 8.
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1969
p. 6.
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1969
p. 16.
Daily Variety
1 Apr 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
18 Apr 1969
p. 50.
Daily Variety
23 May 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1969
p. 31.
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1969
pp. 10-11.
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1969
p. 14.
Daily Variety
6 Jan 1970
p. 1.
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1979
p. 8.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
6 Dec 2011.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Feb 1967
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
27 May 1967
Section B, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
16 Aug 1968
Section F, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
25 Aug 1968
Section C, p. 1, 14.
Los Angeles Times
29 Aug 1968
Section E, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
5 Dec 1968
Section D, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
7 Dec 1968
Section A, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
27 Dec 1968
Section F, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jan 1969
Section F, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
4 Jan 1969
Section B, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
5 Feb 1969
Section I, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
4 Apr 1969
Section H, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 1969
p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
20 Apr 1969
Section W, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1969
Section E, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
24 May 1969
Section B, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
27 May 1969
Section D, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
12 Dec 1969
Section I, p. 27.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1969
Section G, p. 31.
Los Angeles Times
23 Sep 1970
Section E, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
25 Sep 1970
Section H, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1970
Section A, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1970
Section E, p. 13.
New York Times
22 Jan 1967
p. 11.
New York Times
25 Dec 1968
p. 42.
New York Times
17 Jun 1969
p. 40.
New York Times
1 Jul 1970
p. 52.
New York Times
24 Sep 1970
p. 61.
New York Times
4 Oct 1970
p. 1, 7.
New York Times
7 Sep 1998
Section A, p. 1, 15.
Philadelphia Inquirer
22 Dec 1985
p. 16.
The Daily News [Lebanon, PA]
14 Jan 2012.
---
Variety
6 Mar 1968
p. 35.
Variety
16 Oct 1968
p. 30.
Variety
21 May 1969
p. 47.
Variety
29 Oct 1969
p. 26.
Variety
23 Sep 1970
p. 13, 22.
Variety
14 Apr 1971
p. 11.
Variety
25 Aug 1976
p. 34.
Variety
2 May 1990
p. 120.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Elmo Williams-Richard Fleischer Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dir of Japanese seq
Dir of Japanese seq
Asst dir for Japanese seq
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod for Japanese seq
Assoc prod for Japanese seq
Assoc prod for Japanese seq
WRITERS
Scr for Japanese seq
Scr for Japanese seq
PHOTOGRAPHY
Aerial photog
Dir of photog
Photog for Japanese seq
Photog for Japanese seq
Photog for Japanese seq
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir for Japanese seq
Art dir for Japanese seq
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed for Japanese seq
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Mech eff
Main titles
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Prod coordinator
Prod coordinator
Scr supv
Unit prod mgr for Japanese seq
Tech adv for Japanese seq
Tech adv for Japanese seq
Tech adv for Japanese seq
Tech adv for Japanese seq
Air op
DOD project officer and naval coordinator.
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Tora! Tora! Tora! by Gordon W. Prange (New York, 1969) and the book The Broken Seal by Ladislas Farago (New York, 1967)
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 September 1970
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 September 1970
Japan premiere: 24 September 1970
Production Date:
7 December 1968--6 June 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 September 1970
Copyright Number:
LP38329
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
gauge
70mm
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
144
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
Japan, United States
Languages:
Japanese, English
PCA No:
22310
SYNOPSIS

After Japan signs the Axis Alliance with Germany in 1941, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Navy, realizes that the center of U.S. Naval operations at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii must be destroyed if Japanese power is to spread in the Pacific. In Washington, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson suggest the cooling of diplomatic relations with Japan after the treaty, but few in the U.S. military or diplomatic corps fear imminent attack. At Pearl Harbor, General Walter C. Short, commander of U.S. ground forces, is more worried about sabotage than foreign attack and orders all planes to be placed in the middle of the runway; in addition, the radar system he has developed is rendered useless since its operators do not know how to interpret the readings. After Japan invades Indochina, Lieutenant Colonel Rufus S. Bratton of U.S. Army Intelligence convinces Stimson that a Japanese attack is impending, and Pearl Harbor is placed on full alert on November 30th; few preparations are actually made, however, and within a couple of days the base is back to its unprepared state. Just before the actual attack, Bratton learns from a decoded message that Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo has received orders to sail for Hawaii with six aircraft carriers, but the intelligence officer is unable to locate Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, who is horseback riding, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt is warned only hours before the bombing is to begin. Japan instructs Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura to present Hull with an ultimatum, which the Japanese expect to be refused, in order to make the attack seem retaliatory, but an inept typist in ... +


After Japan signs the Axis Alliance with Germany in 1941, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Navy, realizes that the center of U.S. Naval operations at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii must be destroyed if Japanese power is to spread in the Pacific. In Washington, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson suggest the cooling of diplomatic relations with Japan after the treaty, but few in the U.S. military or diplomatic corps fear imminent attack. At Pearl Harbor, General Walter C. Short, commander of U.S. ground forces, is more worried about sabotage than foreign attack and orders all planes to be placed in the middle of the runway; in addition, the radar system he has developed is rendered useless since its operators do not know how to interpret the readings. After Japan invades Indochina, Lieutenant Colonel Rufus S. Bratton of U.S. Army Intelligence convinces Stimson that a Japanese attack is impending, and Pearl Harbor is placed on full alert on November 30th; few preparations are actually made, however, and within a couple of days the base is back to its unprepared state. Just before the actual attack, Bratton learns from a decoded message that Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo has received orders to sail for Hawaii with six aircraft carriers, but the intelligence officer is unable to locate Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, who is horseback riding, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt is warned only hours before the bombing is to begin. Japan instructs Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura to present Hull with an ultimatum, which the Japanese expect to be refused, in order to make the attack seem retaliatory, but an inept typist in the Japanese Embassy delays the message so that its delivery coincides with the actual bombing. The Japanese attack results in the devastation of almost all Navy ships and planes based in the Pacific, but Yamamoto regards the holocaust with mixed emotions because of the anticipated American retaliation. +

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