Pearl Harbor: The Missing Motive
by Kevin O'Connell

"...launched against the advice of nearly every senior navy officer... There's a viewpoint from which the Pearl attack was a stratagem that turned out well."

Warlords dominated Japan's society which believed their emperor alone could conduct major Shinto ceremonies. This figurehead was revered, but kept from decision making. Besides power struggles within, there were needs for more land and protection against neighbors to the East: China, Korea, and Russia.

Such concerns paled to the insulting ultimatum issued in 1853 when U.S. Admiral Perry steamed into Japanese waters. Despising foreigners, Japan was forced to accept a United States treaty and ambassador. There could be no revision until Japan had a constitutional government with a navy and army large enough to defend against Russia.

Warring lords and the emperor worked together for over four decades to meet the foreigners'’ demands. They sent representatives to Britain, Germany, and the United States to study governments and technology. They invited trainers. Japan first adopted the imperial Germany model and later the British constitutional monarchy. When the U.S. treaty was revised in 1894, the next stage of Japanese history began.

The military could now launch war in Korea, Manchuria, and China. With young soldiers eager to fight, Japan went on the offensive, seeking territory and oil resources. This Go North plan was stymied by British and American interference. A Go South plan targeting Southeast Asia was the alternative. Japan's navy had to keep America away for at least six months. The Pearl attack was General Yamamoto's answer. But why did the emperor agree?

In this 300-page book, the author proves that there is absolutely no short version to Japanese military and government history. The chronology takes the reader from the time period when horsemen with iron weapons arrived in 250 AD through the 20th century and the triggering events of 1941 that involved Americans in World War II. Well-researched and rich in details, the book includes maps, end notes, and index.

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