Difficult, But Not Impossible: Planning the Day of Infamy

Brief description:
In 1926, General Billy Mitchell, the premier airpower advocate in the U.S., conducted a review of U.S. defenses in the Pacific. His conclusion was that the next war would be fought against Japan, and that it would start with a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on a Sunday morning. By 1941, a string of circumstances and events came together in an implacable tide that pushed the Japanese to start the next war. With the U.S. With an attack Pearl Harbor. On a Sunday morning. While conventional American history focuses on the U.S. view of events leading up to and during the attack, an equally valid and quite fascinating narrative is found on the Japanese side of the story. The prophet on that side of the Pacific was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who conceived of and pushed for the attack in spite of reservations about war with the U.S., and who famously and accurately predicted a six month window of Japanese success at the opening of hostilities. Reconstructed from interviews, diaries, official documents, media archives and post-war memoirs, the Japanese story of the attack reveals a human side of the men who planned and executed the Day of Infamy.

Main goal(s):
The main goal of this project is to show a different way of thinking about the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The American history narrative about the Japanese attack often mirrors the attack itself – the Japanese mysteriously show up out of the blue, conduct an unprovoked attack on an unsuspecting American fleet and then vanish into the mists of the northern Pacific Ocean. Of course, the Japanese neither made this decision lightly, nor on the spur of the moment. But their side of the story is often lost in the patriotic retelling of the way American sailors and airmen overcame their difficulties to make the best out of this dastardly sneak attack.

Who is your intended audience?
(e.g., colleagues, historians, art historians, the general public, high school history students, middle school music students, art students. . . )

The intended audience is high school to undergraduate students who are familiar with the standard American history version of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The story will focus on the events leading up to the attack and the Japanese experiences during the attack. It will not provide a timeline or discuss events of the attack chronologically, so a historical awareness of the general events of the attack will be necessary to maximize the impact of this digital story.

Category: Final Summary
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