The reluctant and prescient admiral

This one's for the history buffs.

Yamamoto Isoroku, chief planner of the Pearl Harbor attack and then Commander in Chief of Japan's Combined Fleet, two weeks after the signing of the Tripartite Pact:

"It's an impossible state of affairs. The one thing that the navy must do now is see that it gets everything that it considers necessary in making proper preparations. Personally, I feel that if we're going to war with America we must accept the idea that we're taking on almost the whole of the rest of the world. Even if we sign a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, it won't mean much—the Soviet Union can't be relied on; what guarantee is there that such a treaty would stop it from stabbing us in the back while we were at war with America? Anyhow, now that things have come to this pass I'll throw everything I have into the fight. I expect to die in battle on board the Nagato. By that time, I imagine, Tokyo will have been set on fire at least three times and Japan reduced to a pitiful state. I shouldn't be surprised if Konoe and the rest—though I don't like to say it—end up being set on and torn to pieces by the public. I don't like it, but there's no going back now."

From The Reluctant Admiral - Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy
by Hiroyuki Agawa (translated by John Bester)


  1. Want to give this a read. Need to check out my local library's foreign publications area.

  2. The Japanese title is just 山本五十六