It was a Sunday morning. Just after dawn on December 7th, 1941, Japanese forces launched a sneak attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor. American forces, most still in their beds, where taken almost completely by surprise. The U.S. pacific fleet, which lay at anchor in the harbor, was devastated. When word of the attack’s success reached the Japanese fleet, the sailors rejoiced, that is, all but one – Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.
Tradition holds that instead of celebrating, Yamamoto, having fallen into a state of severe depression, said to his jubilant staff, “I fear all we have done is awaken the sleeping giant.” Though that quote, one of the most famous of World War II, has never been verified, it is a known fact that Yamamoto held deep concerns regarding an attack on the United States. It is also a known fact that Yamamoto once said to several Japanese Cabinet members regarding war with the US, “I can run wild for six months, after that, I have no expectation of success.”
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