Sunday, December 08, 2013


U.S. sailors killed at Pearl Harbor were buried the following day.

Remembrance ceremonies were held the following year. This photograph, an official photograph of the U.S. Department Of War (long since renamed), is from May 1942 or June 1942. Even the U.S. Navy is uncertain of the date of the photograph.

As a matter of curiosity, I would like to know whether the photograph precedes or follows the Battle Of Midway.

The Battle Of Midway occurred in the first week of June. Only six months after Pearl Harbor, the final outcome of the war in the Pacific was determined at Midway—and both the U.S. and Japan knew, on the spot, that Midway had been outcome-determinative.

Japan, in the final stages of planning and launching its attack on Pearl Harbor, was aware that all U.S. aircraft carriers were at sea. Japan nonetheless carried out the attack, believing that destruction of the great U.S. battleships moored at Pearl Harbor was the more vital objective.

Japan realized its error within weeks if not days, as the U.S. Navy near-instantly recovered from Pearl Harbor. The era of the giant battleship was over; naval operations had become primarily support mechanisms for the exercise of air power.

When Japan lost its carriers at Midway—five incredible, dramatic minutes that changed the course of the war, five minutes so unlikely that a writer of fiction would never dare create such a scenario—Japan’s naval leaders knew, before the enflamed carriers even sank beneath the surface, that the war was no longer winnable.

As soon as Japan’s fleet returned home, the Japanese Admiralty informed the Japanese Army and the Japanese civilian government that the war was lost.

Japan’s Army and Japan’s civilian government concurred.

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