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Open Access Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki on the Eve of Pearl Harbor: New Evidence from Japan

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This essay introduces readers to newly-discovered documents which quote Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki at length on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack. The documents were penned by Vice Home Minister Yuzawa Michio at 23.20 p. m. on 7 December; the Pearl Harbor attack began four hours later. The reproduced documents offer insights into Tōjō's mindset, his leadership, and his relationship with the Emperor. They also reveal Tōjō's confidence in Japan's ability to emerge victorious from World War II. That this confidence was misplaced hardly requires reiteration. Of perhaps greater interest is the source of Tōjō's misplaced confidence: his predictions of victory were grounded neither on notions of superior strategy nor on calculations of the enemy's strength, but instead on a sense of self-satisfaction at having united Japan's otherwise fractious policymaking process.

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Keywords: Asia; Japan; Pacific War; Pearl Harbor; Shōwa Emperor; Tōjō Hideki

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Western Sydney University

Publication date: June 1, 2018

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  • Global War Studies (GWS) is the leading international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of the Second World War, 1919-1945. GWS features articles and book reviews that explore a broad range of topics, including military, air power, naval, intelligence, and diplomatic history. Additionally, the journal publishes original research on weapons technology, geopolitics, home front studies, the Holocaust, resistance movements, and peacekeeping operations.
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