Vantage point

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tora Tora Tora

Watched Tora Tora Tora yesterday. Outstanding film. One of the best war films of all times. I especially loved the quote by General Yamamoto that that films ends with - "We have roused a sleeping giant and filled his heart with a terrible resolve." Indeed. And that resolve is still going strong.

I learnt a couple of things from this movie that I didn't know before.

One, that the Japanese didn't actually plan Pearl Harbor as a sneak attack. They planned to send a declaration of war to the United States a few hours before the attack. However the declaration had to be translated, and typed, and the absence of some clerical staff in the Japanese embassy made this process draw out so long that by the time the Ambassador actually delivered the declaration to Secretary of State Hull, the attack had been on for an hour.

The second, that the main point of the Pearl Harbor attack, from a military point of view was to take out the 3 American aircraft carriers. However, by a stroke of luck, or misfortune, as you view it, the carriers weren't at pearl Harbor. They had gone out for an exercise. And were saved, and played a key role in defeating the Japanese in Asia later.

Shows how history-altering world events can be influenced by coincidences, serendipity and pure bad luck.