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Admiral Yamamoto, Isoroku

Isoroku Yamamoto was born on April 4, 1884 and entered naval school at 16 years of age. He was an ensign on a cruised at the Battle of Tshushima in 1905 in the Russo-Japanese War. The name Yamamoto was that of his adoptive family. He continued his studies at Harvard. He served as the head of the air training base at Kasumiguara and later became naval attaché in Washington D.C. He took part in the London Naval Conference which modified the agreement of the Washington Naval Conference in Japan's favour. His contribution was recognized in his becoming Vice-Minister of the Navy. Yamamoto was among the first to appreciate the importance of air power and the role of the aircraft carrier in naval warfare. He was opposed to making war on the USA as he did not think it was possible to win, but when it became clear that war was inevitable was an advocate of the Hawaii Operation, a pre-emptive strike, rather than the Great All-Out War Theory. He had a feasibility study done under the direction of Rear-Admiral Takajiro Onishi (Onishi, Takajiro) to which Commander Minoru Genda (Genda, Minoru) contributed and which was criticized by Captain Sadatoshi Tomioka (Tomioka, Sadatoshi). Yamamoto's plan was only accepted when he threatened to resign. After the success of the attack on Pearl Harbor a complicated plan was made for the Battle of Midway (Midway, Battle of) in June 1942. In part because of that complexity, in part the result of mere bad luck and in part the outcome of poor judgement by Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (Nagumo, Chuichi), the Japanese suffered a severe defeat. In April 1943 Yamamoto made a journey to encourage his troops in the Western Solomons. The Americans decoded the Japanese messages and aircraft from Guadalcanal intercepted the Admiral's plane and he was killed on April 18.

See also: Midway, Battle of; Genda, Minoru; Great All-Out War Theory; Hawaii Operation; Kuroshima, Kameto; Nagumo, Chuichi; Onishi, Takajiro; Pearl Harbor; Tomioka, Sadatoshi

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