Upgrade of Java Quiz: Reading Comprehension 4.1

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II was one of the most shocking events of the twentieth century. Many people thought it was wrong for Japan to stage a sneak attack on a country with whom it was not yet officially at war. New evidence suggests that the Japanese government wanted to be sure the bombing was a surprise attack.

For the last 30 years, historians have believed that Japan did not mean for the attack to take place without warning. The Japanese government sent a message to let the Americans know that they considered that negotiations with the United States were over. This warning implied that the Japanese might attack. Unfortunately, the message was not delivered until after the bombing took place. Historians have believed that this was due to mistakes made by Japanese diplomats in Washington, D.C.

But a Japanese professor has found information that suggests that the Japanese government never meant for the warning to arrive in time. Professor Takeo Iguchi went through the archives at the Japanese Foreign Ministry. There he found a draft version of the actual memo sent to the United States and the wartime diary of Japan's general staff. Professor Iguchi's research led him to conclude that the message was delivered late on purpose. According to Professor Iguchi, Japan meant to catch the Americans by surprise.

In Japan, reception of this new information is mixed. Some scholars are taking this opportunity to reevaluate their thinking about the attack. Others point out that Professor Iguchi's father was one of the Embassy diplomats blamed for not delivering the message on time. They claim that Professor Iguchi is biased because he wants to clear his father's name. As with many historical controversies, it will take more research before historians agree on what really happened. For now, Professor Iguchi's research has raised serious questions about Japan's intentions when it launched the Pearl Harbor attack.

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