Diplomats and Admirals

From Failed Negotiations and Tragic Misjudgments
To Powerful Leaders and Heroic Deeds,
The Untold Story of the U.S. Navy’s Victories
at Coral Sea and Midway

Diplomats and Admirals recounts the mounting confrontation of diplomats on opposite shores of the Pacific Ocean that ends in war. The story begins with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who advocated for a strong Navy but was impeded by isolationists. On the Japanese side is Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who built an aircraft carrier fleet into the most powerful naval force on the planet. It brings to life those and additional persons who played major roles: Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Assistant Secretary Dean Acheson, Japanese Prime Ministers Konoe and Tojo, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and others. It shows that the war in the Pacific was the result of internal divisions in both the United States and Japan, and possible duplicity within the Roosevelt administration.   

After continued Japanese expansion in the Pacific in 1941 and the total oil embargo impelled by Dean Acheson, the threat of war escalated. Japanese Prime Minister Konoe realized war with the United States would be disastrous for Japan. He made strenuous attempts to arrange a summit meeting with President Roosevelt but was continually rebuffed by Secretary of State Cordell Hull and his pro-China advisors Stanley Hornbeck and Alger Hiss. Roosevelt’s War Council was oblivious to the power of the Japanese Navy, and they believed the oil embargo would force Japan to withdraw from southern Indo-China. An agreement with Japan was within reach at the end of November, 1941, but Chiang Kai-Shek and Madame Chiang exerted powerful lobbying pressure to prevent an agreement – they wanted the United States in the war to aid China. In response, Hull delivered a demanding diplomatic note, known forever as the Hull Note of November 26, which the Japanese viewed as an ultimatum. The result was Pearl Harbor.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, 353 Japanese planes from six aircraft carriers attacked Pearl Harbor, part of a larger planned attack that was aborted after the first two attack waves. The next day President Roosevelt went before Congress, depicted the attack as a day of infamy, and rallied the US populace to pursue a righteous victory. Congress declared war on Japan.

Diplomats and Admirals makes penetrating descriptions, insights and appraisals of naval actions and the commanding admirals. Admiral Yamamoto continued the war with invasions of islands throughout the western Pacific Ocean and Malaya, then sent his carrier fleet into the Indian Ocean to battle the British Royal Navy near Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The US Pacific Fleet responded with carrier raids on Japanese-held islands – Gilberts, Marshalls, Wake, Marcus, Rabaul, New Guinea and the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, When the Japanese carrier fleet returned to the Pacific the opposing carrier forces battled at Coral Sea and Midway.

Preparing for the impending showdown at Midway in June, 1942, US Pacific Fleet commander Nimitz planned to concentrate the forces of the land-based US planes on the island of Midway with the planes from the three Pacific Fleet carriers. Diplomats and Admirals reveals for the first time how the concentration of force failed when the carriers were out of range at the appointed time, the launch of their planes was delayed, and the planes initially searched open ocean. However, courageous and enterprising U.S. Navy carrier pilots snatched victory from defeat in the last possible moments to win the Battle of Midway. The result was a decisive victory by the U.S. Navy that stopped further Japanese expansion and turned the momentum of the Pacific War from Japan to the United States.

© 2022, Dale Jenkins. All rights reserved.