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Item title: Japan's decision to fight
Title (kanji)
Location:Australian War Memorial (AWM55 12/102)
View information about obtaining a copy of this document
AJRP details
AJRP module: Australian War Memorial official records
AJRP series: Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) publications
AJRP sub-series: ATIS research reports
AJRP folder:
Location details
Institution: Australian War Memorial
Call number: AWM55 12/102
Inst. series: AWM55
Inst. sub-series: AWM55 12/-
Item: RR-131
Item qualities
Quantity / desc: 88 pages
Access: Open
Item type: Unpublished, Official
Category: Information report
Item content
Creation date (d/m/y): 1/12/1945
Conflict code: Pacific War (1941-1945)
Australian unit names:
Allied unit names:
Japanese unit names:
Names: YAMAMOTO Isoroku, Commander in Chief Combined Fleet; NAGUMO Chuichi, Task Force Cdr
Languages: English
Area:New Guinea [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands)]
Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia)
Singapore [Malaya–British Borneo (Malaysia & Singapore)]
Pearl Harbor [Central Pacific, Hawaiian Islands, Oahu]
Content: This is an Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) research report issued on 1 December 1945 on Japan's decision to launch the Greater East Asian War and attempts to establish a date upon which the Japanese Government committed itself to launching attacks on American, British and Dutch possessions in the Pacific Area. It contains a wide range of evidence and information including, a chronology of Japanese military preparations between January and 8 December 1941, details of war games among high-ranking Japanese officials, rumours of war in Truk, preparations for the Malayan campaign and jungle warfare, the date the task force sailed for Pearl Harbour, a map of the task force's route, the attack on Guam Island, the landing on the Philippines, training for war against the United States, training for an assault on Singapore and the Philippines, the construction of bases on Palau, the collection of metals and preparations for a midget submarine raid on Pearl Harbour.

A section on pre-war espionage and reconnaissance contains a sketch of Allied air forces in the South-West Pacific Area at 6 December 1941, information on pre-war submarine reconnaissance of Pearl Harbour, intelligence estimates of the US forces in the Philippines prior to the outbreak of war, a sketch showing Netherlands East Indies defence forces, pre-war espionage in New Guinea and Australia including a detailed sketch and list of the organisation of the Australian Army in July 1940. Of particular note is a reference to a March 1941 report about the strategic significance of the south coast of New Guinea for operations against Australia and to force Allied naval vessels to detour to Australia's south coast. No invasion of the Australian mainland was proposed. A list of Japanese publications (maps, military geography, training documents, field manuals, identification handbooks, health manuals) produced in the 18 months prior to the outbreak of war is also included.

Appendix A contains a diary of Japan's preparations for war, dated 10 October to 7 December 1941. Appendix B consists of a reply to a questionnaire concerning the attack on Pearl Harbour based on the recollections of senior Japanese naval officers. Task Force orders and plans for the attack on Pearl Harbour from YAMAMOTO, Isoroku, Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet and NAGUMO Chuichi, Task Force Commander, are also included.

The report concluded that plans for an attack on Pearl Harbour had been formulated in early September 1941 at the naval war games held in Tokyo, but that preliminary planning extended back much farther. However, the Japanese Government only officially committed itself to war with the United States, Britain and the Netherlands at the end of October 1941 when Imperial General Headquarters issued a document specifying relative command, jurisdiction, and the task and responsibilities of the Army and Navy.
Other information
Last modified:03/05/2009 09:02:58 AM
Source:AJRP staff

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