Sixty-seven years ago today, November 25, in the cold Kuriles, a bunch flying s got together on "Akagi" (Red Castle) for a gay old time. Hot saki by the quart and a pep talk from the admiral who told them for the first time, "Next stop: Pearl Harbor." The 30,000-ton carrier, converted from a battle cruiser, rang with "Banzais."
At Pearl, Admiral Husband Kimmel was doing what he'd been doing for months, getting the Pacific Fleet ready to fight the Imperial Japanese Navy. And fighting Washington for information.
In Washington, Cordell Hull tinkered with the proposal to placate Tokyo, the modus vivendi, finally said Hell with it, and ordered his wordsmiths to write something tougher. The questions still remains: Did Roosevelt, acting for Churchill, order him to?
Over at the War Department, Secretary of War Henry Stimson was about to learn that 30-50 Japanese men-of-war and troop transports were southbound in the South China Sea. So of course any Japanese attack would assault the Philippines or British southeast Asia possessions such as Singapore. As to Hawaii and the United States fleet there? Not to worry. They wouldn't dare.