January 7, 1941: Admiral Yamamoto to Navy Minister Oikawa:

Although a precise outlook on the international situation is hard for anyone to make, it is needless to say that now the time has come for the Navy, especially the Combined Fleet, to devote itself seriously to war preparations, training and operational plans with a firm determination that a conflict with the US and Great Britain is inevitable. ....

Considering a case in which this country goes to war with the US and Great Britain as a practical problem, however, I think there may be no such case happening throughout the whole period of an expected war as all the Combined Fleet closing in an enemy force, deploy, engage in a gunnery and torpedo duel, and finally charge the enemy force in as gallant a way as possible. On the other hand, there may be cases in which various problems that have somehow neglected in peace-time training in spite of their importance actually happen. ....

The British and Italian Fleets, which encountered in the Mediterranean Sea last year, had been fully trained from peace time to rouse up in the fighting spirit of "attacking enemy whenever sighted" and accustomed to a sudden firing, there ought not to have been a case in which none was sunk on either side in spite of the fact that the duel took place for 25 minutes. It should be regarded as a blunder that could not be allowed in our Navy. ....

The most important thing we have to do first of all in a war with the US, I firmly believe, is to fiercely attack and destroy the US main fleet at the outset of the war, so that the morale of the US Navy and her people goes down to such an extent that it cannot be recovered. Only then shall we be able to secure an invincible stand in key positions in East Asia, thus being able to establish and keep the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Well then, what policy should we take to accomplish this? ....

In case of a majority of the enemy main force being in Pearl Harbor, to attack it thoroughly with our air force, and to blockade the harbor. 2. In case they are staying outside the harbor, too, to apply the same attack method as above...It is not easy to succeed in either case, but I believe we could be favored by God's blessing when all officers and men who take part in this operation have a firm determination of devoting themselves to their task, even sacrificing themselves. The above is an operation with the US main force as a main target, and an operation of launching a forestalling and surprise attack on enemy air forces in the Philippines and Singapore should definitely be made almost at the same time of launching attacks on Hawaii. ....

On the other hand, when we take a defensive stand toward the east and await the enemy coming on out of fear that such an operation against Hawaii is too risky, we cannot rule out the possibility that the enemy would dare to launch an attack upon our homeland to burn our capital and other cities...I sincerely desire to be appointed C-in-C of an air fleet to attack Pearl Harbor so that I may personally command that attack force.

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