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Most mistaken decision of WW2

LAURENCE REES: And the single most mistaken decision?

RICHARD OVERY: Again there’s a long list. If I had to choose one I think it’s the Japanese decision to attack the United States in 1941. You read the discussions about it, the fact that everybody knew that it is nonsense and it shouldn’t be done, the fact that the Emperor can’t intervene sufficiently to say this is nonsense, 'please don’t do it' and so on. The fact that the naval leadership has this exaggerated sense of honour to the nation, all of these things feed into a decision which is fundamentally irrational, and most of the people who were interviewed after the war by American interrogators can read between the lines, and you can see that they think this was an irrational decision. Yes, it was the wrong decision. If they’d acted differently the Japanese might have extracted more in the end.