General Genda Remembers Pearl Harbor

Memoir Title: 
General Genda Remembers Pearl Harbor
Group with which they served: 
Imperial Japanese Navy
Geographic Area: 
Approximate date of event: 
7 December 1941
First Middle Last: 
Minoru Genda
Submitters Name: 
Memoir Summary: 
On 3 March 1969, the U.S. Naval Institute made history (and generated no small degree of controversy) when it hosted a talk by retired Japanese General Minoru Genda, a “mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack,” at the U.S. Naval Academy. Genda spoke to a packed house that included more than 750 midshipmen as well as active-duty and retired officers and numerous members of the Naval Institute. The former foe’s presence had generated a firestorm of criticism, from letters in local newspapers to impassioned oratory in the halls of Congress. What many who were outraged didn’t realize or acknowledge was that Genda had become a highly respected friend of America by then and had even been awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962. In this historic talk, Genda served up personal reminiscences about his naval career and his role in Japanese strategic planning in the buildup to World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. (He also displayed a penchant for Sun-Tzu.) In the question-and-answer period following the talk, his candid comments about the atomic bomb would end up landing him in political hot water back home in Japan.
Minoru Genda


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