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Anglo-American Strategic Relations and Intelligence Assessments of Japanese Air Power 1934-1941

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737 - 773
Number of pages37
Issue number3

King's Authors


The historiography of Western intelligence assessments of Japanese military power and prowess, particularly before the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, is littered with accusations of racism, ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence, which are portrayed as having created one of the most serious underestimations of a modern power's military capabilities. However, cultural and racial biases will always exist in professional military establishments because their competitiveness and emphasis on morale lead some untrained minds to undervalue systems possessing values different from their own. This article will reassess the influences of racism on Anglo-American appreciations of Japanese air power, and its development, in the seven years before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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