You probably know that Pearl Harbor caught America off-guard, but they weren't the only ones. For Japan to come so hard at a nation that was still deciding whether or not to sit out World War II didn't make strategic sense, by pretty much everyone's estimation. Historians had puzzled over the decision for years, and then they took a look at the inter-service rivalry between Japan's army and navy. If you're familiar with the annual Army-Navy football game in America, you know that rivalries between different factions of a nation's armed forces can get pretty heated. The feud between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Imperial Japanese Army was sort of like that, except instead of being played with a football, it was played with the fate of the world.
In order to justify more troops and funding, the Japanese army and navy spent much of the 20th century picking fights with giant countries like China and Russia, often in the face of specific orders to not attack. For instance, in World War I, the navy went rogue and captured a bunch of islands in German Micronesia after they'd been told to leave them alone. They then demanded further government money to administer the new regions they had captured without orders, and the government reluctantly forked it over.
"Thank you. Now, if you don't mind, we're off to fingerbang rattlesnakes."
By 1921, the navy had nearly twice the budget of the army, and needless to say, the army was getting a little antsy. Going back to their favorite page in the Japanese military's one-page playbook, they decided to start a new war and invaded China. Since giant warships can't really do jack shit in a land war, it was the navy's turn to sit on the sidelines with their dicks firmly in hand.
By 1941, the budget was dismally low for the navy, and nobody was quite sure what to do. Psych! Of course they knew what to do. Start a war, son!
"You fucking did WHAT?!" -All of Japan
And holy shit did they get one. After attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, it looked like it might work out for a while, but eventually the U.S. used their superior resources to outpunch them in the Pacific. But sure as shit, the navy got that budget increase they were angling for. So we can pretty much thank the Japanese army and navy for creating the world as we know it today.
Xavier Jackson has a list of people not to kill when he takes over the world. Join it by liking his Facebook page. If you want to send him resumes for jobs when he completes his world takeover, you can send them to XavierJacksonCracked@gmail.com.
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