Cinema: Compound Tragedy

"Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy . . ."

No one alive at that moment can forget the resonance of President Roosevelt's address to Congress. For the U.S., the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was the detonator of World War II, the unofficial announcement that history once again was attempting suicide.

As Tora! Tora! Tora! demonstrates, the infamy was double-edged. Late in 1940, American cryptographers cracked the Japanese code and predicted war—to deaf ears. An hour before the bombing, the Japanese raiders were detected as blips on a primitive radar...

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