Killing a Peacock: A Case Study of the Targeted Killing of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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In early April 1943, the United States military targeted and killed Imperial Japanese Marshal Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto. It marked the first time in known history, that the US military specifically targeted an individual commander for elimination. Examination of various primary source material, to include personal letters, and transcripts from the interviews of eyewitnesses reveals a narrative that describes the circumstances surrounding the decision to target and kill Yamamoto. Starting with an appreciation of the intelligence and its unique value to the Allies during the Second World War, the narrative moves to describe a decision-making process based on strong circumstantial evidence and supporting testimony. The monograph then offers an understanding of the how the mission actually transpired and reveals that successful completion of the mission was anything but a forgone conclusion. Lastly, the aftermath of the mission and the reaction by both the Japanese and Americans, reveal the strategic effect of the mission. The mission had a strong effect on the both wills of the people and though it did not turn the tide of the war per se, it did help secure an American victory at the end of the Second World War. The findings here reveal that the circumstances surrounding the decision to kill Yamamoto revolved around the means, ways, and end.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics