Browse Categories

Articles and other information on these subjects:

He Gave the Order: The Life and Times of Admiral Osami Nagano

<< Previous in • Naval History Next in • Naval History >>

He Gave the Order

The Life and Times of Admiral Osami Nagano
  • by F.J. Bradley
    • Merriam Press Naval History Series
      • First Edition 2014
      • 205 photos
      • 7 maps
      • 7 tables
      • 2 charts
This is a biography of Japanese Navy Admiral Osami Nagano, who ordered the attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

This work covers his entire career, diplomatic, political and military, concentrating on the years leading up to the war between Japan and the United States.

Nagano was born in 1880, a time and place of great transformation in Japan. The Shogun era was giving way to the Meiji Empire and political power was centralized in the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo). The samurai system of warlord rule was ending and Japan was forced to look beyond her borders to shape her future. Nagano, with a strict but loving father and persevering mother, started out with a solid background.

He attained great achievements in his military and political careers, but his involvement in Japan’s entrance into World War II on 8 December 1941 led to his ultimate downfall.

He died in 1947, in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East under U.S. occupation, following Japan’s defeat.

  • Chapter 1: Early Years of Osami Nagano, 1880 – 1900
  • Chapter 2: Early Career and Marriages, 1900 – 1920
  • Chapter 3: Diplomat and Traveler, 1920 – 1930
  • Chapter 4: Diplomat, Sailor and Politician, 1930 – 1941
    • Part 1: Diplomat: Geneva Disarmament Conference 1932-1933
    • Part 2: Sailor: Commandant, Yokosuka Naval Base
    • Part 3: Diplomat: Second London Naval Conference 1935-1936
    • Part 4: Politician: Naval Minister
    • Part 5: Sailor: Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet
    • Part 6: Retiree and Celebrity
    • Part 7: Concerned Warrior, 9 April to 8 December 1941
  • Chapter 5: Post Script
  • Glossary
  • Significant Individuals
  • Appendix A1-A8: Postcards
  • Appendix B: Nagano Family Tree and Osami Nagano’s Wives and Children
  • Appendix C1-C4: Naval Treaties and Naval Ship Estimates 1941
  • Appendix D: Meiji Constitution
  • Appendix E: Nagano Medals, Orders, Decorations
  • Appendix F: Soviet Japan Neutrality Treaty, April 13, 1941
  • Appendix G: Summary of IMTFE Trial Results
  • Index


"An amazingly insightful look at a man, who but for his decision to attack Pearl Harbor (an order he gave despite his personal misgivings), would have been lost to history. Admiral Osami Nagano would have earned a footnote as a competent naval officer who progressed through the ranks, following a steady path of promotion.

" '…Nagano led a charmed life…He was bedecked with medals, orders, and decorations, which included some of the highest bestowed by the government of Japan and other nations…'

"(In fact, he initially refused the position of Chief of Naval Staff, due to poor health, but ultimately accepted out of a feeling of duty to his country).

"Though the Japanese military wanted to emulate Germany’s strength in Europe (without enforcing Germany’s racial policies), Nagano himself opposed the attack on Pearl Harbor, for fear of “striking a hornet’s nest.” He felt that the American people would fight fiercely if aroused to do so. He wanted to avoid war at all costs, but relented, even after an embargo of much needed supplies (including aviation fuel) to Japan by the United States and American insistence that Japan remove her troops from Indochina.

"He Gave the Order: The Life and Times of Admiral Osami Nagano contains remarkable documentation of Admiral Nagano’s career, including some rare and extraordinary photos. It is presented in a clear and lucid style, building the events of Nagano’s life up to the momentous decision he made that has secured his place in history.

"This is a must read for anyone interested in the history of World War II, not to mention the revelation of a little known, but influential player in the events that brought America into a global conflict."

—David Schaefer

Product Reviews

(0 Ratings, 0 Reviews)