All through history, man always seems to be at war. In some cases he is the
attacker, in others the defender. In both cases, these wars are broken down into two basic
elements, the battles that are fought and the individuals who fight them. In The Red
Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane talks about conflict, courage, fear, cowardice, heroism,
victory, and defeat. These elements make up the exploits of war we record in our history
books. This paper will deal with war, more specifically, a special exploit within one of the
most significant wars ever experienced by the human race. World War II involved
millions of fighting men around the world. In Europe, Hitler and Germany were the
enemy. In the Far East, Japan was the enemy. To America, Japan was probably more
hated since they brought us into the war with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. This
assault on Pearl Harbor infuriated President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he urged his
military planners to find a way to bomb Japan. He wanted to bring home to Japan some
meaning of war, and that they did. The first bombing of mainland Japan was a logistical
challenge, a daring exploit, and had a major effect on both American and Japanese people.
In terms of the Japanese, they had solid reasons to feel secure. No foreign attacker
had seriously threatened Japanese soil since Kuble Kahn in 1281.(Edward Oxford: Against
All Odds-3) At that time, a violent storm destroyed Kahnís attack force, and the Japanese
referred to this storm as kamikaze, which means divine wind.(Edward Oxford: Against All
Odds-2) In the past, the Japanese felt that they were protected by the kamikaze; but now,
they had a more tangible reason to feel secure with antiaircraft guns, warships, and planes.
(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-4) The Japanese were feeling high with their military
successes starting with China and extending into the Pacific.(Edward Oxford: Against All
Odds-5) They captured Hong Kong, Malaya, Guam, Wake and the Philippines. They
destroyed much of the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.(Edward Oxford: Against All
Odds-9) It was no wonder that the Japanese didnít feel confident.
The first plan to bomb Japan came shortly after Pearl Harbor. One month after the
attack, Admiral Ernest J. King and General H.H. Arnold put the final touches on the
original plan proposed by Captain Francis Low. (Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-11) It
is interesting to note that Low was not an airman, but a submarine officer. He was at
Norfolk air station when he noticed the outline of a flight deck painted on the
runway.(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-11) As he looked at the runway, he noticed a
shadow of a twin engine plane flying across it.(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-12) In
a split second the idea hit him. What if Army bombers could take off an aircraft carrier?
(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-12) Low tried his idea on Admiral King. King
thought the idea had potential so he sent it on to Captain Donald Duncan to turn his plan
into fact. (Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-13) This he did, and the Tokyo Raid became
fact instead of fiction.
The first step in the plan was finding a leader. General Arnold requested
Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle as the man to select the plane and the men for the
mission. (Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-14) Doolittle accepted the challenge without
hesitation. Arnold let him know in no uncertain terms that he was to be a planner not a
pilot. (Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-15) As Doolittle went to work on the project,
he saw a lot of problems. First of all, carrier landings were impossible for twin engine
bombers.(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-16) Next, the total air trip was eleven
hundred miles. The closest landing area would be in Russia, but Joseph Stalin would not
let them land there because he didnít want to be invaded by Japan since he already had his
hands full with the Germans.(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-18) Fortunately, China
said it was all right to land there but they said it reluctantly. (Edward Oxford: Against All
Odds-19) With these considerations and others, Doolittle determined that the chances of
the mission succeeding was fifty-fifty.(Edward Oxford: Against All Odds-17)
Despite the odds, the decision was made to begin the project. As the first step,
despite Arnold, Doolittle wrote himself into the plan as a pathfinder. (Edward Oxford:
Against All Odds-20) Doolittleís job during the attack would be to light up Tokyo with
incendiary bombs so that the bombers could easily spot their targets.(Edward Oxford:
Against All