Most Japanese people today wonder why Japan started a war against USA because it seems to them that it had no chance of winning. Susumu Nishibe, who died suddenly last month, often said in his TV program that at that time there was an atmosphere where everyone felt a war with America was unavoidable and that they had to fight anyway despite the fact that they didn't believe they could win. To support his argument, he cited diaries of writers and critics of that time.
I'm not sure whether he is right. But if he is right, surely there had been that kind of war before that, a war which a country began when its people was aware of its inevitable defeat.
I edited the title to clarify the question.
If I understand Nishibe's words correctly then he meant that the Japanese leadership was forced to start the war by the public opinion under the influence of jingoistic mass media. If he is right, it means Japan launched the war against USA when both Japanese people and its leadership knew they could not win.This goes against the conventional view that (as mickeyf says in his comment) Japan went to war in the hope that it could bring the war to a ceasefire during a six-month period in which America was still not ready for a counterattack. It's difficult to believe. That's why I'm curious to know if there was a similar case in the world's history.