The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. Newspapers.com
I'm very aware of the fact that "the winners write history", but still, this is something which used to baffle me even as a naive child. Why on Earth are they emphasizing the fact that the Pearl Harbor strike was a "surprise" or somehow "cowardly"?
Am I still naive? Has any military power in the history of mankind told the enemy in advance about their plans to attack them, so that they would get a "fair chance" to defend themselves? I cannot imagine that this has ever been the case, but who knows? Nothing about this world surprises me anymore. Maybe that was considered some kind of "code of honor" for hundreds of years or something.
It just sounds ridiculous to me. Of course a military strike would be kept secret for as long as possible. Ideally, from the attacker's point of view, they (the enemy) would never have a clue about their impending attack until the bombs actually started falling.
So why, specifically in relation to Pearl Harbor, do they make it out to be such a big deal that it was a "surprise"? What did they expect? A telephone call from the Japanese general in charge, saying:
Oh, yes, by the way: tomorrow at so-and-so time, we'll be air-bombing Pearl Harbor, so make sure to regroup and wait for us so that we can be shot down before we reach your base!
? I don't get it.
(Sorry if this is somehow offensive to somebody. Whenever anything related to WW2 or other recent wars is mentioned, there's always the risk of upsetting people.)