Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tora, Tora, Tora - Movie review

A World War II movie on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour 'Tora, Tora, Tora' ("Tora" apparently means "tiger", but in this context, it was meant to be "lightning attack", indicating that complete surprise in attack has been achieved) are the code words to be conveyed back to the command once the raid is accomplished. Pearl harbour awakened a "sleeping giant filled with a terrible resolve" as the commander fears and America, which till then was a bystander in the World War II, joined the fight with the Allies. This was to prove decisive in the way the events turned.

Reeling under the US sanctions against it, Japan considers striking preemptively at the US fleet at Pearl Harbour. They know that the only way is to do it with complete surprise. Modifying their torpedoes to strike at the US battle ships, the Japanese plan their raid, while keeping the US diplomatically in the dark. However the US intelligence cracks the coded messages that the Japanese send to their embassies, something that they do faster than even the Japanese. Despite that information, they are crippled by some lethargic decision making, and before they realise and inform the Pearl Harbour base about the attack the Japanese hit it. So complete is the surprise that the Japanese planes are not even met with anti air craft fire. The planes bomb the battleships, all the aircraft, and inflict severe damage on a base that is caught completely unawares. In the end as the Japanese fighter craft return, having achieved their objective, they learn that a second wave of fighters will not follow and that they would now return. When the Japanese Combined Fleet Admiral Yamamoto, who studied in Harvard, learns that the air raid began fifty five minutes before the US Government was informed that Japan was braking off relations with the US he says the famous words - 'I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve'. The movie, made in 1970, is gripping from start to finish.

'Tora, Tora, Tora' shows the story as it unfolded. Japan felt justified in its preemptive strike as it felt that it had done enough to secure peace which the US did not reciprocate. The US felt betrayed by Japan's treachery in not declaring war formally and attacking the Pearl Harbour base. The result was that the attack galvanised the US into one, with cries of 'Remember Pearl Harbour', and war was declared against Japan, with all voting for war, except one. The war ended in 1945 with the USA carrying out the only nuclear bombing in the history of the world when it dropped two nuclear bombs 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' over Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August, killing approximately 1,50,000 - 2,40,000 people, civilians mostly.


Rajendra said...

Remember not seeing this movie as I was under "house arrest" at the time-no movies.

Harimohan said...

I remember the posters and the highly catchy title. Good watch though.