Yamamoto Isoroku was a Marshal Admiral of the Japanese Navy during World War II, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet. He was born on April 4, 1884, in Nagaoka, Japan. He was the source of the surprise attack on U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Yamamoto Isoroku, original name Takano Isoroku, graduated from the Naval Academy of the Empire of Japan in 1904. A year after, during the Russo-Japanese War, he was wounded in action at the Battle of Tsushima. He was adopted by the Yamamoto family in 1916 after he had graduated from the Japanese Naval Staff College. Yamamoto studied English as a lieutenant commander at Harvard University between the years 1919 to 1921, thus paving his way to becoming a professor at the Japanese Naval Staff College between the years of 1921 to 1923 before he was sent to Kasumigaura for flight training. He was soon promoted to captain, allowing for another tour in the United States. This allowed for him to pick up patterns and habits for his later decisions in WWII. When he returned to Japan he was a commander of the aircraft carrier Akagi.
In 1936 he became the vice minister of the navy and commanded the First Fleet in 1938. He used his growing power to turn the navy away from battleships and turn their eye to aircraft carrier tactics. He prepared for war against the U.S. after Japan made the decision to invade Southeast Asia. Many wanted to avoid war with the U.S.; however, Emperor Hirohito took a liking to Yamamoto’s views. This change in view allowed for Yamamoto to focus his energy on the coming fight with the United States in the Pacific. He asserted the only way to victory against the U.S. was to compose a surprise attack in order to cripple the naval forces. On December 7, 1941, his carriers obtained a tactical victory over the U.S. which paved the way for six months worth of victories.
At the battle of Midway where he had hoped to destroy the last of the U.S. ships not destroyed in Pearl Harbor, but he had failed. American intelligence on Yamamoto revealed his flight plan for April of 1943. U.S. commanders ambushed him in the Pacific and shot down his plane. On April 18, 1943, his plan was shot down near the Bougainville Island during his Japanese base inspections in the South Pacific, and he perished.