If this has already been brought up, I apologize in advance… I am way too lazy to read through all possible threads… Anyway, I was watching bits and pieces of an excellent History Channel documentary on the history of the Japanese Navy, from ancient times to the present. Of course, they touched on the attack on Pearl Harbor. It got me thinking… Of course, we know that the surprise attack (I will use the term “sneak attack” here for a specific reason) galvanized the American people, forcing America’s entry into the war, and resulted in a horrifically savage war – comparable in its’ barbarity possibly only to the Eastern front. America basically burned Japanese cities to the ground, killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Japanese civilians, and the island-hopping campaign saw little mercy on either side. Unconditional Surrender was non-negotiable, and a fair portion of the American military and civilian population wanted nothing less than the extermination of the Japanese people. The basic Japanese strategy was never to “beat” the United States, but merely to win a “negotiated peace” that ensured them maximum gains in the Pacific. My question is this: Suppose that instead of a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had instead declared war in the traditional sense, and met the US Fleet in the open seas and defeated them? This supposes that the Japanese elected to fight such a battle as primarily a carrier force, while the US was primarily a battleship force. Let’s pretend the results are the same. A well-trained, relatively new weapon (carrier planes) defeats a traditional battleship fleet, but does so in a more “honorable” way, on the open seas – in essence a “fair” (my term) fight. No sneak attack, no “Day Which Will Live in Infamy”. Is the US more likely to be less angered as a nation, and more open to a negotiated settlement? As brilliant as Pearl Harbor was tactically, would it have been better strategically to have gone the more conventional battle route? Would America have pursued the Japanese with such vengeance and abandon had it not been a “sneak attack” I am looking forward to the responses, particularly from people from other countries! WWII tends to be viewed through an American prism here in the States, and that often distorts the picture. Sorry for the long-winded dissertation!