The Japanese warlords had known little of the tireless efforts of one Democratic congressman from Georgia, Carl Vinson.
For nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, Vinson had schemed and politicked in brilliant fashion to ensure that America was building a two-ocean navy larger than all the major navies of the world combined.
Vinson, a rural Georgian, was an unlikely advocate of global naval supremacy.
Stranger still, Vinson had fought for naval expansion in the middle of the Great Depression, at a time when the U.S. government was already deeply in debt and poor Americans had no desire for large peacetime defense spending.
For 50 years, Vinson insisted on military preparedness, especially through naval power, to ensure deterrence and thereby keep the peace.
As the chairman of House Naval Affairs Committee and later the House Armed Services Committee, Vinson ensured that American sea power – eventually led by behemoth nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – would win wars and keep the peace through its global reach.