The optimum point of departure for exploring how World War II has shaped American politics is surely Pearl Harbor—not simply the Japanese attack itself but the complex historical forces leading up to, surrounding, and following the attack. An epic moment in twentieth-century history, the Pearl Harbor events have few parallels either militarily or politically, for the U.S. or the world at large. It clearly goes down in the lore of armed strategy as one of the most daring, risky, and audaciously successful military exploits ever, all the more astonishing given the vastly unequal power relationship between the Japanese and the U.S. It brought destruction of the American battleship fleet in the Pacific—a fleet in those years viewed with awe and envy around the world. At a time of strong public and elite antiwar sentiment, the attack brought the U.S. into World War II against the Axis powers, giving the country a profound sense of wronged self-righteousness that fueled its four-year pursuit of war to victorious conclusion. The events fundamentally altered the way Americans came to view the global arena and the U.S.’s place within it.