The Great Pacific War

Pearl Harbor was ten years late

By William Wetherall

First posted 16 January 2006
Last updated 20 January 2006


Hector C. Bywater
The Great Pacific War
(A History of the American-Japanese Campaign of 1931-33)
Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1932
ix, 321 pages, hardcover
First published in 1925 (London: Constable)
Published again in 1942 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin; Introduction by Hanson W. Baldwin)
Numerous POD and other reissues now available.

Keeler's novel came in 1932 during The Great Pacific War anticipated by Hector Charles Bywater (1884-1940) in a novel by this name first published in Boston and New York in 1925, and twice translated into Japanese the same year.

The Publisher's Note to the 1932 edition reads as follows (page v).

When Mr. Hector Bywater published in 1925 his fictional history of an American-Japanese War, he based his naval and military operations upon the armed strength and equipment of the two nations as conditions at the time and known plans for the future indicated would exist to-day. The present situation in the Pacific renews in striking degree the interest and significance of Mr. Bywater's story. The work of a recognzied British naval expert, based on exhaustive information intelligently and logically handled, The Great Pacific War is one of the most important books that the thinking and patriotic American can read at this time. The publishers feel that, by the timely reissue of this volume, a substantial service may be rendered to our better understanding of the present situation in the Pacific, and to the cause of peace, not only in that area, but throughout the world.

So much for good intentions.


William H. Honan
Visions of Infamy
(The Untold Story of How Journalist Hector C. Bywater Devised the Plans that Led to Pearl Harbor)
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991
xvi, 347 pages, hardcover

Honan, a correspondent at the New York Times at the time he wrote this book, and the owner of seventeen-foot wooden sailboat he claimed was unarmed, may like to bask in Bywater's glory by calling him a "journalist" -- but Bywater was not writing as a journalist when he penned the non-fictional work Sea Power in the Pacific in 1921, or the fictional story The Great Pacific War in 1925.

Bywater was not merely a jounalist. In the by-line, he is billed as an Associate of the Institute of Naval Architechture, an Associate Member of the U.S. Naval Institute, and the author of Sea Power in the Pacific, which was published in [XXXX].

Bywater, a British-born journalist who had become an expert on naval warfare and strategy, unwittingly wrote a blueprint for Yamamoto Isoroku's attack on Pearl Harbor, and the amphibious assaults of Japanese forces on the Philippines.