3. He Did Want a Naval Battle with the US, But He Was Intent on Winning
Yamamoto wanted to send a clear and absolute message that the Japanese would rule the Pacific. To do this, he looked to other battles throughout history to gain inspiration, setting his sights on the Russo-Japanese war that ultimately ended in a Japanese victory. He hoped the US would be forced to negotiate for peace, should the same result occur in a battle with them for the Pacific.
Again going against popular opinion, Yamamoto did finally convince higher ranking officers that going on the offensive track was their best option. After all, he was looking towards the long-term, understanding that merely taking a defensive position to draw the US westwards in a showdown around the Philippines would probably end in their downfall.
Unfortunately for him, Yamamoto’s first strategy to go after Midway didn’t go as planned. US Intelligence were already hip to their plans after breaking Japanese Naval codes, and his fleet was bombarded by aircraft from two U.S. carriers, a few days before the Japanese were set to arrive.
As he was caught off guard, all four of his aircraft carriers were obliterated. And since it was Yamamoto’s belief that naval aviation would be the greatest asset for the Japanese, he was left struggling with a fleet that would never truly recover.