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Meanwhile, after years of work, American military intelligence broke several important Japanese naval and diplomatic communications codes. From decoded documents, it became obvious that Japan was planning a major military strike somewhere in the Pacific. Still, it wasn't clear when or where the attack would come. The Philippines seemed the most likely target. No one thought the Japanese would be bold enough to strike all the way to Hawaii.
The first ships of the Japanese task force left their base in the Kurile Islands on November 26. The following day a message went out to American generals and admirals in Hawaii, the Philippines, and the Panama Canal Zone: "Consider this dispatch a war warning."
Interview with the Eyewitnesses | Teacher's Guide