Using previously unexamined World War II Japanese and US archival records, a UQ PhD graduate has unearthed fresh historical discoveries relating to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Dr Peter Mauch has questioned previously held historical opinion relating to the assumptions underlying American and Japanese government policy.
He argues that prior to the attack on the American naval base, Japan's ambassador to the US, Admiral Nomura Kichisaburo, offered his colleagues an "accurate, penetrating, forceful and even courageous assessment of the likely outcome of Japan's aggressive path".
"This flies in the face of existing knowledge and beliefs, which condemn Nomura as an ineffective diplomat," Dr Mauch said.
"I reached these conclusions after extensive use of the Japanese diplomatic archives, something which to my knowledge not even Japanese historians have undertaken."
Dr Mauch, a lecturer in 20th century Japanese diplomatic history at Doshisha University, says Nomura's interpretation of events differed from most of his colleagues in Tokyo.
"He presented Japanese policymakers with a dilemma they were loath to confront.
American acquiescence to Japan's plans could only be guaranteed by the use or threat of force, yet the force it could muster was a fraction of that which the US had," he said.