there's a lot of literature available, but the "who is to blame?" topic would focus too much on individuals (who might rightly/wrongly be accused of failing their responsibilities). but you might profit by examining a time-line of events, to include the military/diplomatic/economic events as tensions between IJ & US ratcheted up.
US re-basing the BBs to Pearl, the fall of France, IJ occupation of Indochina, US economic sanctions & air reinforcements to the Phillipines, the Washington negotiations, etc.
That's more or less what I am going to do. The "Who to blame" title leaves open the option to blame no person and spread responsibility across many individuals and institutions. Sometimes stuff happens, without anyone in particular to blame.
Just for the record, the main reasons I will present that contributed to the failure, imo, are (in random order):
- Basing the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, redeploying heavy bombers in Philippines. Measures to deter the Japanese from attacking and making any potential operations in the Western Pacific too costly for Japan (or so it was thought).
- Philippines was believed to be out of range by Japanese aircraft, carriers were needed to support an invasion
- Heavy bombers based in Philippines were believed to be more effective at naval strikes than they actually were in practice
- Carriers not seen as strategically decisive capital ships. The battleship was still the weapon of decision in all navies of the era. USA used carriers only in support role.
- Lack of planning by the Japanese. Plans begun formulating after September. Too many options to attack (Russia, DEI, China, USA, Thailand, Burma, Malaya).
- US planners simply did not believe that Japan would not attack them, instead preferring to expand their war in China or attack SE Asia (Thailand/Burma/Malaya) and/or the DEI
- Intelligence services fragmentation of resources and information.
- Japanese misinformation
- A lot of false alarms
I am sure this list will be expanded before next Wednesday.