The IJN Akagi was born from a battlecruiser class design consisting of the Akagi and the Amagi. These cruisers were under construction by the time of the end of the First World War and the Washington Naval Treaty signed enacted after the conflict limited naval production throughout the globe in an effort to thwart a new arms race. As such, construction of these battlecruisers was stopped and consideration was given to their dismantling. The Imperial Japanese Navy, however, proceeded to transform the Akagi and Amagi battlecruisers into full-fledged fleet carriers (the Amagi would later be destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923).
With the Akagi fully ready she was put into action for the surprise attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. Akagi served a collection of torpedo bombers, dive bombers and fighter planes during the attack. With America no officially in the war, the Doolittle Raid (launched from the USS Hornet) caused quite a stir in Japan, showing that the Empire was not immune to the reach of the American military. The Akagi was sent in, unsuccessfully, to find and destroy the carrier. Shortly thereafter the Akagi was called to take part in the invasion of the island of Java and several actions against British Royal Navy cruisers off India by 1942.
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