Theroad to war between the United States of America and Japan commencedin the 1930s when distinctions over China forced the two nationsseparate. In this case, Japan conquered Manchuria in 1931. Before theconquest, Manchuria was part of China. Japan started a long campaignto conquer the entire region of China in 1937. However, the campaignwas unsuccessful because China was highly supported by United Statesof America. In 1940, the Japan allied with Germany in an allianceknown as Axis. In 1941, the two alliances conquer and later occupied Indochina. China alerted United States of America regarding theJapanese negative moves. Since United States of America had economicand political interests in the Eastern side of Asia, it decided tooffer financial and military help to China. U.S. assisted China, sothat it could strengthen its military power and cut- off its economicties with Japan. Since Japan had inadequate natural resources, thegovernment perceived the stipulated steps as immense threat to thesurvival of the nation. Japanese leaders reacted by grabbing theSoutheast Asian territories, which had large amounts of naturalresources. Such a move would compel U.S. declare war against Japan.In order to neutralize the prospective reaction of U.S., thecommander of the Japanese fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto ordered theJapanese troop to surprisingly attack United stated of America1.
On7thDecember, 1941, the Japanese military troop carried out a surpriseattack on the United States of America’s Pearl Harbor, which islocated in Hawaii. According to the United States’ defenders, theattack began at around 8:00 a.m. The Pearl Harbor was raided by 353Japanese military planes, torpedo planes, which were released fromsix aircraft carriers and bombers. Eight United States battleshipswere destroyed. In this case, four battleships were completelywrecked and the remaining four sunk in the ocean. More than 2000American sailors and soldiers died and 1000 were injured from theattack. The following day, President Franklin Roosevelt requested theAmerican congress to declare war on Japan. The congress agreed on thedeclaration of the war. Three days later, Germany and Italy, who wereJapanese allies also proclaimed war on the United States of America.The two years conflict forced United Stated of America to join theSecond World War.2The essay will focus on the factors that led to surprise attack onthe Pearl Harbor in United States of America, and its major impacts.
Factorsthat led to the Pearl Harbor attack
TheJapanese’s main intention of the surprise attack was to neutralizethe United States Pacific Fleet, and therefore be able to conquerthe Dutch East Indies and Malaya, which were rich in naturalresources such as rubber and oil. Since the 1920s, there was apossibility of war between United States and Japan. The two nationshad already developed contingency plans for the prospective war.Tension between the two powerful countries began to develop in 193Iwhen Japan invaded Manchuria. For ten years, Japan continued toconquer and occupy more Chinese regions, and this led to war betweenthe two nations. Japan was determined to cut- off China from itsessential areas that were rich in natural resources. SinceDecember1937, Japanese compelled some attacks towards China. Examplesof such attacks include Allison incident, USS Panay and NankingMassacre that led to the deaths of 200,000 Chinese people. Suchformidable attacks forced United Stated of America, France and UnitedKingdom to help China strengthen its military forces. In this case,they provided loans and military assistance to the Republic ofChina.3
UnitedStates of America and other European powers perceived Japan as athreat to their economic interest in the Eastern side of Asia. ByJuly 1937, Japan had engaged in a number of conflicts with China,which negatively affected their trade relations. As a result, thepresident of United States of America, Roosevelt imposed economicsanctions with China, which forced Japan to turn to the Axis Powerfor support. In September 1940, Japan, and the Axis powers i.e.Germany and Italy signed a treaty known as the Tripartite. In thetreaty, the stipulated powers had agreed to help each other in caseof the outbreak of the Second World War.4When Japan inhabited Indochina in July 1941, President Rooseveltcontinued to evade direct confrontation with the Japanese. However,Japan’s imperial ambition to control the Pacific region had alreadycreated a conflict course with the United States of America. Duringthat period, United States was in control over the Philippines andhad broad economic interests throughout the Pacific region. Inaddition, U.S. imposed an oil restriction on Japan and threatened tobring down its economy. In response, Japan took the intense risk tostrike United States of America in order to completely push it out ofthe Pacific and have leeway to conquer the South East Asia, which isrich in natural resources.5
Negligenceof the United Stated Intelligence unit was one of the major factors,which led to the surprise Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese navy.Even though the U.S. intelligence unit had already hacked the radiocodes, it was not able to interpret the Japanese raw data. Theinformation would have been conveyed to the navy and army so as totake necessary actions. For instance, they would have hit back theJapanese aircrafts through utilization of bombs. Through the attack,eight battleships were wrecked, but the U.S. aircrafts carriers wereleft untouched. This was important because the Pacific Fleet wouldnot have carried out their operations without the aircrafts. Thefollowing day, United States of America declared war against Japan.In this case, the feelings of hatred and anger united the dividedAmericans so as to fight their enemy. On 11thDecember, 1941, Italy and Germany proclaimed war against UnitedStates of America, which resulted to the World War II.5
In1941, United States of America and Japans took part in negotiationsin an effort to improve their trade relations. During thenegotiations, Japan proposed to withdraw from Indo china and mostregions of China. However, Japan would fulfill their promise if U.S.created peace between the Chinese and Japanese government and not tobe discriminated in all the trade relations in the Eastern side ofAsia. Washington rejected the Japanese proposals. As a result,Konoye, the Prime Minister of Japan decided to meet up with Rooseveltface to face, but Roosevelt claimed that they would only meet if theyonly agreed on the certain terms. The United States ambassador toJapan urged President Roosevelt to accept the meeting so as to createpeace in the Pacific region and to preserve the appeasing Konoyegovernment, but Roosevelt stood on his ground. The following month,the Konoye government collapsed when Japanese military troops refusedto withdraw from China. On 20thNovember, 1941, Japanese came up with a final proposal, whichaffirmed that they would withdraw its military troops from Indochinaon condition that Britain, United States of America and Netherlandswould stop supporting China during the China- Japan battle. On thecontrary, U.S. contradicted the Japan’s proposal and ordered Japanto withdraw its troops from China without conditions and terminatethe non- aggression agreement with the Pacific powers. Japanesemilitary fleet had already gone impose an attack on the Pearl Harborbefore it received the U.S. proposal.6
Impactsof the Pearl Harbor attack
Thefollowing day after the attack, Roosevelt delivered an infamy speechin a joint session of the U.S. congress. In his speech, he officiallydeclared war on the Japan. Congress agreed on the request. On 11thDecember, Italy and Germany in honor of the tripartite agreementdeclared war against United States of America. On the same day,United States of America presented a declaration of war against Italyand Germany. Britain on the other hand, declared war on Japan beforeUnited States of America because Japanese had attacked Malaya HongKong and Singapore7
Twohours after the attack, over 2000 soldiers and sailors perished, andapproximately 1000 were injured. In addition, eighteen ships,including five battleships sunk in the ocean. All the Americansinjured and killed were non- fighters because there was no state ofwar when the raid took place. One thousand one hundred and seventyseven deaths and injuries were caused by explosions. Nevada, whichwas a powerful battleship survived despite being hit by torpedo. Itwas one of the main battleships that were targeted by the Japanesebombers. In this case, Nevada sustained hits from bombs that weighed113 kilograms. Nevada was deliberately shored towards the beach so asto stop it from blocking the harbor.8
Inaddition, a ship known as California was hit by two torpedoes and twobombs. Burning oil from West Virginia and Arizona flowed towardsCalifornia, and worsened the situation. The disarmed target shipknown as Utah was hit twice by torpedoes, which created deep holes init. The Japanese military fleet also hit West Virginia with seventorpedoes, which tore its rudder. Another ship known as Oklahoma washit by 4 torpedoes, which made it to capsize on the ocean. TheJapanese hit a ship known as Maryland with two torpedoes but it wasnot seriously damaged. Even though the Japanese military troopsfocused on battleships, they did not ignore other water vessels. Inthis case, they hit the Light Cruise Helena with a Torpedo, which ledimpelled another vessel known as Oglala to capsize in the ocean. Thelight cruiser known as Raleigh was also hit by Torpedo forming a hugehole in its body. The light cruiser Honolulu was also damage wasstill in use. The repair vessel known as Vesta, which was anchoredalongside Arizona was greatly damaged and stranded on the ocean.8
Theday before the surprise attack, the USS Arizona had approximately 1.5million gallons of fuel. A large amount of the fuel helped inigniting the explosion that brought about fire, which completelywrecked the ship. Up to date, the fuel continues to leak out of theruins. The History Channels affirmed that the Arizona ruins continueto leak approximately 9 quarts of oil into the Pearl Harbor each day.Tourists who visit the place always say that the ship is stillbleeding as a result of the formidable act by the Japanese militarygroup. The USS Arizona Memorial, which is located on the Oahu Islandshonors people who lost their lives in the surprise attack. Anarchitect known as Alfred Preis designed the Arizona memorial. Thefacility has a sagging center, and the ends are vigorous and strong.The structure commemorates the initial defeat and final triumph ofUnited States of America. Even though December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day,United States of America does not recognize it as a federal holiday.The country still continues to pay a visit to the region so as toremember the people who lost their lives and injured during theJapanese attack. Schools and other institutions in some regions ofthe country lower the American flag half way as a sign of honor 9
Severalauthors have come up with a number of books regarding the fatefulevent. For instance, Margaret Regis and Larry Kimmett wrote a bookcalled the “Attack on Pearl Harbor: An illustrated History.” Thebook describes the event from the initial stages of planning till theday of the attack. The two authors have utilized a wide range ofphotos, maps and unique illustration to describe the event vividly.Gordon Prange is another author that came up with an essential bookknown as “At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of the Pearl Harbor.”The book gives comprehensive accounts of occurrences that led to theattack on the Pearl Harbor. Most scholars considers Gordon’s bookas one of the best history books in United States of America. Prangespent 37 years conducting a thorough research of the attack10.
UnitedStated got some lessons from the Pearl Harbor attack. In this case,U.S. learned that it should always be prepared for war, especiallywith prospective enemies. In addition, United States of Americastrengthened its intelligence unit so that it able to obtain alldetails regarding a battle, and thoroughly prepare its militarytroop. The Pearl Harbor made an enormous impact on the history ofUnited States of America. Scholars all over the world study about thesurprise attack. Despite Japan being responsible for the attack, itspeople still tour the memorial structure. Japan is currently one ofthe strongest allies of America, and is the biggest source oftourists that visit the Hawaii state.
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Darman,Peter. Attackon Pearl Harbor: America enters World War II.New York: Rosen Central, 2013
Stevenson,Richard. W. “New light shed on Churchill and Pearl Harbor.” TheNew York Times,4 March, 2014
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Stinnett,Robert B. Theday of deceit: The truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor. New York Rockefeller Center, 2000
Prange,Gordon, W. Goldstein, Donald & Dillon, Katherine. The PearlHarbor papers: Inside the Japanese plans. Potomac Book, Incorporated,1999
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Wohlstetter,Robert. PearlHarbor: Warning and decision.Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1962.
Zimm,Alan D. Attackon Pearl Harbor: Strategy, combat, myths and deceptions.Philadelphia: Casemate, 2011.
1 Naval History & Heritage Command. “Overview of the Pearl Harbor attack, 7December, 1941.” Accesses on 25th December, 2014, http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq66-1.htm
2 Robert B. Stinnett. The day of deceit: The truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor. New York Rockefeller Center, 2000
3 Patrick J. Buchanan. Why did Japan Attack us? 12 November, 2001, Web. Accessed on 25th November, 2014, http://www.theamericancause.org/patwhydidjapan.htm
4 Robert Wohlstetter. Pearl Harbor: Warning and decision. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1962.
5 AETN UK. “History of World War II: Pearl Harbor.” 2014. Web. Accessed on 25November, 2014, http://www.history.co.uk/study-topics/history-of-ww2/pearl-harbor
6 Peter Darman. Attack on Pearl Harbor: America enters World War II. New York: Rosen Central, 2013
7 Stevenson, Richard. W. “New light shed on Churchill and Pearl Harbor.” The New York Times, 4 March, 2014
8 Alan D Zimm. Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, combat, myths and deceptions. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2011.
9 The Huffington Post. Com, Inc. Five facts you did not know about Pearl Harbor, on the 72nd anniversary. 12 September, 2013. Web, accessed on 25November, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/06/pearl-harbor-facts_n_4395362.html
10 Prange, Gordon, W. Goldstein, Donald & Dillon, Katherine. The Pearl Harbor papers: Inside the Japanese plans. Potomac Book, Incorporated, 1999