The Attack On Pearl Harbor Essay

1808 words - 7 pages

December 7, 1941, was on of the worst attacks ever on the United States. Out of that day, 2,403 soldiers were killed in action, 1,178 were wounded in action. Through the misjudgments of numerous U.S. armed forces personnel, the Japanese were able to carry out this terrible attack, which crippled the United States’ Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense…With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.” –President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Since the middle of the 19th century Japan had looked to transform itself from a closed, feudal society into a modern industrial and military powered country. In the early 1930’s, the Japanese army engaged in battles with the Chinese in Manchuria and in doing so had prevailed. Since Manchuria had lost these battles, they became a part of the Japanese political system. In 1939, World War II began with a string of German victories. Germany defeated Poland, France, and England. Many European nations that Germany had control of were of great interest to Japan due to the natural resources of tin, rubber, and petroleum, and Japan desperately needed these resources (Duiker and Spielvogel, 540-544). If Japan could seize these territories and incorporate them into their empire, it could become the most dominant power in the Pacific Ocean (Encyclopedia Britannica). A year after general European war began, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, and under which each signatory committed itself to join any new war with a currently non-belligerent state in which any other Axis power might become involved (Roberts). Not only did the United States freeze all Japanese assets under U.S. control but it also halted all sales of oil to Japan as well. The United States tried to come to a resolve with Japan over their differences. Because of neither nation’s willingness to compromise, war was now inevitable (Borg). Why didn’t the U.S. suspect Pearl Harbor of being the place of attack? Since the United States halted all exports to Japan, Japan declared war on the United States. Due to the lack of information, lack of technology, and talks of peace by Japan, the United States had no idea where Japan was going to hit.
As early as January 1941, reports suggested that Japan might attack Pearl Harbor; but civilian and military officials in Washington and Hawaii ignored these reports, considering an assault on the Philippines or European territories more likely, and underestimating Japan's ability to conceal preparations for such an operation. By the summer of 1941 American leaders knew, due to the success of the magic cryptanalysis operation in breaking...

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