Conflict in the Pacific

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Conflict in the Pacific essay

Question: Analyse the strategic and political reasons for bombing Pearl Harbour.

There were numerous strategic and political reasons that lead to the bombing of Pearl Harbour on December 7th, 1941. However nationalism, militarism and imperialistic notions were key influential factors, which together contributed to the almost complete annihilation of the US Pacific fleet. Based on Japan’s nationalistic beliefs of superiority over Asian nations, the surprise attack attempted to fulfill a change in the balance of power within South East Asia and expose the vulnerability of the West.

Portraying Japan’s notions of nationalism and desires for imperialistic gain, the attack on Pearl Harbour was planned, after months of dissention among the ranks of army command, by Commanders Mitsuo Fuchida and Minoru Genda, who strongly believed that the future of naval warfare would be decided by aviation. To fulfill its militaristic and imperialistic aims, the attack needed to destroy aircraft carriers, attack submarine bases and oil reserves and to destroy the US base to the extent that the Americans would have to relocate to the West coast, therefore, giving the Japanese the opportunity to take control of the Pacific. Although many of these aims were achieved most were nullified, as the Americans were able to quickly recover from the blow. Not only did the success of Pearl Harbour depend completely on the strategic element of surprise, the Japanese attack was formulated for Pearl Harbour to surprise the enemy and expose the vulnerability of the West, thus portraying Japan’s notions of nationalism and superiority. The Japanese implemented the element of surprise by deceiving the US government. They achieved this by convincing the US government that Japan would not attack, whilst the Japanese Navy steamed towards Hawaii. Although most officials believed this peace claim, others were hesitant. There was also no warning of the attack because the...
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