Richard B. Bavis
American History Since 1865
Mr. Gregory Lawson
February 18, 2011
History is unique and is full of absolutes. It either happened or it did not, and you either learn from it or not. Warfare has been and will always be a part of our history and a key reason for the way we live our lives today. When we have conflicts on other countries soil it does not affect us as Americans as an attack on our own. The outcome is complete pandemonium and will change the mindset forever, thus the attack on Pearl Harbor changed ours ceaselessly.
The attack on Pearl Harbor will be known as one of the most devastating attacks on American Soil along with the Attack of September 11, 2001. We have fought numerous wars mostly abroad, but without a shadow of doubt the attack on Pearl Harbor will never be forgotten, and changed the way the military operates to the current day. Myself being an U.S. Army Warrant Officer, it suits my personality to educate myself on historical warfare that influenced the way we as a military operate today. There is a lot of information and Historical facts about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it seems difficult to outline everything in 8-10 pages, but a general overview of how it affected life in the United States of America can be achieved. Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii, was attacked by Japanese torpedo and bomber planes on December 7, 1941, at 7:55 a.m. Pacific time. (U.S. History, 2009) It will always be known as “a date which will love in infamy”. (Davidson, 2008) The purpose of the attack on Pearl Harbor was to neutralize American naval power within the Pacific. The Japanese wanted license to do as they pleased in the Pacific and Asia, and thought they could get this by eliminating the American influence within the region. Specifically, Japan had been embroiled in a war with China; after many years of fighting eventually became a stalemate. Japan thought by cutting China off from American (as well as British) aid, China would be weakened, and the stalemate would be broken. Japan also knew that American naval power could not be neutralized indefinitely, but thought that by dealing it a heavy blow at Pearl Harbor, the American Navy could be neutralized long enough for Japan to achieve its objectives in Asia and the Pacific. In terms of its strategic objectives the attack on Pearl Harbor was, in the short to medium term, a unique and spectacular success for the Japanese which eclipsed the wildest dreams of its planners and has few parallels in the military history of any era. In the longer term, however, the Pearl Harbor attack was an unmitigated strategic disaster for Japan. The path to war between Japan and the United States, culminating with the Battle of Pearl Harbor, began in the early 1930’s when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931, Japan conquered Manchuria, which until then had been a part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China. In mid-1940 Japan made the inevitable move to war when the Emperor allied his country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance. At that time Germany was under the eye of America, and in the following year, Japan made their move and occupied all of Indochina. The United States, which had important political and economic interests in Eastern Asia, was alarmed and amazed by actions made by Japan. The U.S. increased military and financial aid to China, and embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan, along with other sanctions such as “Roosevelt administration introduced economic sanctions to make its point clear: The United States would not facilitate Japan's expansion into the Pacific” (Past foundations, 2004). Japan needed natural resources, especially oil, for its planned expansion. Its government viewed these indicators,...