Pearl Harbor

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“Pearl Harbor”
By
Michele Rhoney

November 7, 1941, “A day which will live in Infamy”, as stated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. There are many conspiracy theories, in which people believe Roosevelt knew of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. was caught off guard by the attack and did not have proper intelligence to be able to retaliate on the Japanese. Survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, all shared one similar part of their story, security measures were taken down the day before the attack and all the ammunition was locked away making it extremely difficult to fire back.

The Japanese fleet sailed south at the end of November, undetected across the Pacific Ocean to begin the attack on Pearl Harbor around 8 am on December 7, 1941. Most of the military men were sleeping and awoke to loud blasts and planes flying overhead. Many of the battleships were hit with torpedoes. The Japanese made torpedoes that could sustain the shallow waters in the Harbor and instead hit the ships. The USS Arizona was hit by two torpedoes and sang with over 1,500 men aboard, they were trapped inside the ship and died aboard the ship they called home. The USS Oklahoma capsized drowning the men who were trapped inside. Hundreds of men jumped into the oil filled waters and attempted to save their fellow soldiers in the water, before saving themselves. The Japanese forces consisted of 353 aircraft from 4 carriers. Included were 40 torpedo plans, 103 level bombers, 131 dive-bombers, and 79 fighters, two heavy cruisers, 35 submarines, two light cruisers, nine oilers, two battleships, and 11 destroyers. The three US aircraft carriers were not in Pearl Harbor the day of the attack, this made Admiral Yamamoto fearful that the US would be able to recover and fight back quickly. The casualties of the US military consisted of 3,581 men killed or wounded. Half of these men were aboard the Arizona. Aircraft damaged at Pearl Harbor were totaled to 328. Japan attack the air field at Hickam, destroyed almost all of their planes. Most of which were lined up or grouped together to prevent a takeover by Japanese spies that were already in Hawaii. Six battleships were damaged while two were destroyed. Japanese lost 29 aircraft and 5 midget submarines, one Japanese soldier was taken prisoner and 129 of the Japanese soldiers were killed in the attack. The entire attack at Pearl Harbor lasted an hour and 15 minutes consisting of two waves of attacks.

There is a conspiracy theory in which President Roosevelt provoked the Japanese to attack to give the U.S a way to enter into the war, also to sway the American opinion. In the summer of 1941, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes was given additional responsibility as petroleum coordinator for national defense. A month before the Japanese sent troops into French Indochina, Ickes suggested to President Roosevelt that we immediately stop shipments of oil to Japan. Roosevelt felt that this would jumpstart and attack initiated by the Japanese and decided against it. After Japanese troops moved into Indochina, Roosevelt changed his mind and overnight froze all assets to Japan. Washington had been receiving several messages from Japan that had to be deciphered. Telegram No. 83 was received on September 24, but not translated until October 9. The telegram stated that an espionage agent in Honolulu, “was to divide the waters of Pearl Harbor into five areas, each of which was precisely defined. He was to report on the types and classes of the US Navy ships that were anchored or moored in each of these areas.” This telegram was not taken very seriously and therefore no action was taken to prevent any attacks. Another message that was sent on December 6 had a very clear message which was overlooked, “I imagine that in all possible there is considerable opportunity left to take advantage for a surprise attack against these places.” It referred to...
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