The Attack on Pearl Harbor

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ck on Pearl Harbor
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” This is a famous quote that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto uttered just after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was nervous that one of the most important surprise attacks in recent history would turn out to be a complete failure. Over the course of history there have been numerous decisions to attack other nations with some of them being successful and others not so much. However, few have been as difficult as the decision to attack Pearl Harbor. Most of the high ranking officers in the Japanese military were split on the decision to attack. Even Admiral Yamamoto was against the decision to attack. Eventually it was decided that attacking Pearl Harbor was a necessary step in order to take over southeast Asia and its oil rich land. That is so because Japan believed that the United States would attack them if they tried to take over southeast Asia. Thus Pearl Harbor was attacked in order to disable the United States Pacific fleet. In hindsight, many have argued that Japan made the wrong decision and should not have attacked Pearl Harbor due to the fact that it dragged the resource rich United States into war with Japan. Although Japan ended up losing the war, based on their options at the time, Japan made the correct decision of attacking Pearl Harbor. At the time it was inevitable that the US would get into war with Japan, it significantly weakened the US Pacific Fleet, and it gave Japan time to start their conquest of Southern Asia before the US could respond.

War between Japan and the United States was almost inevitable. Japan was fighting as an axis power and the United States was a member of the allies. War between the allies and axis powers had been going on for a couple years in Europe and there was no end in sight. On top of that a series of events between the Japanese and the United States significantly weakened their relationship. The Japanese left the League of Nations, the United States froze trade with Japan, and the United States was against Japan taking over Southeastern Asia (World War 2 Pearl Harbor, Online). The deterioration of the relationship between the Japanese and the United States came all the way back in 1933. In early 1933, Japan invaded Manchuria and the League of Nations ordered Japan out of Manchuria. Japan decided not to listen to the League of Nations and they ended up leaving it (Pearl Harbor, Oahu – The Attack: Facts and Information, Online). This is the first step in the deterioration of their relationship because it gives Japan a label of not being trustworthy and cooperative. Japan could have easily listened to the League of Nations and left Manchuria, but they chose to not cooperate and stay in Manchuria. Based on that move the United States had no idea if Japan could be trusted because they left an organization that was designed to keep the world at peace. This was a very important move by the Japanese. Besides the trust issues, it showed that if need be Japan was willing to go to war with the United States. This was so because Japan didn't want to have an alliance with them. The League of Nations was similar to an alliance in that it was a group of countries that were trying to keep peace so Japan leaving showed that they weren't necessarily interested in peace (World War 2 Pearl Harbor, Online). Although this was an important event in the relations, it alone wasn't enough to spark a war. In order for a war to happen a couple other events had to take place.

One of the major concerns of the United States was Japan taking over Southeastern Asia. The United States was against Japan taking over Southeastern Asia for many reasons. A couple in particular were that Japan was a threat to the United States and the United States didn't want Japan to exploit the resource rich land to help their military. Although the United States was and is a lot bigger...
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