Pearl Harbor: The Attack and Its Consequences
May 17, 2011
Pearl Harbor: The Attack and Its Consequences
Europe was already fighting World War II before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. World War II had started in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. America was not fighting in this war yet but was worried about Japan’s aggression at this same time. In 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to move the main part of the U.S. Pacific Naval Fleet from California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He thought that if our military base were closer to Japan, it would discourage them from advancing.
Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, was one of the world’s largest naval fleets, with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all based there. There were four airfields on the island: Hickam, Wheeler, Kaneohe, and Ewa. Ford Island, which was in the middle of the harbor, had a long airfield, too, and hangars for planes. Battleship Row was the nickname for the area of Ford Island where so many U.S. battleships were moored.
Japan made allies with Germany and Italy in September of 1940, which made them all more powerful. They all agreed that if another country went to war with one of them, the other two countries would supply military and economic aid.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire bombed Pearl Harbor. The Americans, who had been practicing drills for about a year, thought it was just another drill until one of them, Captain Logan Ramsey, saw the Japanese flags on the planes. He ran to the radio room and sent out the message, “Air raid! Pearl Harbor. This is not a drill!”
The Japanese attacked in two waves. The first wave of 183 planes was a complete surprise and hit all of the U.S. fleet and air fields on Oahu at the same time. The Navy air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Army air corps fields at Bellows, the Marine air fields at Ewa, Hickam, and Wheeler were all hit, with hangars, barracks, and rows of planes were all destroyed.
Every ship moored at Pearl Harbor was bombed that morning. Some men who were on ships jumped out of the ships into the harbor, but even the water was on fire. Crewmen, both on the ships and in the water around the ships, died or were badly burned and severely injured. Some men were trapped in ships that capsized.
Because all the U.S. planes were destroyed, we were unable to effectively fight back. Some men took up guns to shoot at the attacking planes but not many planes were shot down.
Sixty-four Japanese soldiers were killed during the raid and only twenty-nine out of 350 Japanese planes were destroyed.
Doris Miller, a cook with no weapons training, grabbed a machine gun and started shooting at Japanese planes. For this he was received a Navy cross. He was the first African-American to receive this award.
The Japanese planes retreated after 30 minutes of bombing. The Americans thought the attack was over, but it was soon followed by a second wave of 171 planes, 135 bombers and 36 fighter planes. The second wave focused on Pearl Harbor, especially on the ships that had not been damaged by the first wave.
Since we had not been at war with the Japanese at the time that they bombed Pearl Harbor, their attack came as a complete surprise and caused utter devastation. About 2400 Americans died there that day, and 1200 more were wounded.
Consequences of the bombing include the United States declaring war on Japan, moving all Japanese-American citizens from their homes to relocation camps, America joining with the “allied forces” and defeating Germany and, in the end, Japan as well.
President Roosevelt, in a speech the next day that has become famous, declared that we were now at war with Japan. He said, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval...
Bibliography: Allen, Thomas B. Remember Pearl Harbor: American and Japanese Survivors Tell Their Stories. National Geographic Society, 2001.
De Angelis, Therese. Pearl Harbor: Deadly Surprise Attack. American Disasters, Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2002.
McNeese, Tim. The Attack on Pearl Harbor: American Enters World War II. Morgan Reynolds Publishers, Inc., 2002.
Rice, Earle Jr. Battles of World War II: The Attack on Pearl Harbor. Lucent Books, 1997.
Rice, Earle Jr. The Bombing of Pearl Harbor. Lucent Books, 2001.
Sutcliffe, Jane and Bob Lentz. The Attack on Pearl Harbor. Capstone Press, 2006.
Tanaka, Shelley and David Craig. Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day America Entered World War II. Madison Press Books, 2001.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document