Pacific Theatre in World War II

Topics: World War II, Attack on Pearl Harbor, Empire of Japan Pages: 7 (2469 words) Published: January 20, 2014

United States’ Involvement in the Pacific Theatre during World War II
On 1 September 1939 the country of Germany led by Adolf Hitler invaded Poland using blitzkrieg tactics or in other words “lightning war”. As Germany is capturing Europe one country at a time Japan is doing the same except with Asia and Japan is also preparing for the attack of the United States naval base on the island of Oahu called Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the United States to declare war on Japan, break isolationism and get deeply involved in World War II.

On 7 December 1941 at 7:30 am army privates George Elliot and Joseph Lockard were operating in a radar station when they noticed a large amounts of aircraft incoming but they did not sound the alarm because there was supposed to be a group of B-17 bombers due to Pearl Harbor (Michael 10). At 8:00 am the words “Tora Tora Tora” sounded over Japanese radios meaning that the Japanese have achieved complete surprise on the Americans and that the attack was a go and the dive bombers started to drop their deadly payloads on the American airfields, aiming specifically for United States war planes (Michael 11). As the Japanese attacked the airfields they also simultaneously attacked the harbor with more dive bombers and torpedo planes equipped with torpedoes specially made for the shallow waters of the harbor (Michael 12). During all of the chaos a dive bomber dropped its deadly payload on to the USS Arizona, with a single bomb hit to the magazine, the whole bow of the ship was severed from the rest and 1,000 men died instantly (Michael 12). At 8:45 am even more Japanese torpedo planes and dive bombers attacked the harbor targeting repair yards and any other ships that the pilots saw. The attack was planned months before 7 December, the Japanese built a model of the actual harbor to help prepare for the attack and they practiced on it until each and every pilot knew exactly which target to hit and how to hit it and until they could achieve an 80% hit rate on the American ships (Michael 47). The task force the Japanese used consisted of 6 aircraft carriers each equipped with hundreds of planes and 20 other ships including battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers and a few submarines (Michael 49). The attack killed 2,388 Americans and injured another 2,000, the attack destroyed 21 ships out of 92 total in the harbor, nearly 300 American aircraft were destroyed and only 29 Japanese aircraft were destroyed (Reid 219). The Americans were infuriated with the attack, they felt as if they were vulnerable and they wanted the United States government to declare war on Japan.

On 8 December 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes a speech to congress asking them to declare a state of war on Japan. Later that day with a vote of 388 to 1 the United States is at war with Japan. The industry skyrocketed as the United States prepares for war; everything from food to weapons is rationed and made in a method called mass production. On 9 December 1941 Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. The United States is now deeply involved in World War II, but the United States has a difficult decision to make whether or not they should concentrate their forces over in Europe to fight the Italians and Germans or concentrate their forces in the Pacific and get revenge on the Japanese and avenge Pearl Harbor.

On 8 April 1942 Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle launched an air attack consisting of B-25 medium range bombers. The attack was designed to inflict damage on Tokyo and to destroy the Japanese morale and avenge Pearl Harbor. The plan was for 16 B-25s to be launched off the coast of Japan and their mission was to bomb the city of Tokyo and land on American air bases in China. Most of the 16 B-25s, each with a five-man crew, attacked the Tokyo area, with a few hitting Nagoya (“The Doolittle Raid”). However none of the planes made it to China and most of the crews were captured, but...

Cited: Burgan, Michael. The Attack on Pearl Harbor United States Entry into World War II. New York:
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Willmott, H.P. Pearl Harbor. London, Great Britain: Cassel and Company, 2001. Print.
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