Pearl Harbor Term Paper

Topics: Attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II, United States Pages: 6 (2318 words) Published: April 29, 2011
1. Introduction
Hawaii's Pearl Harbor is one of the most well-known military installations in the world. Pearl Harbor is located on the south coast of Oahu, the third largest of the eight major islands generally considered to be Hawaii. In the vicinity of Pearl Harbor are there many U.S. military installations: the U.S. Pacific naval base, Hickam Air Force Base, Pearl Harbor Naval Air Station, and Camp H. M. Smith, headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command. The U.S. first gained rights there in 1887 when the Hawaiian monarchy let them build a coaling and repair station In 1900 Pearl Harbor was made to a U.S. naval base. In 1940 after the signing of the Pact of Berlin by the Axis nations (Germany, Italy, and Japan) the Harbor was improved by building fortification. (UNT, Department of History) In 1941, warplanes took off from the decks of six aircraft carriers of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Their mission was to strike a crippling blow to the United States military forces stationed at Pearl Harbor. Japanese leaders were ready to seize the rich oil fields of the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia, and believed a pre-emptive attack on the American military was necessary to prevent American interference in the invasion plans. To accomplish what they hoped was a "knockout blow", Japanese forces planned to launch attacks on U.S. forces in the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, and, most importantly, at the U.S. Navy ships stationed at Pearl Harbor. (Isserman, 1991) 2. A day of Infamy

The final attack took place on December 7, 1941 when Japanese fighter planes attacked the United States Naval base Pearl Harbor killing more than 2400 Americans. Despite numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action, the lack of any formal warning by Japan, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". (Costello, 1994). 2.1 Background of the attack

The road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930's when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Indonesia, which until then had been part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China. In 1940 the Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance, and, in the following year occupied all of Indonesia. The United States, which had important political and economic interests in East Asia, was alarmed by these Japanese moves. The United States increased military and financial aid to China, created a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan. Because Japan was poor in natural recourses its government viewed these steps, especially the embargo on oil, as a threat to the nation’s survival. Japans' leaders responded by resolving to seize the resources and territories of Southeast Asia, even though that move would certainly result in war with the United States. (Hoyt, 1986) The United States had received many warnings stating there would be an attack on Pearl Harbor. In October, the Soviets top spy, Richard Sorge, informed Kremlin that Pearl Harbor would be attacked in sixty days. Moscow had then informed him that this had been passed on to the United States. The United States completely ignored all references to an attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 6th at 9:30pm, President Roosevelt had read the first thirteen parts of the decoded declaration of war that the Japanese had sent. The document stated "This means war." This is when Roosevelt decided that it was time to proclaim war on Japan. Unfortunately, his decision did not reach Pearl Harbor in any helpful form before it was too late. (ibid) 2.2 The Attack

In the hours before dawn, on December 7, 1941, United States Navy vessels spotted an unidentified submarine periscope near the entrance to Pearl...
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