Pearl Harbor: the Attack

Topics: Attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II, United States Pages: 9 (2810 words) Published: October 8, 2012
The Attack on Pearl Harbor

By: Jess Bowen

Thesis Statement

The attack on Pearl Harbor was an important event not only in World War II, but in American history because the attack was the reason the United States entered the war and through their victory in the war, made the world as it is today.


I. Introduction/ Thesis
II. Background to attack
A. Anticipation to war
1. Japan vs. China
2. Tensions between Japan and United States
B. Japan’s objectives
1. Destroy U.S. fleets
2. Strengthen Japan’s naval fleet
3. Blow to American morale
III. Attack on Pearl Harbor
A. Japanese plan
1. First wave
2. Second wave
3. Disadvantages
B. Japanese Declaration of War
1. Delay
2. Reasons for delay
C. Waves
1. First wave
2. Second wave
3. Possible third wave
IV. Aftermath
A. Casualties and losses
1. United States losses
a. Battleships
b. Soldiers
c. Civilians
2. Japanese losses
d. Submarines
e. Aircrafts
f. Soldiers
3. Salvages
B. United States’ Declaration of War
1. Infamy Speech
2. Tripartite Pact
C. Niihau Incident
1. Struggle between Americans and Japanese Americans
2. Led to distrust of local Japanese-Americans
V. Conclusion

World War II was an important event in American history. The outcome of the war determined what the world is like today. Freedom is known to more people today than in the early 20th century. If the Axis had won, millions of people would have vanished from the earth because of their ethnicity, religion, color, disability, and much more. However, the Allies victory in the war eliminated many of the European powers becoming world powers. The United States played a strong role in the Allies victory in World War II. However, the United States may have never entered the war if it had not been for the Japanese attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack on Pearl Harbor was an important even not only in World War II, but American history because the attack was the reason the United States entered the war and through their victory in the war, made the world as it is today.

There were many factors leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the late 19th century, Japan’s economy began to grow and to industrialize rapidly. Japan had few natural resources and had to rely heavily on imported raw materials, such as coal, iron ore, steel strap, tin, petroleum, and rubber. Without such imports, Japan’s industrial economy would have stopped (“The Japanese View,” 1941). However, by engaging in international trade, especially with the United States, the Japanese were able to build a moderately advanced industrial economy by 1941. They also focused on building a military-industrial intricate economy to support an increasingly powerful army and navy. The Japanese armed forces allowed Japan to protect various places in the Pacific and ear Asia, specifically China.

Tensions began to rise between Japan and the United States after Japan’s 1931 invasion of Manchuria, China. Japan’s expansion into China led to an all-out war in 1937. In December 1937, Japanese attacks swung public opinion in the west against Japan and its expansion. The United States, the United Kingdom, and France decided to provide loan assistance for war supply contracts to China (Kimmett, Larry & Regis, Margaret, 2004). In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina in hopes of controlling supplies reaching China. The United States halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline. Japan perceived this action as an “unfriendly act” (“The Japanese View,” 2001). The United States did not stop oil exports to Japan, since doing so would be an extreme step and Japan would...

Bibliography: Kimmett, Larry & Regis, Margaret. The Attack on Pearl Harbor: An Illustrated History.
Bellingham, WA: NavPublishing, 2004.
Lord, Walter. Day of Infamy. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing, 2001.
Willmott, H.P. Pearl Harbor. New York, NY: Cassell Publishing, 2001.
“Attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941.” Eyewitness to History, (1997)
“Attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941-The Japanese View.” Eyewitness to History, (2001).
“Pearl Harbor Timeline.” (2001).
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