The Attack on Pearl Harbor
As war in Europe exploded in the late 1930’s, it became increasingly difficult for the United States to remain its neutrality. President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood that majority of Americans opposed U.S. intervention, because of World War I and Great Depression hardships. By the beginning of December 1941, the United States had engaged in warlike activity – such as the Neutrality Act of 1939 and the Lend-Lease Act – but had yet to commit itself. A surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, an American naval base in Hawaii, ended all debate and eventually led to the United States entrance into World War II. During the war the Japanese Empire continued to grow in China and bean to move into Indochina. In July of 1940, President Roosevelt tried to stop this expansion by placing a natural resource embargo on important naval and aviation supplies to Japan, such as oil, fuel, steel, and rubber. After Japan signed the Tripartite Pact in 1940 with Germany and Italy, Roosevelt instituted a more extensive embargo. These attempts slowed, but did not stop the expansion, because the Japanese were able to gain resources from their new territories. In 1941, General Hideki Tojo became the Japanese prime minister. He focused intently on military expansion, and wanted to keep the United States neutral. He was often known as “The Razor’ for his sharp mind. The following summer, Japan and the United States Attempted to negotiate an agreement; they had little success because Japan wanted further expansion, while the United States firmly disagreed. When the U.S. Secretary of State rejected Japan’s last demand, Tojo had completely given up on peace. By the beginning of December he had plans to take action against the United States. The Japanese meticulously practiced and prepared their attack on Pearl Harbor. They knew their plan was extremely risky, because the probability of success depended on complete surprise. The forces that Tojo sent from Japan under...
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