US History II 2223 RKAA
March 26, 2013
The Attack of Pearl Harbor: Causes and Effects
The attack of Pearl Harbor is a very important aspect of World War II. It is untimely what will pull the United States to join the war against the Axis powers, majorly Germany, Italy and Japan. During the 1930s, Japan began to invade China with the intensions of taking it over. In 1940, after occupying the coastal lines of China, the Japanese began to invade and take over northern French Indochina. When the United States became aware of Japans actions, they put an embargo on Japan forbidding exports of steel, scrap iron, and aviation fuel. As the Japanese occupied southern Indochina, the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands decided to freeze Japanese assets. This effort stopped Japan from being able to purchase oil and it was to eventually weaken the army and in time make the naval and air force useless and no longer able to take over more territory in Asia. Japan desperately tried to persuade the countries to lift the embargo and still be able to keep the territories that they had invaded. But the United States demanded a halt in the aggressiveness towards China and Indo. Japans premier, General Tojo Hideki decided that November 29 (1941) would be that last day that Japan would wait for a settlement without going to war. When the United States did not comply with Japan’s request, Japan began to prepare for an attack on the United States. It is believed that the Japanese chose to attack Pearl Harbor because crippling Pearl Harbor would mean that they could ensure not being stopped by the American forces. If Japan had chosen to attack on an area actually located in the US, they would still have to get past Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to get home. Attacking Pearl Harbor was the only target with a guaranteed success. On December 7, 1941, the day of the attack, the United States Intelligence broke Japanese’s code that suggested that there was to be an attack on the United States. However, by the time Washington, D.C. received the information it was too late and Pearl Harbor had already been attacked. It was just before 8:00 AM on a peaceful Sunday morning when the first fleet of Japanese airplanes struck Pearl Harbor. They hit airfields located on the southern part of Ford Island destroying most of the airplanes. They bombed all of the battleships that were lined up in Battleship Row. They also had torpedo planes that attacked the battleship Row from the West as well as the East. The U.S.S Arizona had a bomb reach the ammunition room making the ship explode and sink. Also the Oklahoma was hit by a torpedo and was damaged to where it turned upside down. As the first fleet of planes departed the telegraph reporter tapped out “Tora, Tora, Tora,” which was the code word for surprise attack achieved. The second fleet of Japanese bombers was sent to further damage ships that they had already attacked. The Japanese finished their mission in a little over two hours and then began their return home to Japan. Over 3,500 Americans were either killed or wounded in the attack of Pearl Harbor. Of those numbers at least 1,177 lives were taken when U.S.S. Arizona was hit and sank. In their attack, the Japanese lost approximately 65 of their men. The Japanese had originally intended to target the aircraft carriers. Fortunately for America, but unfortunately for Japan, all three carriers were out at sea. The fuel storage tanks, maintenance areas and most destroyers and submarines were left unharmed. The following day of the Pearl Harbor attacks, the United States declares war on Japan. “Yesterday, December 7, 1941-a date which will live in infamy- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” This was the statement that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made to the citizens...
Cited: Pearl Harbor.org
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