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SPOTLIGHT: The Attack On Pearl Harbor | Encyclopaedia Britannica

SPOTLIGHT: The Attack On Pearl Harbor | Encyclopaedia Britannica

FDR: “December 7th, 1941, A date which will
live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly
and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…” The relationship between Japan and the United
States had soured in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor. This began with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria
in 1931 and expansion throughout the Chinese mainland that led to The Second Sino-Japanese
war between China and Japan in 1937. Japan then joined the Berlin or Tripartite
pact, forming an alliance with Germany and Italy in 1940. The War in Europe had opened up strategic
opportunities for the Japanese conquest of European colonial holdings, such as French
Indochina, British Malaysia and Singapore, Dutch Indonesia, and the Philippines. Following the invasion of French Indochina
in 1941, the US froze Japanese assets in the United States and declared an embargo on petroleum
shipments. US oil accounted for 80% of Japan’s oil
imports. By late 1941 the United States had severed
practically all commercial and financial relations with Japan. Japanese military strategy was based on the
peculiar geography of the Pacific Ocean and on the relative weakness of the Allied military
presence there. The western half of the Pacific is dotted
with many islands, while the eastern half of the ocean is almost devoid of landmasses
and hence usable bases, except for Hawaii. The British, French, American, and Dutch military
forces in the entire Pacific region west of Hawaii amounted to only about 350,000 troops. Allied air power in the Pacific was weak and
consisted mostly of obsolete planes. The Japanese believed that they could quickly
launch coordinated attacks from their existing bases on certain Pacific Islands and overwhelm
the Allied forces, planning to establish a strongly fortified defensive perimeter. They believed that any American and British
counteroffensives against this perimeter could be repelled, after which those nations would
eventually seek a negotiated peace that would allow Japan to keep this newly acquired empire. On the morning of December 7th, at 6:10 AM,
The first wave of Japanese planes launched. At 6:45 AM the USS Ward spotted and opened
fire on a Japanese submarine off the coast of Hawaii
At 6:53 AM the Ward reported sinking the sub, but decoding the message took time. At 7:02 A radar station on Oahu spotted unidentified
aircraft headed towards the island. However, radar systems were less than a month
old, and the lieutenant who received the warning thought it was a false alarm. By 7:40 AM the first wave of Japanese aircraft
reaches Oahu, having evaded American early warning systems. Shorty thereafter, the Japanese aerial commanded
ordered the attack. The Japanese aircraft flew in two waves – the
first wave attacked airfields and anti-air defenses on the west side of the island, while
the second wave, almost an hour later, concentrated on the eastern side. Both waves met over Pearl Harbor. In the harbor, anchored ships made perfect
targets for the Japanese bombers. Most of the damage to the battleships occurred
in the first 30 minutes of the assault. The Arizona was completely destroyed and the
Oklahoma capsized. The California, Nevada, and West Virginia
sank in shallow water. However, the Pacific Fleet’s three aircraft
carriers were at sea during the attack, and the Japanese failed to destroy the important
oil storage facilities on the island. All but two of the battleships were returned
to service during the war, and overall US naval strategy in the pacific shifted to rely
on aircraft carriers over battleships as a result. Japan’s fleet of 67 ships was located about
200 miles north of Oahu. They launched dive bombers, torpedo bombers,
and fighter planes. There were 353 Japanese aircraft involved
in the attack, 29 of which were shot down. Only one Japanese ship that participated survived
to the end of the war. In total, 2,404 US military personnel and
civilians were killed. 1,177 of those casualties were aboard one
ship – the USS Arizona, where an armor-piercing bomb struck and ignited over a million pounds
of gunpowder within the ship. The Arizona sank in less than nine minutes. 68 US civilians were killed. After the battle, 15 individuals were awarded
the Medal of Honor and 51 were awarded a Navy Cross for their actions in battle. The following day, president Franklin Delano
Roosevelt addressed the United States, and the US congress declared war against Japan. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared
war on the United States, and the previously reluctant nation entered the Second World
War. The attack on pearl harbor is credited with
uniting the US population behind the war effort. It is estimated that between 35 and 65 million
people died during the Second World War, including civilians killed as a result of war, those
who died from disease, and those killed during the Holocaust. The Second World War resulted in the expansion
of the Soviet Union’s power throughout eastern Europe, the spread of communism to China,
the advent of nuclear weapons, and the decisive shift of world power away from the states
of western Europe and toward the United States and the Soviet Union

Reader Comments

  1. Japan, we WON WW2 Politically!

    “Meiji Restoration to Protect Japan from colonial rule…The Liberation of Asia.” “Fallacies in the Allied Nations' Historical Perception as Observed by a british journalists” (2017, p. 117)

    Has this happened, yes!

    Thanks 2 us!!!!!

    “Decolonization of Asia and Africa, 1945-1960”
    After WW2, Asian & African Nationalists Overthrow
    white DEVIL colonism!

    “Understanding the Department of State
    (The Cabinet Series) 1st edition (2015, pp. 305-307)

    Ha ha


  2. I stand with Australia but looking back there was so many innocent killed, the bad guys were Germany and no mater what the deserved pain and death not Asia they were pawns to the bigger picture

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