Pearl Harbor Attack

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Pearl Harbor attack is well known in history since it is what awakened the sleeping giant and the Americans. The attack was made on Sunday 7 December 1941. It is believed that the attack was made by the two waves of Japanese aircraft which launched an attack on the US naval based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack came with no warning at all since they had not declared war (Potter, 2007). The attack was launched, and it destroyed four battleships whereby there was more damage within two hours. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought a lot of loss whereby 188 US aircrafts were destroyed. On the other hand, 100 Japanese perished in the attack, more than 2400 American soldiers were killed, and 1200 of them were injured.

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The cause of the attack was spearheaded by the rivalry that existed between the Japanese and Americans over the Pacific. Japan had early ambitions since 1931 and was evident when they invaded Manchuria (Potter, 2007). They conquered some regions which acted as bountiful resources to supply Japans machine that was stipulated for war. The Japanese further pursued an aggressive foreign currency that was said to aim at creating the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere.

Japan, therefore, posed a threat to the US economic interests and their influence in Asia. On July 1937, Japan overstepped the Americans patience when they engaged in an all-out war with China. The US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had to impose some economic sanctions, and that was when Japan turned to the Axis whereby they signed the Tripartie Pact with Germany and Italy.

The US president, Roosevelt avoided confronting Japan directly even when they occupied French Indochina in July 1941. The US could take it no longer, and they had to impose an oil embargo on Japan, which threatened to suffocate her economy (McGonagle, 2015). Japan response was that they chose to carry out a strike which would knock out the US out of Pacific paving way to the Japanese conquest. The Pearl Harbor attack came as a surprise to the US despite the fact that they had cracked Japanese radio codes. They were unable to interpret the raw data on the army and the navy correctly and therefore unaware of the attack.

The Pearl Harbor attack brought a lot of criticism which tend to blame the failure of the American intelligence which was not prepared well enough to know the conversation and interpret the communication of the Japanese (Potter, 2007). The US could have noted the probability and therefore be keen on the attack. Some of the historians criticize President Roosevelt for doing nothing to stop the attack. The attack was however very critical since the Pacific Fleet could not have worked on their own they must have operated with the Japanese.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the next day US declared war against Japan whereby there were a shared outrage and hatred which united the countrys divided media and the public too without the knowledge of Roosevelt. Germany and Italy declared war On 11th December 1941 on the United States. The declaration brought forth the genesis of the Second World War (McGonagle, 2015). The attack on Pearl Harbor, therefore, was a success to Japan since they were able to conquer various places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Burma, Philippines, Malaysia and New Guinea. Although that was so, the attack brought catastrophic outcome as the sleeping giant were again awoken and the sense of furry was in the air mobilizing for the worlds most powerful economy on war. The losses that occurred on Pearl Harbor was more than it could be counted for as terrible Vengeance befall Japan leading to the destruction of the most known Japan cities, and their base too.


McGonagle, J. (2015). Intelligence and Surprise Attack: failure and success from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 and beyond. Journal Of Intelligence History, 14(2), 152-153.

Potter, S. (2007). December 7, 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor. Weatherwise, 60(6), 18-19.

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