Pearl Harbor is a very popular event in American History. There was a recent movie about it, and with the recent World Trade Center attacks, it is likely that Americans are going to compare the two. The Japanese attacked us with no forewarning and the United States never seen in coming. The attack was right out of the blue. Americans were not pleased with the attack, that’s for sure.
On December 7, 1941, at approximately 7:53 A.M., Japanese bombers approached Pearl Harbor. There is a US Navy Bass by Pearl Harbor at Oahu, Hawaii. Since this attack came out of nowhere, nobody was on alert for defence. This wasn’t the first time we hadn’t responded quickly to a war situation either. When World War I began, we basically kept to ourselves. Yes, we did offer supplies and other things to Britain and her allies, but it wasn’t until German U-boats sank one of our cargo ships, the Lusitania, for doing so. This attack on us was what got us up and into the war. Right after the first bombers struck, the US started to fight back. The Pearl Harbor Naval Base was done under the command of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the commander in chief of Japan’s Combined Fleet.
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A lot of US planes got in the airspace to defend the base relatively fast and did their best to defend the base. As the attack went on, the defence got better and better. The Japanese have launched 353 planes against Pearl Harbor. Over 3000 military troops and navy troops were killed on the ground or wounded. For every person that died, a letter was sent to the families of the victims saying that their son or daughter was dead. 200 Aircraft, 13 sea vessels, and 8 battleships were destroyed in the attack. And the attack only lasted 2 hours or less.
The Pearl Harbor Attack lead to the complete destruction of the USS Arizona and the capsizing of the USS Oklahoma Ships. The other ships that I knew Japan had sunk were the USS California, Nevada, and West Virginia. Japan had killed more than two thousand American soldiers in its surprise attack and wounded around another thousand.
The war was declared on Japan by president Roosevelt on December 8, 1941, but most American’s had already suspected that war would be declared after the attack. And the governor signed the proclamation. This marked the beginning of World War II. Four days later Germany and Italy, in alliance with Japan, declared war on the U.S. Later on the attack at Pearl Harbor ended up being more beneficial to the US. It united a nation against Japan and its allies. Before the attack, the American people were divided in their feelings toward the Japanese. After the attack, the American people united which allowed for a great advancement in production to occur. The U.S. was now prepared for war against the axis powers. The US won the war against Japan.
Many people think that Franklin Roosevelt wanted to go to war and help Britain. US did many things to instigate the attack. In political cartoons, they showed Japanese fighter pilots with buck teeth and thick glasses, showing that they could not hit any target from airspace. Also, Roosevelt sent sailboats with Navy men to Japanese waters. The boats were armed with cannons and machine guns. The Japanese ignored the sailboats as if they meant nothing.
Even more interesting was the strategy the Japanese used. The Japanese used war games strategy used by the Pacific fleet in 1932. The commander of the attack force, by custom expected to place his headquarters on the largest battleship in the fleet, instead elected a trick, allowing all the big ships and troop carriers to stream southwest while he took two carriers (the Lexington and the Saratoga) north, launching 152 planes in the dark, which arrived over Pearl Harbor at dawn on a Sunday. This caught all the defensive aircrafts on the ground and a lot of the Navy brass at leisure.
Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt condemned the Japanese, as he spoke to the American public about the treachery that propelled us into war. He referred to December 7, 1941 as a day that will live in infamy. Almost from the beginning, there were serious questions regarding the attack that had brought the United States into the world conflict. Roosevelt hastily appointed a special commission to investigate the attack. He knew the commission was unlikely to compromise the spirit of unity that now existed in the country. Members of the Roosevelt administration were free of any blame.
The commission’s report indicated that fault lay with Admiral Kimmel and General Short. Both senior commanders at Pearl Harbor were relieved of their duties following the attack. Subsequent investigations will fault the men for failing to adopt adequate defence measures. The American public did not know then that the president and his top military advisors in Washington had been intercepting Japanese secret messages for several months and they knew the details of the attack well before December 7.
Those who saw the intercepted Japanese messages as they were received including: President Roosevelt; Secretary of State, Mr. Hull; Secretary of War, Mr. Stimson; Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Knox; Chief of Staff of the Army, General Marshall; Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Stark; Chief of War Plans, Army, General Gerow; Chief of War Plans, Navy, Admiral Turner; Chief of Army Intelligence, General Miles; Chief of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Worthington. Recorded testimony shows that all of these, except General Marshall and Admiral Stark, were shown 13 parts of the 14-part message by 9 p.m. December 6, 1941, or shortly after.
When Mr. Roosevelt had read the 13 parts, around 9 p.m. December 6, 1941, he remarked: “This means war.” All investigations of the disaster have failed to disclose where George Marshall spent the evening of December 6, 1941, or what he did. Admiral Stark, some two years after he had first been asked, finally produced evidence that he had attended the theater on that evening, though he still maintained that he had no independent recollection of where he spent the evening or what he did during the evening of December 6, 1941.
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