On December 7th, 1941, a tragic conflict occurred in Hawaii, Pearl Harbor. The outbreak of war was led by Japan, which had been hit hard by the effects of the “Depression,” as their main export silk crops had fallen by 50%. Japan’s only answer was to expand into other neighbouring countries, which had good sources that Japan lacked. America isolated itself from the world’s conflicts and realized that if they didn’t get involved, Japan could attack America. As Japan expanded more into South East Asia, America then banned oil and steel exports to Japan. As a result, Japan invaded Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack, which consisted of U.S artillery and battleships. Japan and America were then at war, which led to a mass of destruction, the innocence of lives lost, and heartbreak.
By the 1930s, Japan had been hit hard by the effects of the “Depression.” Since their main export silk crops had fallen by half of their production, they invaded their neighbours (countries). For example, they hit Manchuria. This is because Manchuria was an excellent source of coal, iron, timber and many other resources that Japan lacked. (See Resource 1a). To gain control over this well-resourced country, the Japanese military deliberately blew up a section of a Japanese-owned railway and blamed it on China. By 1932 Japan had expanded into the whole of Manchuria. By 1936 the North East of China; Japan was growing stronger. Meanwhile, America had chosen to isolate itself from the rest of the world’s conflict (See Resource 1b). Under this way of thinking, the United States adopted Neutrality Laws to keep out of all foreign affairs. But this did not last for long. By 1939, World War II had broken out. America finally realized then that if they did not get involved that Japan could end up attacking America.
Japan had expanded into South East Asia at an alarming rate, causing President Roosevelt to take drastic action and ban all oil and steel exports to Japan. At this time, Japan was in desperate need of oil to fuel their artillery, used at war with South East Asia. This was the main reason the Japanese decided to bomb Pearl Harbor, which brung America into the war. Japan took action by planning their invasion weeks before the attack; they concluded by having two wave attacks, one after the other (See Resource 1c). The attack was to be planned for Sunday 7th December at approximately 7:55 a.m. Meanwhile, before the invasion was to occur at Pearl Harbor, the Harbor consisted of U.S battleships, carriers, naval bases and artillery forces, which were all based around Ford Island (See Resource 1d).
Before the bombings, although Japan was meant to be the first to attack, research shows in the present that America was the first to attack (See Resource 1e). America had sunk a Japanese submarine hours before the attack occurred. In Japan’s plans on the invasion of Pearl Harbor, their military forces and artillery towards the attack were one of their main concerns. The Japanese force consisted of 6 carriers and 423 planes, which bombed Pearl Harbor. They came in two waves: the first wave targeted U.S airfields, and the second wave targeted other ship and shipyard facilities. These air raids kept going from 7:53 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. At the end of the bombing, mass destruction was left. A total of 8 battleships were badly damaged, and 5 sunk. Two out of the 5 sunken battleships were the USS Shaw and the USS Arizona (See Resources 2b & c). In addition, 3 small carriers, destroyers, smaller vessels and 188 aircraft were as well lost.
Many other ships had been badly damaged or destroyed. (See Resource 2d). The only military vessels to escape the invasion and damage the Japanese bomber planes were 3 pacific aircraft carriers, which were not in the port at the time. A huge amount was lost at the bombing of Pearl Harbor, both emotionally and physically, compared to the tiny loss of 27 planes and 5 small submarines of the Japanese. The number of people lost was vast. 2,335 Servicemen were killed, 68 innocent civilians and 1,178 wounded. As Mary Ann Ramsey unfortunately discovered, emotional stress was at an all-time high (See Resource 2e). After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the outcome and the effects of the invasion were outrageous towards the people of America and the thousands of families who have a lost relative at war. Pearl Harbor consisted of many vast ships and other U.S artillery (See Resource 3a).
The destruction of these ships had a huge affect on the once well-equipped Naval Base (See Resource 3b). American citizens were irritated to hear the horrific news. In addition, President Roosevelt’s speech was a good example of his feelings towards the matter (See Resource 3c). Many posters were put up showing the public exactly how America would deal with the bombings (See Resource 3d). A memorial was built in memory of this historical event (See Resource 3e) to acknowledge December 7th. One of the major effects of the Pearl Harbor bombings was that it brought America into World War II. Originally, America wanted to stay out of all these foreign affairs, but once December 7th had taken place, it was different. In addition, there were many long-term effects of Pearl Harbor. Many peoples’ loved ones had been killed, unfairly and unjustly, causing hatred and anger towards the Japanese, even today.
Japan acted rashly and unintelligently to America, stopping the export of oil. For this, they had to pay for losing the war and losing respect. The invasion of Pearl Harbor was an unexpected attack on America. It brought America into World War II without warning as well. For such an unpredicted experience, the effects of the war were drastic and catastrophic. This incident showed how the most powerful country in the world could be struck with fear in an instant by not being involved within the foreign conflicts in the world. This was a no-win situation for America; by being involved or not, the result would have led to war or conflict at some point. But the event of Pearl Harbor brought America more closely together to deal with the bombings, conflicts as well as mourning for their loved-lost ones.