“Yesterday, Empire of Japan launched a string of

“Yesterday, 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.” Wise words given by at the time President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 8th -a day after- describing the dastardly attack. A collective result of the events from 1931 to 1941, the attack on the US naval base at pearl harbor awoke the sleeping giant that was the United States and eventually led to the emersion of the Superpower we are today. Although this attack led to the deaths of more than 2,300 American Naval, Army and Civilian Personnel, it united the American people and pushed the US to join in the fight against the Axis Powers. Beginning in the early months of 1931, The Empire of Japan launched a string of invasions in East Asia, attacking countries such as the then Democratic China (in 1931) and the French Colony of Indonesia (in 1939), in order to expand their empire. A result of the outcome of World War 1, where they were essentially left out and disregarded when discussing new borders, this pacific expansion was to prove that they were one to be reckoned with, that they were a powerful nation and to also increase the landmass for their Emperor. In doing so, they allied with the Axis powers, which were at the time: Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy, who were also spreading their empires as well. However, this rapid and unruly expansion caused great anger in the political leaders of the United States. China and France at the time, were some of the US’ allies and allowed them to have major influence in the pacific. After numerous demands to cease their expansion and to cease all the territory they gained back to their respective countries, the US was forced to cut off all exports of aviation fuel and eventually all exports of oil to their former ally. Japan, relying on this export of fuel to power their war machine, was devastated. They lacked the resources to continue and maintain their expansion without the United States’ exports. This fact enraged the Japanese military command. How were they supposed to maintain their war’s and new territories if they do not have the resources required to maintain the military? They had to find another way to gain the resources they needed.They set their sights on the Dutch East Indies and the Philippeans, which contained all the resources -Oil, Fuel, Rubber, Iron- to continue their war effort indefinitely. However, in order to invade these nations, they would have to attack the American bases stationed there and thus would have to wage war not only against the countries they have invaded but also wage war against the entirety of the United States. Japan knew, that they would not last in a naval war against the United States. The US had the population, the landmass, the resources, and the industrial might to utterly destroy Japan in any type of prolonged conflict. The Japanese needed a way to gain these resources without garnering enough retaliation from the US to force them out. Pearl Harbor was their solution. Knowing that the majority of the US pacific fleet was stationed at Pearl Harbor as a military deterrent towards them, Japan set their sights on the island of Honolulu. The total destruction of the American Pacific fleet here would prevent any significant American retaliation for at least months to come and would allow not only for the seizing of resources but also the time to set up a defensive perimeter when the eventual American counter-attack comes. However, the task was daunting. The US had radar stations within Hawaii, which were able to detect incoming aircraft or ships before they were even within sight. They had airfields filled with aircraft at the ready to scramble and engage any attacking force if notified and the island had formidable anti-aircraft defenses ready to be manned at the ready. In the January of 1941, Isoroku Yamamoto, an Admiral who graduated from one of the most prestigious Japanese Naval academies and spearheaded the development of carrier-based aircraft, and General Tojo, at the time the head of the Imperial Japanese Military, begin the planning of the attack on pearl harbor, and to better prepare their pilots for this ambush, the Japanese went to Kagoshima Bay, an inlet on the coast of Japan, as it closely resembled Pearl Harbor’s geographical layout, and thus was a perfect place to practice for their ambush. Their plan: The first step was to get their attack fleet, consisting of two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, two battleships, 11 destroyers and four aircraft carriers carrying 353 aircraft, safely into striking distance of Pearl harbor without being detected. The second was to eliminate any and all possibility of an American air defence- That meant targeting Honolulu’s airfields first and destroying as many aircraft and runways as possible. The third, to destroy, damage, or otherwise incapacitate the American Pacific fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor.All of  the Japanese senior commanders were briefed on November 2, 1941, about the attack and exactly how it would be carried out. On November 7, Yamamoto decided that December 8 (Japanese Time, as they’re 1 day ahead of the United states) would be the day of the attack. Due to the fact that Japanese culture is mainly based on honor, they decide to warn the United States of the impending attack by sending a letter containing a warning of the ambush and a declaration of war. Although the letter was scheduled to be delivered shortly before the attack, it was delayed due to the slowness of the translators in Washington and thus Roosevelt was not notified in time. On November 26th, about two weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attack force began its trek through the pacific, avoiding shipping lanes and commonly taken air routes to remain undetected. Japan’s force, which included 363 aircraft; a mix of  131 dive-bombers, 243 Torpedo bombers, and 79 A6M ‘Zero’ fighters; laid down their anchors 200 miles out from the harbor at about 5:50am on December 7th, 1941, and began preparing for the “Date which will live in infamy.” At around 6:45am, the first wave was launched. It was reported that a radar operator saw this massive attack force on his radar, however, was dismissed when notified that they were expecting a formation of B-17 bombers from california the same day. The Japanese now had the advantage.At about 07:55, Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, leading the first wave of attack aircraft, radioed the message “Tora, tora, tora.” meaning “Tiger, tiger, tiger” to signal that the surprise attack was a success. Flying from the direction of the sun, the Japanese began their runs, with Wheeler Field Airbase as the first target hit. With the aircraft lined up neatly side by side next to each other as a precaution to sabotage by spies, it was like shooting fish in a barrel, as one plane exploded, the one next to it did as well. The US military personnel was totally caught off guard, and unable to react. Next was Hickam field. The US’ ability to retaliate was devastated. In the midst of all of this, 2nd Lt.s George S. Welch , Kenneth Taylor, who were playing poker at the time, and 3 other pilots hopped in their  P-40 Tomahawk fighters, and counterattacked the japanese aircraft, downing at least 7 of the 29 shot down during the course of the battle. Then the second wave came, consisting mainly of  dive bombers, torpedo bombers, and conventional bombers, who hit the ships stationed within the actual harbor as well as the battleships along battleship row.At the end of it all, the Japanese took out 19 of the ships docked (including all 8 battleships), about 300 aircraft, and led to about 3,649 noncombatant and combatant casualties, with the Japanese only losing about 64 men. The casualty ratio was 57:1. Leaving to that, America only took out 29 aircrafts out of the 300 aircrafts that Japan came in with to attack Pearl Harbor with. but they forgot the most important ships of all. The aircraft carriers. The aircraft carriers contained the warplanes without any airpower. Japan was hoping to take out the oil from the airfields and to take out the aircraft carriers. Luckily, the US air carriers were out during the Pearl Harbor attack completing military procedures, and the Japanese just left the oil untouched. If it was for these two components to be destroyed, the USA would of never managed to take back the Pacific Fleet.This attack led to take out about 3,649 noncombatant and combatant personnel including deaths and injuries, which only the Japanese had only 64 men taken out. The ratio of the death rate from the US to Japan would be 57:1. Leaving to that, America only took out 29 aircrafts out of the 300 aircrafts that Japan came in with to attack Pearl Harbor with. Even though with this attack cause a lot of damage, Japan was very dishonored with their decision making of not taking out the US aircrafts and oil supplies. With Japan not taking the honor of the attack of Pearl Harbor, they still took the achievement of destroying most of the Pacific Fleet.   America originally wasn’t going to get involved in World War Two, but Japan provoked them to the point where they knew they had to fight back. Two days later after the Pearl Harbor attack, Germany declared war on the United States. They did not want to get mixed up with the mismanaged wars that would strain them as a growing country. Although there were many lives lost, America came out victorious as the world’s number one superpower. The US played their moves with calculated expertise to be the ones that lost the least and gained the most. Our soldiers fought bloody battles, witnessing things and experiencing pain no man, woman, or human should ever have to bear. But they sacrificed themselves, their lives, their bodies, and their minds, for the benefit of their country. There were many tragedies and although the wins never outweigh the losses, if the incident of Pearl Harbor never happened, America would not be where it is today. The aftermath of the Pearl Harbor bombing was much more extreme than anyone could have ever expected. This crippled not only a symbol of American power, this was an attack on American power. We had to enter the world war. The whole country, everyone in it, knew what had to be done, the only problem was preparing for World War Two was too expensive. That was money the government did not have. The government agreed to The estimated amount of money was about 300 billion dollars, which is equivalent to 4.4 trillion today. The whole country, united, raised just enough to fund their battles. The bombing on December 7th was a true tragedy, but it did not to to us what Japan expected. They made the US stronger, more united than ever, they made the decision of going to war for us. And they were about to pay the price. America had officially entered the war in December 19th, 1941, allied with Britain, but that ended with devastation. Since then, allied American ships were being sunk at a rate too quick for the US too keep up. They were not only losing supplies and resources, and losing the lives of men on those ships. They knew if they kept this losing strategy up, they were never going to win, and eventually crumble under the pressure. So this is where the intelligence war comes in, most importantly the Tizard exchange. Henry Tizard was the man with a plan, wanting to take action fifteen months before pearl harbor happened. The exchange was to give America all of their intelligence to weaponize their boats and ammunition. Some of the items that were exchanged were; the feasibility of the atomic bomb, portable radar, jet engine concepts, self sealing fuel tanks, submarine detection devices, superchargers, gyroscopic guns, plastic explosives, and the magnetron #12. This would bring us to an even playing field with the enemy, so now it would only be a battle of skill and wits. In 1942 America rebuted Japan by bombing Tokyo. Although no true damage was done, they still harmed their honor and threatened their emperor. This was a crime greater than actual death. Japan took their military honor very seriously, and to even be attacked and made to look like a fool, this infuriated them. Losing was never an option to them, it was either winning or death. By provoking Japan like this, it lead them right into a trap made by the Americans to attack Midway. Japan was planning an attack on Midway, wanting to strike back, but this is where intelligence played a key role in the war. American forces were able to crack the coded messages overseas, and figure out where, when, and even what time Japan was going to attack. This gave America the upper hand, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy fight. While the Japanese thought this would be an excellent surprise attack, the US was already prepared with strategically places around the Pacific just outside of their radar. Once they were spotted, the Americans sent in torpedo bombers, they hardly did any damage, but provided a great distraction. The US Dive bombers were the true heroes of this event, because as the initial airstrike was mostly a distraction, the dive bombers came in and devastated the Japanese navy. As the four most important ships of the Japanese navy are destroyed, this is when America starts to get ahead. That was the moment where the US finally had more power over their enemies, and we were finally on the offensive side of the war. This was unexpected to them, and knew the Americans would be a huge threat. As America started to get ahead in the battlefield, back at home the US is beginning to grow more internally as a nation. Women are stepping up to the plate where men used to be. Working in factories, transportation, taking the “male” jobs. They are the ones keeping the country running while all the men are gone overseas. This gives American women a chance to also rise up and become more independent, becoming manufacturers and engineers. Every role was important, and there was no room for social biases. In the years 1940-1945, over 5 million women entered the workforce, and they were able to pursue an unimaginable number of jobs, including working in the air force industry. America was not only growing as a powerful superpower, but as a nation that was crushing worldwide social norms and statuses. This truly makes America the country of chance and opportunity, even if it takes a world war to make it happen. The war ended with an atomic bomb, a new technology that had the ability to wipe out an entire population. America was initially going to invade Japan, but after the war of Okinawa America knew they could not invade Japan. The Japanese were too ready to sacrifice themselves, using their bodies as weapons, knowing that defeat wasn’t an answer. There were too many of them to invade, too many of them that were willing to go to the extreme to win the war. So the US knew they had to end it. The first bomb was named “Fat Man”, dropped on Hiroshima wiping out 90% of the city. This bomb killed 80,000 people instantly, and it left 120,000 dead. This left devastating effects on the city, with radiation that still lingers even to this day. The next site was Nagasaki, with another bomb named “Little Boy”, destroying five-square miles of the city. It killed 75,000 people. This was a last resort for the US but it was our only choice. We could not risk anymore lives lost then there already were. This is what put an end to Japan, and brought victory to the United States.Although Japan and America went through a moment in time where they were each other’s worst enemies and greatest competition, they are now allies today. Japan signed a treaty with the US on the USS Missouri, one of the ships they initially attacked at Pearl Harbor. America had rebuilt Japan as a mirror image of itself in the East, as a notion of peace between the two nations. Now we can trade and discuss with them in peace and have each other’s back in times of need.


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