The Progression Of Japan's Attack On Pearl Harbor

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Pearl Harbor was one of the most devastating attacks on the U.S. in history. It was a complete surprise attack by Japan on the U.S. naval base of Pearl Harbor. I will be talking about what led up to the attack, what transpired during the attack, and what occurred after the attack of Pearl Harbor. I will also be going into the process of entering the second World War and what events took place early on that involved the United States in the second World War because of what transpired on December 7, 1941. The last thing i will be going over in this essay is what events took place at the very end of World War II and how those events shaped the relationship that the U.S. and Japan have with each other today.

Tensions between the U.S. and the isolated nation of Japan had been rising during the Great Depression. Japan was growing power hungry and started becoming more aggressive and wanted more expansion. They had gained the expansionist mindset. Two Japanese wars fueled this mindset. One of these wars was the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. The second war that fueled Japan’s hunger for power was the successful impact they had in World War I. Japan was convinced that the only way to cure their economic and demographic woes was to force their way into China’s territory. In 1931, Japan decided to invade Manchuria. A member of the League of Nations, created after World War I, condemned the invasion, causing Japan to drop out of the League of Nations. They occupied Manchuria until 1945. (Information provided by Source 2)

In 1937, a clash at the Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing was sturred up. Japan’s forces captured Nanjing, the capital of the Chinese Nationalist Party. This became known as the Nanjing Massacre. (Information provided by Source 2)

The U.S. is seeing all of this and is greatly concerned. They want to put the brakes on Japan. So they enforced trade embargoes on Japan. This included aircraft exports and metal and other essential goods. The U.S. then gave economic support to Guomindang. Shortly after this in September of 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy who at the time were the two facist parties fighting against the allies. (Information provided by Sources 1, and 4, and just a bit of a source I can’t remember using.)

Tokyo and Washington had began negotiating and got no ground. This went of for months without success at either ends of the conversation. The embargoes on goods to Japan was a push to make Japan halt in their journey for expansion. Although the plan didn’t work as Japan was actually fueled by this move. They decided to stand their ground which kind of ticked off the U.S. Japan’s odds of coming out of the war on top were very low. They wanted to stay a major world power after the war had ended, but with the United States against them, and the allies against them, and the war getting tougher, their odds of remaining a major world power were decreasing dramatically.

Japan waited a bit to do anything. They took a while to look over their situation and then they finally came to a solution. They wanted to move across the South Pacific. The only way that had a slight chance of success of doing this, was to take out the United States naval fleet. They began planning an attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base. Pearl Harbor was made the main naval base of the U.S. navy in 1940, making it an isolated target but also meant in was a very short distance from Japan. This attack would only be successful if there were certain factors in play. (Information provided by Source 4)

The United States planned for an attack near the south pacific. More specifically they were looking for an attack near the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, or Indochina. This lined up perfect for Japan’s plans as they planned to attack the islands of Hawaii. The United States had no idea they would plan an attack so close to home. By the time the United States military had realized they had the location of the attack wrong, it was already too late… (Information provided by Source 1)

Just before the attack, there was an encoded message that reached General George C. Marshall’s office. The message was a warning that an attack was imminent and that the Japanese were coming. Even though the message reached the United States Army’s Chief of Staff’s office, it could not be delivered to Hawaii because Marshall was out horseback riding until about 11:30 am. This was still before the attack, but Marshall did not want his words to be intercepted so he issued a telegram to be sent directly to the base at Pearl Harbor. Although he sent the message, the message did not reach the base until after the attack had already started. (Information provided by Sources 1, 2, and 4)

Finally on December 7, 1941, just before eight o’clock in the morning, dozens upon dozens of low-flying japanese fighter jets flew in towards the naval base. The base was unprotected and since the jets were flying low, the radar station couldn’t pick them up. They had their radar set up for 4 am to 7 am seeing that that was the most dangerous time of a possible attack. The first target they decided to go for was the USS Arizona. The USS Arizona was a pennsylvania built battleship built in 1910. It was equipped with 12 45-caliber triple gun turrets, 22 51-caliber 5-inch guns mounted in all the individual casemates. It also had 4 50-caliber machine gun turrets for air defense. The last of what it was carrying that day were 2 torpedo tubes holding 24 torpedoes at the moment. The ship was hit a few times but then a 1,800 pound bomb hit the powder magazine and the ship blew up and sank. This was only the beginning of the attack. (Information provided by Source 7)

Out of a total of eight ships that sank on December 7, about 180 aircrafts of U.S. origin were attacked too. 43 United States aircrafts were completely destroyed beyond repair. 41 jets were damaged. Only 6 pilots got into the air that day to defend against the attack. (Information provided by Source 4)

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The first wave of the attack came with around 200 dive bombers, fighter jets, and bomber planes. After they took down the USS Arizona, the men continued to hit every ship in sight. With the little amount of defenses that the United States had there was no telling how much damage would be caused and how many casualties would come out of this. The attack on Pearl Harbor left many in confusion and people scramming from every direction to get to safety. The bullets and bombs kept coming and coming and within a quarter of an hour there was already much destruction to the United States naval fleet. (Information provided by Source 1, and 4)

A total of 300+ aircrafts were destroyed along with around 20 vessels that were also destroyed. 2,403 americans had died in the attack and 1,143 were injured in the attack. All of these people were non-combatants seeing that there was no war going on involving the United States at the time. The Japanese left Pearl Harbor at 9:45 am and soon the americans had realized that the deadliest attack on american soil was now over. The attack lasted only an hour and fifteen minutes. (Information provided by Source 1)

Pearl Harbor was the defining action by Japan that caused the United States to enter the second World War. Only one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor was done with. President Roosevelt gave a brief speech to the congress. He said that everyone needed to be aware of the state of war against Japan. He also had everyone vote on whether or not the United States should enter the second World War. After the votes from the senate were gathered, it came out as a unanimous vote of eighty-two to zero. Also after the votes of the House of Representatives came in and were tallied up, is came out to three-hundred and eighty-eight votes to one. The one sole member of the House of Representatives that voted against entering the war was Jeannette Rankin who was from Montana. She was a devout pacifist who also declared a vote to not enter World War I. (Information provided by Source 6)

So it was confirmed that the United States of America would be entering the second World War to fight with the allied powers in their effort to put a stop to Germany, Italy, and more importantly, avenge all of those that had died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. At this point the war was sort of perceived as the term, “total war”. This was because Hitler would not stop at anything except death to pursue his visions. On the flip side of this, the allied powers would stop at nothing to secure the future of the world, by defeating the axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. (Information provided by Sources 2, and 4)

Significant events took place in the second World War, including things like the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Berlin, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of Okinawa, the Battle of Stalingrad, and more. The events in World War II made some significant things occur. What really mattered though was how all of those events led up to the enormous feud between the United States and Japan at the very end of the war. (Information provided by Source 2)

Towards the end of the war after Germany and Italy had finally thrown in the towel from humiliating losses, Japan was the last man standing of sorts. The United States and Japan had some serious issues with each other from the very beginning of the war. The U.S. has had a chip of their shoulder in a way that made tensions between them and Japan very, very strained. Little did Japan know that a weapons developer working in the United States had been working of a sort of weapon that would bring mass destruction to anyone who stepped in the way of the United States of America.

Theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the leading men who had already had a firm idea on the concept of nuclear fission (along with Edward Teller and others) whilst he become named director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in northern New Mexico in 1943. Los Alamos Laboratory which became the introduction of which became known as Project Y, became officially set up on January 1, 1943. The building is where the primary Manhattan Project bombs were constructed and examined. On July sixteen, 1945, in a far flung barren region place near Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb became efficaciously detonated. This became known as the Trinity Test, creating an enormous sized mushroom cloud some 40-45,000 feet in the air excessive and ushering within the Atomic Age. Scientists running the operations of atomic bombs beneath Oppenheimer had developed distinct forms of bombs which was a uranium-based design called “the Little Boy” and a plutonium-based weapon referred to as “the Fat Man.” With both designs in the works at Los Alamos, they have both become an essential a part of U.S. approach aimed at bringing a very swift end to World War II and ensure world peace for the time being. (Information provided by Source 5)

The United States planned to use these weapons of mass destruction of Japan, who was gearing up to fight against the United States at the time. While tests were being conducted to the two of the atom bombs, president Harry S. Truman had warned Japan of what was yet to come. Without giving away exactly what the United States was equipped with, the U.S. had warned Japan that they had something that would absolutely ruin Japan. Although Japan had been warned of this weapon of mass destruction, Japan had given no response to the United States. The President had given Japan the chance to surrender and save the lives of their nation but with no response the U.S. decided to act. (Information provided by Source 5)

On August 6, 1945, the U.S. military sent a B-29 bomber plane into Hiroshima and dropped the first atomic bomb. This eliminated 90 percent of the city and instantly killed an estimated 80,000 people in the process. Just about 3 days later, the U.S. came in with another B-29 bomber plane and dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki killing an estimated 40,000 people instantly. Shortly after this had happened, Japan saw their crushing defeat and decided to surrender. (Information provided by Sources 1, and 4)

The event that happened both at the start of World War II and the events after, were shaping the relations between Japan and the United States. Right after Japan’s crushing defeat by the United States, they U.S. had made a few deals of sorts with Japan. This included an agreement to reduce Japan’s military power. The U.s. let Japan keep their emperor, Hirohito, but renounced Japan’s ability to make war. The U.S. approved a constitution with Japan that did not permit Japan to defend themselves, which was a responsibility that the U.S. had to be prepared to take on. In the year of 1960, Japan and the U.S. both signed the mutual peace treaty which had allowed the U.S. to keep forces in Japan. All of these moves made by the U.S. in efforts to solidify that Japan and the U.S. remained in peace, had paved the way for a respectful relationship. Japan’ cooperation with the U.S. with all of the rules and treaties or agreements as you may call them, allowed for the U.S. and Japan to become more of allies to each other. You could throw this into perspective of kids. It’s very similar to how kids at a young age don’t like each other but as they mature and grow they grow fond of each other and gan a level of respect that will remain with the two. To this day, japan and the United States remain allies and keep peace with each other, and they work as a team to ensure peace among other nations as well. (Information provided by Source 3)

Pearl harbor was deadliest attack on American soil without a doubt. Although it was such a devastating event, the United States and Japan managed to work things out in good time. They were able to build a strong relationship and unite their nations together to solve bigger global problems. From 1941, the year of the Pearl Harbor attack, to preset day, the relationship between the United States and Japan has grown into a very respectful and friendly relationship.

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