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PearlHarbor influence on World War

Onthe seventh of December 1941, Commander Mitsuo Fuchinda of Japanlaunched intensive air assaults on a US Naval base near Pearl Harbor.The first air attack comprised of a hundred and eighty-three Japanesefighter bombers and Torpedo bombers, with the second wave consistingof over hundred and seventy Japanese planes (Robinson 1). The ordeal,infamously referred to as the day of infamy led to the demise of morethan two thousands four hundred Americans. More than one thousandpeople were injured, and American naval ships destroyed. Over ahundred planes, including the Japanese fighter torpedoes involved inthe attack. The deliberate and sneak attack sparked increased outrageby the American populace, mass media, the US Government and the worldat large. The attack signaled the entry of the US into the secondworld war, with the US declaring an all out war with Japan (Dickson1). This article exemplifies the importance of Pearl Harbor in edgingthe US into the Second World War.

Priorto the Pearl Harbor attack

Priorto the 1941 attack on the Pearl Harbor, the US had steered clear ofthe Second World War, which had progressed for two years. However,her relationship with Japan was extremely tense since Japan hadbecome more militaristic over the previous ten years. Though theJapanese attack on the Pearl Harbor was unexpected, the two nationswere slowly edging towards the war. For decades since the US wasparticularly unhappy with Japanese confrontational attitude towardsChina. Japan believed that the only to solve her economic problemswould be by expanding into Chinese territories and taking overChinese import market (Robinson 1).

Assuch, Japan attacked China in 1937 and acquired the Manchurian state,a vital trading province of the US. In response, the US imposed tradesanctions against the country, banning the exportation essentialssuch as oil to curb Japanese expansionism strategies. Instead, thesanctions made Japan more determined to stand her ground during themonths of negations with the US. The US was still feverishlyengrossed in negotiations with the Japanese emperor in a bid to avertwar and maintain peace in the pacific. However, the Japanese hadbroken off the diplomatic relations with the US, but not even the USwould have guessed that the broken negotiations would be the preludeto the Japanese-American war. Just an hour before the 1941 bombing,the Japanese ambassador to the US had told the US Secretary of Statesthat it was useless for Japanese to continue the existing diplomaticnegotiations with the US. However, there was no hint or warning ofany armed attack on US (Dickson 1).

Theattack on Pearl Harbor

Theattack on the Pearl Harbor caught the US unaware and happened soquickly such that by two hours, five f the US Navy battleships hadbeen sunk. No one, even the superior US intelligence would haveguessed that the Japan would have attacked Hawaii since Hawaii ismore than 4000miles from Japan, and the attack on the US would beterribly inconvenient. The US intelligence was almost confident thatJapan would have gone to easier and convenient targets such as theDutch East Indies, Indochina, and Singapore. As such, the US navalfacilities at earl Harbor were relatively undefended. The navalwarships were moored at Ford Island, with numerous airplanes squeezedin adjacent airfields, an easy target for Japanese assault (Robinson1). The Japanese plan was simple and straight forward: Injure the USby Destroy the Pacific Fleet, that way, the US would not have themeans or the capability to fight back. However, this proved to begrave miscalculations that the Japanese regret to date (Hill 33). of the fateful day, the Japanese planes had filled the PearlHarbor skies, leaving a trail of destruction. Bombs and bulletsrained on the naval vessels moored on the island. USS Arizona and USSArizona were exploded, USS Oklahoma lost balance and rolled andslipped underwater. By the end of the attack, all nine US battleshipsin Pearl Harbor on the fateful day had sustained significant damage(Tames 41).

Afterthe attack

Withinhours after the attack, the Americans attitude towards the war hadsignificantly changed. In fact, there are conspiracies that thegovernment was already aware of the possibility of the attack but hadignored it in a bid to compel Americans to enter the war. Previously,the war was seen as ‘other people’s affairs’ the attack onport harbor did the damage. Americans were ready to give their all inprotecting their sovereignty and reestablishing their position as theworld superpower. Japan was soon to face the full wrath of theawakened sleeping giant (Hill 22). Upon receiving the news of theattack, the president Franklin D. Roosevelt convened a congress onthe eighth of December. On his address, the president asked theCongress to pass a declaration of war against Japan. The Congressagreed, voted and passed the US Declaration of War on Japan, withonly one dissenting vote. The passage of the US Declaration of war onJapan (1941) signaled the formal entry of the US into the SecondWorld War. Three days after the attack, Japanese allies Italy andGermany declared war against the US (Robinson 1).

Immediatelyafter the attack, the Army had anticipated that the Japanese wouldland on the island hence placed a perimeter wall to ward off theattack. Army and private planes were grounded, and the martial lawdeclared on Hawaii, introducing dusk to dawn curfews, censorships ofnews, as well as increased blackouts. Government facilities wereturned into military facilities, and the island turned into a largemilitary base to facilitate military planning to enter into the war.Residents were issued with identification cards that were to becarried at all times. The potentially dangerous people, especiallyJapanese were arrested and moved to detention centers. There wereplans to relocate more than hundred thousand Japanese but was notexecuted. Though these measures were deemed short-term, they existedfor more than three years, ending in 1944 when all the internmentcamps were closed (Gillon 14).

ThePearl Harbor attack was viewed as a tremendous success for Japansince Japan had realized her goal of knocking off the US Pacificfleet, but temporarily. The attack was followed by other successfulJapanese assaults on Philippines, New Guinea, Singapore, Hong Kongand the Malaya. However, in the long-term, the attack proved to be astrategically catastrophic since it woke up the US, the then economicand military giant. The awakened giant mobilized all military andeconomic prowess and fury towards Japan and her allies, who were nomatch. This culminated in the final defeat of the Axis powers andeffectively ending the Second World War in 1945. Te short-termJapanese success prepared the US to prepare and enter the SecondWorld War with its full military prowess and exert devastatingimpacts Japan and her allies (Dickson 1).

Ratherthan the Pearl Harbor attack crushing the morale of Americans asplanned, it united the country behind their president marshal all itsresources towards the war. Further, the failure of the Japanese todeclare war against the US prior to the attack incensed theAmericans. The sneak attack enraged the Americans to enter into thewar, despite the rooming setbacks of the 1942 war (Gillon 26). Thoughthe Pearl Harbor attack was devastating, it showcased the Japanesemilitary might in planning and executing deadly attacks. Thiscompelled the US to improve its intelligence agencies to remain astep ahead of Japan (and her allies)), which proved criticalthroughout the Second World War. Though the assault on Pearl Harborwas devastating, the US was still able to salvage the majority of thebattleships. In fact, it was only USS Utah and USS Oklahoma that weredestroyed beyond repair, and USS Utah was already obsolete. As such,the attack gave the US a chance to repair and rebuild its fleet andre-enter the war with a set of the new more devastating fleet (Tames76)

Again,the attack did not destroy the aircraft carriers hence the carrierproved to be a decisive weapon for the US Navy in the Pacific war.This surprised even the Japanese naval strategists who haderroneously believed that the US Navy would only use the battleshipsas the primary naval weapon. In addition, the assault did not attackthe submarines hence they became a potent weapon in crippling Japansupply lines that came in via the Pacific. The crippling of theJapanese supply lines proved apt in weakening her military prowess,assisting in her defeat. The repair dockyard and fuel storage tanksin Pearl Harbor naval base were undamaged hence the harbor was ableto serve its roles during the war. The harbor was used as a base forrepair and refitting for the Pacific Fleet. Most of the damaged USbattleships and jet fighters were repaired in Port Harbor andre-entered into the war. The harbor was strategic, helping the US towin over Japan and her allies (Gillon 37).

Amonth after the Pearl Harbor assault, American war strategist wasplanning a daring retaliatory airstrike on Tokyo, a plan thattroubled Admiral Yamamoto. The bombers were expected to launch theirassault bombs 500 miles from Tokyo and land on the Friendly forces ofwestern China. This plan would prove apt in reducing risks onAmerican planes (Davenport 89). It was only the developed andmodernized US land bombers of the Air Corps would achieve such a feteand it was decided that they use the modern and more accurate B-25medium bombers during the retaliation. On the second of April 1942,thirteen of the B-25 bombers flew over the skies of Tokyo droppingbombs on factories, storage facilities, military bases andelectricity generating plants. Another set of three B-25s detonatedtheir bombs in Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya. Though majorities of theB-25 were forced to land in Japanese controlled territories afterrunning out of fuel, Chinese farmers assisted most of the militarymen involved in the assault to free. Eight of the American airmen,executed four of them and detained the rest who were released afterthe end of the war (Dickson 1).

Theretaliatory assault had slight physical damage on the Japanesecities, but the hit and run strategies adopted by the US stunned andhumiliated the Japanese military. It was evident that not even theelite Japanese army was capable of stopping the US assault. The raiddestabilized the Japanese military planning and priorities and was aprofound influence on the outcome of the Pacific War. Before the war,Japan had prioritized isolating Australia from her allies but theraid led o the devotion of Japanese forces o an all-out war with theUS (Tames 87). Contented that the Japan’s home security wassufficient, Yamamoto extended her eastern Pacific perimeter, seizingand occupying the Midway Island, an American territory in CentralPacific. Further, Japan planned to seize The Aleutian islands to forma northern anchor against the US assault. However, the simultaneousmilitary operations ensured that the Japanese army was divided overtwo war fronts, making them less vicious. The euphoria of easyvictories made Japanese forces increase their assault on American andBritish Pacific outposts. This prompted the US and the British toadopt a defensive strategy a factor that was assumed by the Japaneseforces, and which ultimately led to the Japan’s defeat ((Davenport97).


Fromthe aforestated, the Japanese military assault on the America PearlHarbor caught the Americans unaware. The Americans though that Japanwould not dare attack the island owing to the huge geographicaldistance between Japan and Hawaii. The attack had various devastatingeffects, leading to the demise of over two thousand deaths and onethousand casualties. The attack destroyed and sank US naval ships,giving Japan a short-lived victory. Unlike expected, the war incensedthe Americans to rally behind their president and behind the war, toprotect their sovereignty and assert their position as the globalsuperpower. On the second day of the attack, the Congress approvedthe US Declaration of war on Japan. On the third day of the attack,Japanese allies declared war on the US marking the US entry into theSecond World War. As such, the US would not have entered the SecondWorld War save for the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor.


Gillon,Steven M. Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation into War. PerseusBooks Group, 2012. Print

Dickson,Keith. World War II Comes to America: Pearl Harbor.2013.

TheCentral Intelligence Unit. Intelligence Throughout History: TheImpact of Pearl Harbor. 2010. Retrieved from

Davenport,John. The Attack on Pearl Harbor: The United States Enters WorldWar. New York: Chelsea House, 2009. Internet resource.

Hill,Richard F. Hitler Attacks Pearl Harbor: Why the United StatesDeclared War on Germany. Boulder, Co: Rienner, 2002. Print.

Tames,Richard. Pearl Harbor: The U.s. Enters World War Ii. Chicago,Ill: Heinemann Library, 2006. Print.

RobinsonBruce. Pearl Harbor: A Rude Awakening. BBC News.March 3, 2011. Retrieved from