The Pearl Harbor attack was a military strike that was surprisingly carried out by Imperial Japanese Navy at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, United States. Naval base of the United States was the primary target for the Japanese military forces that launched the attack. The attack was carried out in December 1941. The Japanese military forces used the attack as a precautionary action to deter the American Pacific Fleet from prying the planned military actions of Japanese Empire. The Japanese Empire had planned military actions against abroad territories of Netherlands, America and the United Kingdom.
Consequently, Americans were forced into war, which was not in accordance with their wishes to defend their country. The naval base was reportedly attacked by approximately 350 Japanese military personnel. The attack was carried out in two successive waves from six different aircraft carriers. Eventually, the battleships for American Navy were all destroyed and four sank. Americans managed to raise two of the damaged battleships and repaired four to end up with six battleships servicing the war later. The attack on Pearl Harbor is discussed and examined in detail. The Background of the Battle
The intention of Japanese military to launch the attack on Americans was to reduce the effect of the Pacific Fleet of the United States. Japan sought to protect its advancement into the Dutch East Indies as well as Malaya because of the natural resources like rubber and oil in these regions that she wanted to access. Both Japan and America had contemplated possible attacks on each other as from 1920s and, subsequently, developed emergency plans. Nevertheless, tension between these nations did not escalate until Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. Japan continued her expansion into China, which eventually resulted in a battle in 1937.
Japan invested much effort in isolating China to achieve adequate resource autonomy to achieve conquest on mainland (Record, 2012). The Pearl Harbor was a mission to help toward achieving the efforts. The military actions of the Japanese Empire changed the public opinion of the Western countries against the mission of Japan. Japan perceived the actions of America against her as an unfriendly gesture. President Roosevelt ordered that the Pacific Fleet be moved from San Diego to Hawaii. Further, he wanted to discourage Japanese assault in Far East through a military buildup.
The Japanese launched a destructive precautionary strike against America to evade interference from the United States Navy. In 1941, America stopped exporting oil to Japan and this motivated Japan to capture oil rich resource bases. Japan began her plan to attack Pearl Harbor in early 1941 (PearlHarbor. org, 2012). Despite the expected attack from Japan by America, she did not expect Pearl Harbor to be targeted first. Japan had an intention of destroying essential American fleet units to prevent the Pacific Fleet from prying with her take-over of the targeted resourceful regions.
Japan also used the opportunity to strengthen her naval power prior to shipbuilding. Eventually, she intended to discourage Americans by interfering negatively with their morale. As a result, she targeted the battleships (Statemaster, 2012). Strategy and Attack The attack was launched on November 1941 using six aircraft carriers from the Northwest of Hawaii (Sorkin, 2012). Japan planned to employ 408 military aircrafts of which 360 would be for attack waves carried out twice and 48 for defensive. The primary attack was strategized under the first wave and the second wave was meant to eliminate the duties not accomplished in the first wave.
The capital ships were attacked in the first wave using powerful weapons. Targets of highest value like aircraft carriers and battleships were embattled by the Japanese during the first wave. The aim was to demolish majority of the aircrafts to avoid possible counterattacks. Prior to launching the attack, Japanese launched investigation aircrafts to survey over Oahu and provide information on the composition of the American fleet and their location. Additional scout planes were used to track the survey aircrafts to mitigate on the risk of surprise counterattacks.
Japan declared war on America before informing the United States formally that peace negotiations had stalled (History Channel, 2012). The initial attack by Japanese comprised of 183 war planes. Nonetheless, six of the planes did not launch successfully because of technical problems. The United States Army detected that attack and warned the country, but some aircrafts were destroyed. The next wave included 171 war planes of which four did not launch successful because of technical problems. The wave was categorized into three and attacked simultaneously.
Japan had planned a possible third wave attack in case of any eventualities (History Channel, 2012). The Salvage The United States initiated an organized search for the battle survivors and began operations to save them. The head of the operation was relieved of other responsibilities and instructed to work specifically on saving the survivors. The salvage officers worked around the Pearl Harbor to rescue ships, which could be refloated. Holes were patched, debris cleared and water pumped out of the battleships (Milan, 2011).
The navy divers refurbished the destroyed battleships and after half a year, two cruisers and five battleships were sent to the shipyard. The salvage operations progressed for a year. The Consequences The day after the attacks began; the president marshaled the Congress to support his official declaration of war on Japan. The congress agreed to his request. Italy and Germany, under obligation of Tripartite Pact joined on the offensive war against America. These two nations had an obligation under the agreement to limit any interventions from America on all conflicts that they were involved in.
Later on the second day of the attack, United States Congress approved a war against both Italy and Germany (Britannica, 2012). Prior to the American declaration, the United Kingdom had declared war against Japan because of the military attacks Japan made on Southeast Asia. Moreover, Winston Churchill had promised Americans that Britain would declare war if Japan attacked America. The attacked resulted in the death of more than 3500 American military personnel. 18 ships were destroyed and others sank of which eight were battleships belonging to the Pacific Fleet.
Aircraft approximated at over 350 were also damaged or destroyed. More than 1200 lives of Americans were lost during the Arizona battle (PearlHarbor. org, 2012). The attack shocked Allies in Pacific Theater as increased losses compounded the upsetting hindrances. Japan progressed to attack Philippines. The third day after the Pearl Harbor attacks, British battleships sunk off Malaya coast, leading to an acceptance from Churchill that Japan was stronger than America and Britain on water (Britannica, 2012). America increasingly used the battle of Pearl Harbor as an instrument of propaganda.
In addition, the Pearl Harbor attacks led to the relocation of the Japanese American citizens and residents to Japanese-American confinement sites. Few hours after the attack, certain Japanese American leaders were captured and confined in high-security encampments like Kilauea Military and Sand Island sites. More than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans were relocated to confinement camps from their homes. Furthermore, the Japanese military changed and Americans controlled the country until 1952 when MacArthur became the first Supreme Commander of the country (Japan Guide, 2002).
Some of the residents in Hawaii helped the Japanese military personnel in Niihau oblivious of the attacks at Pearl Harbor. The ethic Japanese inhabitants helped the Japanese military to escape from America, and this enhanced the notion that local Japanese residents in the country were untrustworthy. The American military servicemen who distinguished themselves during the Pearl Harbor attack were recognized nationally for the service they offered the nation. All the military veterans who defended the country in the battle were recognized with special awards (History Channel, 2012).
The Japanese succeeded in accomplishing a significant tactical triumph over Americans at Pearl Harbor. Even so, they lost the war they had started because it was not necessary anymore. Americans had dropped the idea of advancing across the Pacific toward Philippines as a result of any war. Instead, they had shifted their priorities to overcoming the Nazi Germany. The aircraft carriers of the United States were not destroyed by Japanese warships and aircrafts. The ability of the Pacific Fleet to conduct offensive operations was not constrained in any way.
After the battleships were destroyed, America had no options but to depend on the submarines and aircraft carriers to stop the attacks of the Japanese and reverse their advancements (Wikipedia, 2012). Despite six battleships being repaired and capable of functioning, they could not be deployed because they had rather low speed. The Japanese were disappointed because their planned strategy in destroying the battleships of America did not stop America from engaging in the battle.
America used their submarine base and ancient headquarters establishment as essential alternatives than the battleships, against the plan of Japanese military (Wikipedia, 2012). America’s submarines rendered the heavy ships of Japanese Navy powerless, bringing the economy of Japan to a halt through stopping oil transportation as well as raw materials. The raw materials imported in Japan reduced by 50% and oil import was halted completely. The cryptanalytic unit was at the ancient administration building and this helped immensely in Midway waylay and victory of Submarine Forces (McAvoy, 2012).
Presently, the Island of Oahu is the home to the USS Arizona Memorial, which honors the lives of individuals who perished as a result of the attack (McAvoy, 2012). The Pearl Harbor naval base is a point through which visitors access the memorial via boats. The design of the memorial was created by Alfred Preis. The structure of the memorial includes a slumped center with strong and vigorous ends. The memorial is meant to commemorate the preliminary defeat and final victory of lives lost on December 7, 1941. The United States set aside December 7 as Pearl Harbor Day.
Despite this, the country does not regard the Pearl Harbor Day as a federal holiday. America continues paying homage, remembering many people maimed and killed during the 1941 Japanese attack. The holiday is respected by various establishments and institutions in the country by lowering the country’s flag to half-staff (Wikipedia, 2012). Conclusion Japan launched its first attack on Pacific Fleet of the United States in December 1941. Japan was motivated by the need to capture East Asia because of the rich resource base of the region.
Further, she wanted to demonstrate to the world her glory in conquering Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, all the interests of Japan were against the interest of the Western nations. Americans were misled by their president that the Pearl Harbor attack was a surprise although it was an expected attack since 1920s. The Japanese planned the attack in two waves, but did not inform America formally of their withdrawal from the negotiations, which were ongoing. Americans experienced massive losses, whereas Japanese experienced light losses. The attack resulted in America engaging in World War II.
Non-intervention principle in America disappeared as the nation sought to engage the attackers. Americans stopped their oil exports to Japan and crippled their economic system. Eventually, Americans won the battle. The assistance that ethnic Japanese in Hawaii accorded the attackers led to a notion that they are untrustworthy. Military personnel who helped in the battle were rewarded and a memorial erected in remembrance of the departed soul on the day of attack. Though not a federal holiday, a special day was also set aside to commemorate the lives lost during the attack.References
Arizona. AP Regional State Report – Hawaii. Audrey McAvoy - Associated, P. (2012). Pearl Harbor survivor interred on USS Britannica. (2012). Pearl Harbor Attack. Retrieved October 5, 2012 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/448010/Pearl-Harbor-attack History Channel. (2012). Pearl Harbor and the Road to War. Retrieved October 5, 2012 from http://www.history.com/topics/pearl-harbor Japan Guide. (2002). Postwar Japan. Retrieved October 5, 2012 from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2124.html Milan, A. (2011, December 7). Pearl