Pearl Harbour Essay, Research Paper
By 1940, Hitler had invaded France, and conquered most of it in two months, this was called the Biltzkrieg (lightning war), and in 1941 he invaded the USSR. Up till then, the U.S.A was not involved in World War II, however, they were supporting the British Allies. Until 1941, there was no major conflict between the USA and Japan
Rivalry between Japan and the USA had begun since the 1920s. The main problem was trade rivalry. While Europe fought in the First World War, Japan was able to take over most of the their trading activity in the far east. However, the USA also wanted to dominate trade in the Far East.
When the world trade depression of the 1930s began to hit Japan, powerful businessmen and military leaders (which wanted Japan to build its own empire on the mainland of Asia) invaded Manchuria (1931). Six years later Japan was in full war with China.
At 1940, american spies also retained a valuable piece of information, that Germany, Italy and Japan signed a pact.
Japan wanted conquer the Far East which would make it self-sufficient raw materials. This was not only threatening to the USA, but also the USSR.
However, in June 1941 Hitler invaded USSR and sovled Japans problem.
As the Japanese continued to extend their empire south, and invade China, conquering a third of the country. The USA was shocked to see this, after witnessing Hitler conquer most of Europe, so the Americans placed embargoes and cut supplies of iron.
.Japan was in fact already planning a strike on Pearl Harbor.
Prime Minister Hideki tojo told the ambassadors in Washington d.C to keep up negotiations for as long as they could, so the Americans would not suspect anything. However , American cyptographers had cracked the Japanese Imperial Code and were reading every message that was coming from Japan. So, the Americans knew the Japanese were planning some kindo of move on the Pacific, but they didn t know where, or when. Finally, the Americans started buildng up its armed forces.
On November 26, 1941, the first air fleet left Japan for Hawaii. This had to be done in utmost secrecy, as, if America found about this fleet, they might destroy it and Japan would automatically lose the war. On December the 6th, the officials in Hawaii received a war warning from Washington and they went on alert, but the next day, December 7, the alert didn t take affect as it was a Sunday and everyone had the day off.
Meanwhile American intelligence intercepted another message from Japan to the Japanese ambassadors, which stated that they should break off all diplomatic relations with the U.S. Directly after this, another war warning was sent to all the overseas bases in the Pacific. This message was not received until too late in Pearl Harbor. In 110 minutes, the United States Navy suffered its worst distaster in history.
On December 7, 1941, the Sunday papers had usual news, and for Americans worried about the state of the world, there was a reassuring word from the Navy secretary stating that the American people may feel fully confident in the Navy .
That Sunday morning, at precisely 7.45 a.m, two miles up, the Japanese commander, Mitsuo Fuchida gazed down on Pearl Harbor. This is what he wrote later below me, lay the whole U.S pacific Fleet in a frmation I would not have dared to dream of in my most optimistic dreams .
The Americans fleet was at rest, sailors were doing regular chores, a band was rehearshing.
At 7.53 a.m, the commander of the swarm of 181 Japanese fither and bombers, radioed a code Tora! Tora! Troa! – Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! meaning we have suceeded in surprise attack .
The Japanese flyers dropped from the clouds to carry out what U.S military manuals would later describe as one of the most brilliant tactical feats of the war .
The pilots knew their targets, each carried photos of the American fleet at anchor, which were simply bolwups of tourist postcards picked up by a spy.
The Dive bombers and fighters plunged toward the Army and Navy Airfeilds, bombing 550-pund bombs on the aircraft.
The torpedo bombers plunged towards the anchored battleships.
The harbor and airfields were quickly filled with fire and smoke, as bombs still fell from the sky.
A witness that survived: James Anderson, a hospital corpsman watched from another ship as the Arizona was bombed I saw that bomb go down through what looked like a stack and almost instantly it cracked the bottom of the Arizona, blowing the whole bow loose. It rose out of the water and sttled. I could see the flames, fire and smoke coming out of that ship, and I saw two men flying throught the air and the fire, screaming .
For the Japanese dive bombers and fighter planes, the rows of aircraft, and battleships were like practice targets.
Within approx. four mintues after the start of the surprise attack, the Americans were firing back at the attackers. The final bombs came from forty-nine high-altitude bombers. They passed over the anchorage in single file and unloaded their bombs on the ships below. A flying bomber, Fuchida, watched his bombs plummet like the devils doom he said later.
Pearl Harbours proud fleet was devastated by the first wave of 181 planes. In forty-five minutes a second wave of 170 planes flew in to finish the job.
The brief interval gave time for the American crews to regroup. Anti-aircraft fire brought down fourteen dive bombers and six fighters as they tried to bomb ships that escaped the first attacks.
Meanwhile, half a dozen Japanese midget submarines appeared in the harbour. The submarines range was found, and the Americans manged to destroy 5 of them, as well as a larger one which was sunk outsie the harbour entrance. Explosions and fire continued, when at 9.45 a.m, approx. 2 hours after it began, the attack ended with the Japanese planes flying off in several directions.
The sailors and soldiers of Oahu-Hawaii (Pearl Harbour) did not know if the Japanese would return, and stayed alert. Such was the fear, that nervous ground crews shot down three American planes at sea, 200 miles west of Oahu.
It was extremely hard for the hospitals ashore to cope with the sudden disaster. Schools were converted into hospitals, and the rescue team worked day and night. The losses were tragic.
-2,403 American sailors and soldiers were killed.
-1,178 were wounded.
-Nearly 220 planes were destroyed
-7 battleships sunk (including the Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah)
-As well as that 3 light cruisers, 3 destroyers, and 5 other vessels were iether sunk or damaged severly
The Japanese attackers lost less than 100 men, 5 of their midget subs and 1 larger one. 29 out of approx 300 planes were destroyed.
The Japanese attack was the most successful operation in military history, but a fault was made, as while they concentrated their attacks on US ships and airfields (planes), they missed the drydocks and the American carriers that had arrived alter that day.
At 2.22p.m the press was alerted from the White House that WHITE HOUSE SAYS JAPS ATTACK PEARL HARBOUR .
All of America was in shock. After a generation of peace and isolation, their coutnry was at war again. For millions of Americans, Pearl Harbor Sunday became a moment fixed in the memory. It was a margin between peace-time, isolation and danger, and world conflict. A Portland, Oregon newspaper (The Oregonian) used the phrase Remember Pearl Harbor , which was issued 2 days after the attack, and symbolically showed the importance of the attack, and Americas deep loss.
Military studies had warned that the Japanese might try an air attack against Pearl Harbor. However the U.S commanders couldn t believe of such an attack until December 7, 1941, that Japan would risk such a long distance strike. Decoded Japanese messages showed an interest in Pearl Harbor in the months before the attack.
However the Japanese success wasn t total. When Fuchida recommended to Admiral Chuichi Nagumo-task force commander, that there should be another attack on the Hawaii navy base, he declined as now that they were at war they could not afford to lose ships. The Japanese hoped the shocking attack on Pearl Harbor would make the US retreat, however it had the opposite effect, and 8 hours later Japan declared war on America and Britain, accusing them of aiding China s government.
Prime Minister Tojo declared to the nation I promise you final victory , but a commander(Isoroku Yamato) sounded less sure, and in a private letter to his sister he wrote war has begun at last, but, in spite of all the calmor that is going on, we could lose it .
Pearl Harbour was a great disaster for the Americans, it led to much rage within the American people, and encouraged millions of men to join the army/navy. The ships which were sunk at Pearl Harbor were rebuilt within a year. So this attack summed up by what Admira Yamamoto said after the attack I Fear all we have done is to taken the sleeping giant, and fill him with terrible resolve.