Attack on Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor was an unpredicted military action by the Japanese navy against United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. It is the Hawaii Operation or Operation Z, as it was named by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, which main mission was to neutralize the United States Pacific Fleet from influencing the war that the Japanese was planning against Britain and Netherlands, and protecting their movement into Malaya and Dutch East Indies, in where Japan was seeking access to natural resources such as oil and rubber.

The attack was composed of two aerial attack waves consisting of 353 aircraft that was launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. Japanese have compromised 29 aircraft and 5 submarines, 65 servicemen killed or injured, and one was captured. The United States have lost 4 battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 188 aircraft, which might have been sank, destroyed, or damaged; and, 2,402 personnel killed and 1,282 wounded. There were a lot of events leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Both United States and Japan have a military expansion plans in the Pacific which causes tensions between the two countries during 1930s.

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Japan was expanding into Manchuria and trying to isolate China so to become independent in terms of natural resources to attain victory on the mainland. Since 1920s, a war between these two countries has been a big possibility which each nation had been aware of, hence they have their own contingency plans. But it did not sprout seriously until Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. In 1940, the United States reserved shipment of airplanes, parts, aviation tool and gasoline, which taken as a threat by the Japanese. The transfer of U. S.
Pacific Fleet to its new base in Pearl Harbor was a threat to Japanese military and perceived it as the United States were preparing for the potential conflicts between two countries. The attack of the Japanese military to the United States resulted to a major engagement into World War II. The attack took place before a formal declaration of war by the Japanese, it happened before the “14-Part Message” had been delivered to the State Department in Washington, D. C. The lack of any formal declaration prior to the attack in Pearl Harbor led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim “December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy”.
The declaration of war was delivered late; U. S. Government received the information the day after the attack. The main objective of the attack was to destroy American fleet units to prevent them from interfering with Japanese conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaya. It was also a part of a military action by the Japanese to buy time so to empower their position and increase their military strength. It’s their objective as well to demoralize the American which might help to discourage them from fighting and will lead them to victory in conquering Southeast Asia without trouble.
The Japanese military made the battleships as the main target with intentions of striking at morale, since if the attack have become successful; they were able to destroy prestigious battle ships of the United States. In early 1941, formal planning and training of people for the attack have begun under Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Planning was on the way, pilots were trained with the equipment and intelligence that they have been adapted and collected. On the other hand, while the training was on progress, the actual approval of Emperor Hirohito has not gained yet.
The final authorization and approval of the emperor was given until December 1. The United States Pacific bases were alerted on many occasions, as the war between two countries have expected by others. The United States officials have anticipated that the first target would be the Philippines because of the threats it possess to sea lanes to the south; they thought that Japan was not capable of attacking more than one major naval operation at a time. They doubted that the Pearl Harbor would be the first main target.
The Japanese military approaches in making en route to northwest of Hawaii, sending six aircraft carriers on November 26, 1941. The military departed Japan having the order of battle to launch their aircraft to attack Pearl Harbor. They prepared 408 aircraft for the two attacks as they have planned. The first wave of attacks was the main attack, containing weapons that will destroy high value ships such as battleships and aircraft carriers. The Japanese sent 183 planes to target all aircrafts in Ford Island, Wheeler Field, Hickam Field, Barber’s Point, and Kaneohe.
Dive bombers and fighters were instructed to attack ground targets and destroyed all the parked aircrafts to avoid counterattacks. There were scout planes launched to patrol over and report on enemy composition and location. The second wave of attack was to clean out the remaining targets. It is composed of 171 military planes. There was a possible third wave of attack but due to several reasons, Japanese decided to withdraw. The Japanese were able to accomplished their intended objectives, and have won an outstanding tactical victory.
The United States caught off guard and defended their bases unprepared; they have limited time in order to maintain the casualties. Though the attack inflicted large-scale destruction on US vessels and aircraft, it did not affect Pearl Harbor’s fuel storage, maintenance, submarine, and intelligence facilities. Fortunately, the American aircraft carriers were untouched by the Japanese attacks. The Japanese have undertaken offensive military actions throughout the Pacific area, hence the American take all measures for their defense.
Therefore, the United States’ President Roosevelt together with Britain officially declared a war against the Empire of Japan. Nonetheless, the attacks of Japanese military to United States naval base leads to subsequently declaration of war by Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy against the Americans. Therefore, the European and Southeast Asian wars have now became a global conflict with the Axis powers; Japan, Germany and Italy, united against America, Britain, France, and other Allies. It resulted in the United States’ entry into World War II united with their allies.


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