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Attack On Pearl Harbor The Day Of Infamy History Essay

Prior to 1941, World War II saw small American military intercession. As the state was merely retrieving from the Great Depression, with assurance in the skyline the American people truly had no desires to affect themselves in foreign wars. However President Franklin Roosevelt was cognizant of the actions taking topographic point in Europe and Asia, and could expect the United States necessary danger to the free universe if the United States did n’t take a base in the war. While Americans favored neutrality the United States disposal knew that it would merely be a affair of clip until the United States would come in the war. The convenient timing of Pearl Harbor allowed Roosevelt ‘s unfastened chase of his interventionist docket. This along with certain inside informations, such as the deficiency of aircraft bearers at Pearl Harbor, led some to believe Roosevelt had premonition of the onslaught and deliberately provoked the Japanese to open the door for war.

Two oceans to the E, the Japanese were profoundly seeded in a war of its ain. Nipponese forces were concentrated on the Chinese forepart in an effort to spread out their boundaries and derive entree to new supplies of natural resources, something scarce in the Nipponese fatherland. As a consequence of Japan ‘s unpopular declaration of war on China, the United States implemented an trade stoppage on fuel supplies. Consequently, the Nipponeses turned to Indonesia to go on to have the supply of fuel for its ain war attempts. Fuel negotiations broke down, nevertheless, as the Dutch, who were in control of the Indonesian fuel supply and under heavy influence from the United States, would non provide Japan with the fuel that they wanted.

Urgently necessitating to fuel the go oning war, Japan foremost thought of assailing Indonesia, but feared strong American intercession. After some careful planning, Nipponese leaders decided that a direct onslaught on the United States would be a more suited attack in conveying them to the bargaining tabular array. The United States, nevertheless, feared an onslaught on the Philippines, go forthing them wholly unprepared for what was to come.

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As Americans awoke on a lazy Sunday forenoon in Hawaii, little did they know that within a few short proceedingss their lives would be changed everlastingly. Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen watched in horror as the United States fleet including the mighty dreadnaughts burned and sank to the underside of the shallow blue seaport. The onslaught caused a mass devastation and besides caused confusion. Numerous false rumours were dispersed including that Nipponese paratroopers were occupying Hawaii and that follow-on assaults were nigh. A Above all, no one knew how to respond since this was the first clip since the War of 1812 that Americans were attacked on their ain dirt.

On December 7, 1941, one of the largest American military lickings in history occurred. Most of the United States Naval Pacific Fleet was destroyed and 1000s of soldiers were killed or wounded, all before 9:00 A.M. , Sunday forenoon. The forces stationed at that place did non hold any cognition of the oncoming onslaught, largely because of their higher-ups ‘ ignorance, and partly because of the arcane schemes of their Nipponese oppositions. Although a twine of events earlier that forenoon all pointed to an onslaught, the United States forces were non prepared because they did non believe that Nipponese forces would of all time straight attack American dirt.

At Pearl Harbor, defences were on limited qui vive. Aircraft and ships were aligned in rows and ammo was locked off in storage. Aboard ships, merely half of the anti-aircraft places were manned. The sheer deficiency of readying for an onslaught portrayed the general attitude of ignorance in the American authorities and military. Many high-level functionaries believed that a state such as Japan, which did non even have the resources to last a drawn-out war, could non perchance present the large-scale onslaught required for a triumph at Pearl Harbor. The ignorance was so great that on the twenty-four hours of the bombardment of Pearl Harbor, several major incidents were noted and ignored by officers on responsibility. Incidents that, if given the attending they deserved, could hold prevented the onslaught from being a surprise.

Early on that forenoon, an unidentified periscope was seen and ignored at the entryway of the seaport. A few hours subsequently, a destroyer on patrol sank an unidentified pigboat. One would believe that these two events entirely would be adequate to set the full installation on full qui vive, but at that place was more. Two radio detection and ranging sightings of a big mass of aircraft ‘s North of the island were dismissed by the dominating officer as a flight of B-17 bombers returning from a pattern mission near the California seashore. These happenings, left absolutely unacknowledged, led up to one of the worst and most dearly-won military lickings in the history of the United States.

Three-hundred and 60 Nipponese planes broke through the clouds above Pearl Harbor at 7:55 A.M ( Prange 5 ) . The first moving ridge destroyed largely hangers and parked aircraft ‘s, which were still lined up in rows. Other planes in the first moving ridge targeted a few of the ships docked in the seaport. When torpedoing planes left the locality, bombers were sent in to destruct any staying ships and degree any aircraft airdocks left standing. By 9:45 A.M. , any ship of the United States Pacific Naval Fleet that was non on the ocean floor was floating impotently.

Military personnels returning from church or brunch, most of them non even in uniform, attempted to support the island as best they could. Sailors, pilots, and anti-aircraft artillerymans fought heroically to salvage their doomed naval base. In the terminal, the United States had eight battlewagons, three patrol cars, and a big figure of smaller vass sunk or rendered out of usage. The Japanese lost merely 30 planes and five pigboats. American casualties numbered more than 2,500, with good over 1,000 wounded, while the Japanese merely lost about 55 work forces. The tragic event was described by President Roosevelt as “ a twenty-four hours which will populate in opprobrium. “ ( Costello 1 )

The bombardment of Pearl Harbor can be seen as a turning point for the United States ‘ engagement in the war. Until so, the struggle was chiefly concentrated in the European Theater. However, the onslaught prompted the United States to declare war on Japan the undermentioned twenty-four hours. The Japanese, satisfied with their triumph, could non hold devised a better manner to beat up the American citizens to to the full back up Roosevelt and his disposal ‘s program of engagement in the war. A old promise between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt was fulfilled when Britain declared war upon Japan two hours after the American declaration.

Pearl Harbor was surely one of the most dramatic turning points in the history of the United States of America. It propelled the state from an isolationist continent into the limelight on the universe phase. World War II changed the manner the universe viewed the United States and how Americans viewed themselves. The calamity of Pearl Harbor shocked the American people greater than any other event before. Likewise the citizens of the United States became more united as a consequence of the war.

The events environing the bombardment of Pearl Harbor prove that the United States handled the state of affairs really ill. Many opposing tactics were noted and ignored. Warnings were thought of as modus operandis. The United States had made a fatal mistake in sing Pearl Harbor an improbable mark. Although the Nipponese military schemes were intelligent and good executed, the onslaught would non hold been about every bit effectual nor successful had it non been for the blazing ignorance of an chesty state. I can truly state that as a prospective officer in the United States Navy, I believe that the U.S learned its lesson and will ever and everlastingly be prepared to prosecute in war in all facets, no affair the location.

Work Cited


Costello, John. Days of Infamy. New York: Pocket Books,


Prange, Gordon W. December 7, 1941 The Day the Nipponese

Attacked Pearl Harbor.

New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1988.

Stinnett, Robert B.Day of Deceit. New York: The Free Press,


The Roosevelt Years to United States Enters World War II.

Videocassette. By Arthur M.

Schlesinger, Jr. Flimic Achieves, 1995. 75 mins. Thompson, Robert S. A Time For War. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991

Toland, John. Infamy. New York: Doubleday & A ; Company, Inc,

1982. Willey, Mark.

Uschan, Michael. The Bombing of Pearl Harbor. Milwaukee:

World Almanac

Library, 2003.


“ Attack at Pearl Harbor, 1941. ” Eyewitness to History –

History through the Eyes of Those Who Lived It. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

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