A surprise attack on Pearl Harbor left millions of Americans heartbroken. This dreadful event led to many extreme consequences. It is one of the most significant moments in American history. In just a short amount of time many things occurred. In the following essay we will observe the attack on Pearl Harbor and its effects on the United States.
Pearl Harbor is located in Oahu Island, Hawaii. In 1908 it was established as a naval base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Various services provided on the naval base include a naval shipyard, a supply center, and a submarine headquarters.
During World War II, the Japanese were in desperate need of many natural resources. They decided to take control of the East Indies and Southeast Asia because those areas were very rich in raw materials. A pacific war was obviously unavoidable. Therefore, the U.S. began to propose peace negotiations with Japan. The Prime Minister of Japan at the time was Tojo Hideki. His corresponding messages to the U.S. proposals, during late November, gave the impression that he agreed with the negotiations and that the relationship between the two nations would soon be settled.
America was deceived. The Japanese government could care less about the peace agreements and had secretly decided on attacking the Unites States without declaring war. Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku was the commander in chief of Japan’s fleet at the time. He was one of the people that conscientiously constructed the plans for the attack on Pearl Harbor. On November 26, 1941, a Japanese fleet sailed out to a point about two hundred seventy-five miles north of Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, an estimate of three hundred sixty planes were launched. At approximately 7:55 AM that same day, the first Japanese air crafts appeared. They included torpedo planes, bombers and fighters. An American Army private noticed the large cluster of planes approaching Pearl Harbor on a radar screen. Unfortunately he was told not to pay any attention to them because a flight of B-17’s were expected.
The goals of the Japanese were easily accomplished. They had caught the U.S. unprepared and were able to approach the island without any obstacles. Also, about eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the U.S. fleet to Pearl Harbor as a deterrent to Japanese aggression. Since the ships that were anchored at the island were grouped all together, the Japanese had a perfect target to aim for and they did. In minutes destruction, death, and turmoil took over Pearl Harbor. The cruel Japanese continuously bombed the naval base killing hundreds of Americans and destroying everything in sight. It wasn’t until 9 o’clock that morning that the Japanese made it clear to the U.S. that there was a state of war between them.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was very unjust and malevolent. It deeply crippled United States in two ways. One way was the destruction of the craft at the naval base. This took place in a matter of thirty minutes. Numerous battleships such as the U.S.S. Arizona, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, and West Virginia were ruined. The Japanese also destroyed two hundred planes. Another thing that impaired the U.S. was the great loss of men. Over 2,400 innocent Americans were killed. Families all across America struggled with a great pain in their hearts.
This great pain and rage felt by Americans grew and changed into something else that was more useful. The sneak attack brought a feeling of nationalism among Americans. People had a sense of unity because they felt each other’s pain. People felt that the actions taken by the Japanese clearly showed that they are cowards and could not be trusted. They snuck up on the U.S. because they knew that it was the only way to harm the U.S. in a very serious and critical way. The attack on Pearl Harbor gave everyone determination and motivated the people in U.S. to fight back. This chaotic, heartbreaking, and frightening feeling that turned into bravery and fortitude resulted in United State’s entry into World War II.
The very next day, after the tragic experience of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Senate voted eighty-two to zero for a declaration of war on Japan and the House voted three hundred eighty-eight to one. That afternoon President Roosevelt signed the declaration. A few days later, on December 11, Germany declared war on the United States. This made it possible for the U.S. to end neutrality in the European war. After Germany, Italy declared war on the U.S. and the U.S. responded with a declaration of war also.
December 7, 1941 as President Roosevelt addressed to the Congress, “is a date that will live in infamy”. One cautiously planned and well conducted plan weakened the United States. The disastrous incident made America stronger and wiser. Now very small details are carefully analyzed and area never ignored. Also, America is not as quick to trust other nations as it once was. Today a white concrete and steel edifice covers the place where the Arizona battleship sunk. It is a national memorial of the sad and painful event. Pearl Harbor continues to be a naval base for the U.S. The memory of this tragic event lives on forever.