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What Led to the Attack on Pearl Harbor?

By Cindy Grigg
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Caption: A Japanese propaganda poster from 1940 for the Tripartite Pact. The Japanese symbols say: "Good friends in three countries". Japan, Italy, and Germany were known in World War II as the Axis Powers.
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In the 1930s, a military group came into power in Japan. The new leaders of Japan dreamed of ruling Asia just as the Nazis dreamed of ruling Europe. Japan needed more raw materials like oil, rubber, and minerals. Japan began invading its Asian neighbors.
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In 1937, Japan began a major invasion of China. Three years later, Japan controlled much of eastern China. Japan formed a military alliance with Nazi Germany and with Fascist Italy. The Tripartite Agreement made the three countries allies. They became known as the Axis Powers.
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In the United States, President Roosevelt was worried. He watched Japan's actions with great concern. Both Hawaii and the Philippines were territories of the U.S. There were U.S. military bases in both places. Many American citizens lived there.
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In 1940, Japan continued its invasions in Asia. It attacked French Indochina. It already controlled Korea. Now it invaded the countries of North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The U.S. became even more concerned about its military bases in the Philippines.
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In May 1940, President Roosevelt moved the main base of the U.S. Pacific fleet from California to Hawaii. He wanted the Pacific fleet to be closer so that it could better protect those territories.
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In Europe, Germany waged war on its neighbors. Britain was under attack by Germany. Many British and French colonies in Asia were in danger from Japan. Many Americans felt that the U.S. should not become involved. They did not want to see another world war with the U.S. fighting on foreign soil. Several bills were passed in Congress that prohibited the United States from helping countries that were being invaded. These bills became known as the Neutrality Acts. Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana led the fight in Congress to keep the U.S. out of any new wars.
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In December 1940, President Roosevelt wanted the U.S. to loan ships, planes, and weapons to Britain. He thought the U.S. should help Britain so it could keep on fighting off the German assault. In return, Britain would lease some British territory to the U.S. The Lend-Lease Plan got congressional approval in early 1941. The U.S. was also

building up its military so that it could protect itself. Most Americans at that time were still not ready to enter another war to stop Germany and Japan.
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Peace talks between Japanese and U.S. ambassadors were meant to keep both countries out of war. However, Japan would not stop its aggressions in Asia. The U.S. stopped exporting oil, gas, iron, steel, and rubber to Japan. Without these raw materials, the Japanese war efforts were limited. FDR told Japan that trade would not start again until the Japanese withdrew from both China and Indochina. The President also sent aid to China so that it could defend itself.
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The Japanese government would not accept America's rules. It did not believe that the U.S. was neutral. From Japan's point of view, the U.S. was threatening Japan. Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese navy felt that the U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor were "a dagger being pointed at our throat." Japan planned a secret attack on American military bases in Hawaii - the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Japan thought that a quick, damaging attack would make America plead for peace. Then Japan would be free to wage war on its neighbors.
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To hide its plans, Japan began a new round of peace talks with the United States in November 1941. However, the U.S. learned from reading a secret, coded message that the Japanese talks were only meant to lull the U.S. into a false sense of security. A message was sent to U.S. Pacific military bases. It said:
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This dispatch is to be considered a war warning: Negotiations with Japan have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days.
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However, it was believed that Japan would strike the Philippines or some other spot in Asia. No one thought Japan would strike Pearl Harbor. Hawaii's isolated place in the Pacific, it was thought, offered it protection.

Name _____________________________

Date ___________________

What Led to the Attack on Pearl Harbor?


1. What caused Japan to invade countries 2. Japan formed alliances with which two in Asia? countries? Great Britain and France Germany and Italy Germany and Russia Great Britain and Russia 3. What caused President Roosevelt to 4. Did Japan's plan to attack U.S. bases move the main base of the U.S. Pacific in Hawaii achieve the goal it desired? fleet to Hawaii? No, Japan's goal was to kill every Moving the Pacific fleet to Hawaii American in Hawaii, and the attack did was an aggressive move intended to not succeed in doing that. provoke Japan into war. Yes, Japan's goal was to provoke He wanted the Pacific fleet to spy the U.S. into war. on Japan. Yes, Japan's goal was to destroy Most Americans wanted another the ships in Pearl Harbor. world war to stop Germany and Japan. No, Japan's goal was to make Japanese aggressions in the the U.S. plead for peace, not declare Pacific made the president move the war. Pacific fleet closer to U.S. territories in Hawaii and Asia so the fleet could better protect them. 5. The U.S. stopped ______ oil, steel, and rubber to Japan. Exporting Selling Sending All of the above 7. Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese navy felt that the U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor were "a dagger being pointed at our throat." Which type of figurative language did he use in that statement? Simile Idiom Metaphor Alliteration 6. The U.S. was expecting an attack by Japan on American military bases in the Pacific. False True 8. Put these events in the order in which they happened: ______, ______, ______, ______ a. U.S. Congress passed the Lend-Lease Plan. b. The U.S. warned military bases in the Pacific that the Japanese might attack. c. Japan invaded China. d. The main base of the U.S. Pacific fleet was moved from California to Hawaii.

Name _____________________________

Date ___________________

What Led to the Attack on Pearl Harbor?


Write a short summary of the events leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

What Led to the Attack on Pearl Harbor?


By Cindy Grigg

military lull waged return invasions

assault trade pointed dagger within

invasion wage propaganda point concern

false concerned navy bills

Directions: Fill in each blank with the word that best completes the reading comprehension. Caption: A Japanese (1) _______________________ poster from 1940 for the Tripartite Pact. The Japanese symbols say: "Good friends in three countries". Japan, Italy, and Germany were known in World War II as the Axis Powers. In the 1930s, a (2) _______________________ group came into power in Japan. The new leaders of Japan dreamed of ruling Asia just as the Nazis dreamed of ruling Europe. Japan needed more raw materials like oil, rubber, and minerals. Japan began invading its Asian neighbors. In 1937, Japan began a major (3) _______________________ of China. Three years later, Japan controlled much of eastern China. Japan formed a military alliance with Nazi Germany and with Fascist Italy. The Tripartite Agreement made the three countries allies. They became known as the Axis Powers. In the United States, President Roosevelt was worried. He watched Japan's actions with great (4) _______________________ . Both Hawaii and the Philippines were territories of the U.S. There were U.S. military bases in both places. Many American citizens lived there. In 1940, Japan continued its (5) _______________________ in Asia. It attacked French Indochina. It already controlled Korea. Now it invaded the countries of North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The U.S. became even more (6) _______________________ about its military bases in the Philippines. In May 1940, President Roosevelt moved the main base of the U.S. Pacific fleet from California to Hawaii. He wanted the Pacific fleet to be closer so that it could better protect those territories. In Europe, Germany (7) _______________________ war on its neighbors. Britain was under attack by Germany. Many British and French colonies in Asia were in danger from Japan. Many Americans felt that the U.S. should not become involved. They did not want to see another world war with the U.S. fighting on foreign soil. Several bills were passed in Congress that prohibited the United States from helping countries that were being invaded. These (8) _______________________ became known as the Neutrality Acts. Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana led the fight in Congress to keep the U.S. out of any new wars. In December 1940, President Roosevelt wanted the U.S. to loan ships, planes, and weapons to Britain. He thought the U.S. should help Britain so it could keep on fighting off the German (9) _______________________ . In (10) _______________________ , Britain would lease some British territory to the U.S. The Lend-Lease Plan got congressional approval in early 1941. The U.S. was also building up its military so that it could protect itself. Most Americans at that time were still not ready to enter another war to stop Germany and Japan.

Peace talks between Japanese and U.S. ambassadors were meant to keep both countries out of war. However, Japan would not stop its aggressions in Asia. The U.S. stopped exporting oil, gas, iron, steel, and rubber to Japan. Without these raw materials, the Japanese war efforts were limited. FDR told Japan that (11) _______________________ would not start again until the Japanese withdrew from both China and Indochina. The President also sent aid to China so that it could defend itself. The Japanese government would not accept America's rules. It did not believe that the U.S. was neutral. From Japan's (12) _______________________ of view, the U.S. was threatening Japan. Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese (13) _______________________ felt that the U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor were "a (14) _______________________ being (15) _______________________ at our throat." Japan planned a secret attack on American military bases in Hawaii - the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Japan thought that a quick, damaging attack would make America plead for peace. Then Japan would be free to (16) _______________________ war on its neighbors. To hide its plans, Japan began a new round of peace talks with the United States in November 1941. However, the U.S. learned from reading a secret, coded message that the Japanese talks were only meant to (17) _______________________ the U.S. into a (18) _______________________ sense of security. A message was sent to U.S. Pacific military bases. It said: This dispatch is to be considered a war warning: Negotiations with Japan have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected (19) _______________________ the next few days. However, it was believed that Japan would strike the Philippines or some other spot in Asia. No one thought Japan would strike Pearl Harbor. Hawaii's isolated place in the Pacific, it was thought, offered it protection.