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Mengting Zhang 3/21/12 ENGL 1102 Ms.


Resolve of Attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii had been bombed by Japan!(Hall 25) On the morning of December 7, 1941 Japan attacked the American Naval Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Up until the bombing on Pearl Harbor, the United States had remained uninvolved in World War II against the Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan. On an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning on a beautiful Hawaiian island, the first wave of Japanese airplanes left 6 aircraft carriers and struck Pearl Harbor a few minutes before 8 AM local time.(Pearl Harbor) Because of the surprise attack, the damage to the United States naval base was extensive, all of the US naval battleships were either sunk or seriously damaged, and over two thousand US civilians were killed in action. The attack by Japan against the United States was fueled by the separation of imported goods between the two countries, Japans plan to invade Southeast Asia, and its alliance with the successful German dictator Adolf Hitler. The success of Hitlers invasion to England, France, and the Netherlands added confidence to Japans desire to attack the United States. During Hitlers conquering of countries the US passed the agreement to stop importing supplies including an important resource: gas. Without gas, Japans remaining stock could only stand for half year during the war period. Facing a choice between death of the empire or

fighting for its life, Japan decided to seize the oil fields of the Indies. And the only force capable of interfering was the U.S. fleet that FDR had conveniently moved from San Diego out to Honolulu. (Buchanan) Thus, Japanese Government decided to take a chance and start to invade Southeast Asia. To accomplish this goal the Japanese Naval Marshal General and the Commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto, strategized that the biggest threat of their invasion would be to inflict damage onto the United States Navy based in Hawaii. The underlying plan for attacking Pearl Harbor was decided to improve the plan to invade Southeast Asia, because if they did so, the US navy force would implement a direct action to stop their pace. In order to disarm this threat before it happened, on February, 1941, General Yamamoto made an attacking plan called the Z plan. In this plan, the surprise attack to the Naval Base in Hawaii was the first step, and the goal of this action was to destroy the United States Navy aircraft carriers. The success of the attack on Pearl Harbor was based on two points: firstly that US navy force would be blindsided, and secondly that all of the United States naval fleets would be in Pearl Harbor, preventing any strong retaliation. Since these two strategic points are impossible to predict, the plan was being considered too risky by other Japanese governors. However, General Yamamoto explained that winning against the United States was unrealistic, the goal of attacking Pearl Harbor was to provide a year of time for their invasion plan to Southeast Asia, and if his plan didnt get passed, he will quit his position as General. Finally under the pressure of the Chief quitting his job the plan

was passed allowing General Yamamotos to further progress. Although the plan was rather risky, the operation was success. However, the main goal of the operation failed. According to General Yamamotos plan, the documents to warn the US government were to arrive thirty minutes before the attack to hinder the will of US in joining the World War. The U.S. had broken the Japanese diplomatic code and knew an attack was imminent. A warning had been sent from Washington, but it arrived too late.(Pearl Harbor) Despite Japans organization the documents were unexpectedly delayed. The US government received the documentation an hour after the attack further adding fuel to their anger to retaliate. Contrary to the general impression, the Japanese were not stringing us along, attempting to lull us into a sense of security. They were telling us in the very plainest of language that they would fight before they would permit us to dominate the Orient and dictate the Japanese course in that area. (Russell 144) Secondly, at the time, none of aircraft carriers were in the harbor but only eight battleships were in it. Historians are still arguing about the attack on Pearl Harbor, whether it is really a surprise attack or whether it was a counter-operation made by US government to have an excuse for entering the World War II. Much evidence shows that US government knew about the attack before it happened including details that a large amount of ambulance personnel were sent to Hawaii and the preparation of materials for fixing and upgrade battleships were stationed before the attack. All that is known is that Japan won the surprise battle against the US in Pearl Harbor, but at the same time, their chance was lost in winning the war.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was considerably similar to the recent terrorist activity of 911. The definition of terrorist activity is as follows to cause civilians damage and threats to achieve certain political goals. This terrorist activity is similar to General Yamamotos hope in winning of Pearl Harbor can damage the United States will and achieve his goal of over control Southeast Asia. Another similar part of two events that is both evident is included with US government already knowing what was going to happen prior to the attack.

Works Cited:
Buchanan, Patrick. "Why Did Japan Attack Us?" The American Cause. 11.12.2001. Web. 21 Feb 2012. <>. Delgado, James. Pearl Harbor Recalled. 1st. Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1991. Print.

Frey, Rebecca. "Pearl Harbor Details, Japanese Successes & Failures, and Impact on the US." Roman US History 11. Roman US History 11, 3.31.2010. Web. 23 Feb 2012. < Harbor Details, Japanese Successes & Failures, and Impact on the US>.
Hall, Gwendolyn. Love, War, and the 96th Engineers. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995. Print.

Russell, Henry Dozier. Pearl Harbor Story. Macon: Mercer University Press, 2001. Print.
"Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?." Pearl Harbor., n.d. Web. 21 Feb 2012. <>.