The attack on Pearl Harbor was a watershed moment in World War II. This incident probably changed the outcome of World War II by inviting the might of the Americans to supplement the Allied forces. On a bright Sunday morning of December 7, 1941, fighter planes of Japan appeared unannounced in the skies of Honolulu, Hawaii. Japan had sent a formal invitation to Americans to join the war with this unexpected attack. On December 8, 1941, the Americans obliged and formally announced their entry in World War II.
Reasons For Attack On Pearl Harbor
The relationship between the U.S. and Japan was on an ebb before 1941. Japan’s ambitions were to expand up to China due to its imperialistic ideals and resultant economic benefits. Subsequently, Japan declared war on China in 1937. The unhappy Americans responded to this aggression of Japan by imposing some economic sanctions. However, these sanctions affected Japan badly because it was importing 90% of its oil from America. The oil embargo would unduly influence the Japanese military abilities and deal a severe blow to their imperialist march. Hence, with the hope of destroying the American Naval fleet and thereby, be self-sufficient in oil by marching towards South East Asia, Japan audaciously attacked Pearl Harbor.
The Destruction Of Pearl Harbor
The Japanese dropped around 1,800-pound bomb on Pearl Harbor on that fateful morning. This unexpected attack severely destroyed numerous docked ships and aircraft. The bombing killed more than 2,400 unaware Americans and wounded thousands. The second wave of attack destroyed almost everything in Pearl Harbor. The final tally came to 347 aircraft and 18 warships.
The Extent Of Damage
Though the Americans were unaware of the impending attack, Japan did not manage to destroy the entire infrastructure of Pearl Harbor either. The airstrike left the oil storage, and the ship repairing unit untouched. Luckily, the third air attack planned to target these vital installations did not manifest due to various considerations. Such an attack could have severely damaged the American Pacific fleet and pushed back their readiness by at least a year. The USS Arizona and USS Utah ships would be ready to rise on-site itself. Furthermore, all aircraft were not stationed in Pearl Harbor.
Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of the Pacific war. A few days later, the Axis of Evil formally declared war against America. However, the Americans were not participating in the European War yet. The Americans were not ready for two war fronts with Japan and Germany. They had an acute shortage of men and material for any such adventure.
Total American Preparedness
Consequently, with an ambitious effort and purpose, the Americans were well equipped by the beginning of 1943. Eventually, the finances became sound, and new inventions in warfare had been developed. These events encouraged President Roosevelt to abandon years of isolation policy put on themselves after World War I. The meeting of Roosevelt with Churchill on August 14, 1941, had already led to the issuance of the ”Atlantic Charter” for the fight against fascism. With this declaration, The Americans were already chasing U-boats in the Atlantic with varying results.
Furthermore, in the ” Arcadia Conference’ held between December 22, 1941, to January 14, 1941, a great deal of strategy was discussed. Finally, this led to a joint declaration of ”Europe First” policy by America and Britain, which was the ultimate road map to victory in World War II.