Where Did The Pearl Harbor Attack Happen

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Where Did The Pearl Harbor Attack Happen

Where Did The Pearl Harbor Attack Happen

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A Soldier Remembers The Pearl Harbor Attack

By mid-1941 the United States had severed all economic relations with Japan and provided material and financial support to China. Japan had been at war with China since 1937, and the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 ensured that the Soviets no longer posed a threat to the Japanese on the Asian mainland. The Japanese believed that once the US Pacific Fleet was neutralized, all of Southeast Asia would be open for conquest.

The first Japanese dive bomber appeared over Pearl Harbor at 7:55 AM. (local time) on December 7, 1941. For the next half hour, the airfields and docked ships at Pearl Harbor were relentlessly attacked with bombs, guns, and torpedoes. A second wave hit at 8:50 am. and the Japanese withdrew shortly after 9:00 A.M. In just over an hour, the Japanese destroyed more than 180 aircraft and damaged or destroyed more than a dozen ships. More than 2,400 US military and civilians were killed. Learn more in this infographic.

Pacific War: From Pearl Harbor to Midway Find out where else Japan struck in the days after December 7, 1941.

In the short term, the US naval presence in the Pacific was severely weakened. However, the Japanese had largely ignored the port’s infrastructure, and many of the damaged ships were repaired in situ and returned to service. In addition, the three aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet were not present at Pearl Harbor (one was scheduled to return the day before the attack, but was delayed by bad weather). American opinion immediately shifted in favor of war with Japan, a course that would end with Japan’s unconditional surrender less than four years later.

Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of the Pacific War for the US, but it did not necessarily mean that the US had become a combatant in the war in Europe. By December 1941, the German armies were at a standstill on the Eastern Front and it seemed foolish for Adolf Hitler to declare war on another great power under such circumstances. The Tripartite Pact obliged Germany to defend Japan only if the latter was attacked, not if it was the aggressor. Nevertheless, Germany declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941. Later that month, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met with US President Franklin Roosevelt at the Arcadia Conference in Washington, and the two agreed on a “Europe first” policy to defeat Nazi Germany.

World War II: Allied Strategy and Conflict, 1940–42Read more about Allied goals after the US entered World War II.

Pearl Harbor is a US Navy base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and the headquarters of the US Pacific Fleet. Adjacent to the harbor is Hickam Air Force Base, and the two facilities merged in 2010 to become Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam. The USS Arizona remains where it sank on December 7, 1941 and is preserved as a national cemetery. The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.

Where Did The Pearl Harbor Attack Happen

Attack on Pearl Harbor, (December 7, 1941), surprise air attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, by the Japanese that precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II. The strike culminated a decade of worsening relations between the United States and Japan.

Why Pearl Harbor Happened And Why It Was So Important

In the late 1930s, American foreign policy in the Pacific depended on China’s support, and thus aggression against China by Japan would necessarily bring Japan into conflict with the United States. As early as 1931 the Tokyo government had extended its control over the Chinese province of Manchuria, and the following year the Japanese consolidated their dominance in the region with the creation of the puppet state of Manchukuo. A clash on the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing on July 7, 1937 marked the beginning of open war between Japan and the Chinese Nationalist United Front and the Chinese Communist Party. In response, the United States government extended its first loan to China in 1938.

In July 1939 the US announced the termination of the 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Japan. Beginning in the summer of 1940, the US began restricting the export of war materials to Japan. Between June 1940 and the fatal crisis of December 1941, tension rose steadily. In July 1941, when the Japanese had occupied all of Indochina and had entered into an alliance with the Axis powers (Germany and Italy), the US government severed all trade and economic relations with Japan. Japanese assets were frozen and shipments of oil and other vital war materials to Japan were embargoed. The military was steadily gaining influence in the Tokyo government. they bitterly resented US aid to China, which by then had intensified. They saw in the German invasion of the Soviet Union an unrivaled opportunity to pursue an aggressive policy in the Far East without the risk of an attack in their rear by Red Army forces. Nevertheless, negotiations to find some kind of understanding between the United States and Japan took place until the fall of 1941, and it was not until the end of November that it became clear that no agreement was possible.

Although Japan continued to negotiate with the United States until the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the government of Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki decided on war. Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the commander of Japan’s Combined Fleet, had planned the attack against the US Pacific Fleet with great care. Once the US fleet was out of action, the way would be open for unimpeded Japanese conquest of all of Southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. The order for the attack was issued on November 5, 1941, and on November 16 the task force began its rendezvous with the Kuril Islands. The commanders were instructed that the fleet could be withdrawn, however, if negotiations in Washington, D.C., went well. On November 26, Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi led a fleet including 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 11 destroyers to a point about 275 miles (440 km) north of Hawaii. About 360 planes in total were launched from there.

The US Pacific Fleet had been stationed at Pearl Harbor since April 1940. In addition to nearly 100 naval vessels, including 8 battleships, there were significant military and air forces. As the tension grew, Rear Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Lieut. General Walter C. Short, who shared command at Pearl Harbor, was warned of the possibility of war, specifically on October 16 and again on November 24 and 27. The November 27 notice, to Kimmel, began: to be considered a warning of war,” went on to say that “negotiations have ceased” and instructed the admiral to “execute an appropriate defensive deployment.” Kimmel was also ordered to “take such identification and other measures as you deem necessary.” The same day’s announcement to Short stated that “hostile action is possible at any time” and, like its naval counterpart, urged “reconnaissance measures.”

Pearl Harbor In Retrospect

In response to these warnings, the measures taken by the commanders of the army and navy were, as the event proved, far from adequate. Short ordered a sabotage alert and assembled most of his fighter planes at Wheeler Field in an attempt to prevent their damage. He also ordered five of the mobile radar sets set up on the island to operate from 04:00 to 07:00, considered the most dangerous period. (Radar training, however, was at a very advanced stage.)

Kimmel, despite the fact that his intelligence had failed to locate important elements in the Japanese fleet—especially the front-line ships in Carrier Divisions 1 and 2—did not extend his reconnaissance activities to the northwest, the logical point for an attack. He tied up the whole fleet (except that part which was at sea) in port, and allowed a part of his staff to go on leave. None of these officers suspected that the base at Pearl Harbor itself would be attacked. Nor, for that matter, is there any indication that their superiors in Washington were in any way conscious of the impending danger. In the 10 days between the November 27 warning and the actual Japanese attack, no additional action was taken by Washington.


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