On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The surprise attack of some 350 Japanese aircraft sank or seriously damaged eighteen American warships, including eight battleships, destroyed or damaged 300 American aircraft and killed 2,403 men.
Across the country, Americans were stunned, dismayed and angry. The attack prompted the American public to enter World War II.
The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941.
On 11 December, the allies of Japan, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. The United States responded in kind and thus entered the Second World War.
The attack on Pearl Harbor
The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began just before 8:00 am local time on Sunday, December 7, 1941. For more than an hour, in two waves, some 350 Japanese aircraft took off from six aircraft carriers 230 miles north of Oahu. , they attacked the naval base. Japanese forces devastated American warships and American planes on the island’s airfield. ^ 1
start apex, 1, end apex In total, 2,403 Americans, including 68 civilians, were killed in the attack. By comparison, Japan suffered relatively minor losses: it lost only 29 aircraft and a few mini-submarines. ^ 2
The American people were shocked, bewildered, surprised and angry at the attack. On December 8, President Roosevelt spoke at a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill, his words broadcast to the nation by radio: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy, the United States of America were suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ^ 3
In his speech about him, Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan, which he did that day. Three days later, the allies of Japan, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and Congress responded on the same day. All internal opposition before the United States entered the war ceased. The United States was now immersed in a war that would lead to Europe and the Pacific simultaneously.
Reason for the attack
The Japanese government decided to attack Pearl Harbor after the United States stopped US oil exports to Japan in the summer of 1941. Japan depended on the United States for eighty percent of its oil and without the supply of oil. oil from America his navy could not function. . By attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese hoped to paralyze or destroy the US Pacific fleet so that the Japanese navy would reign freely in the Pacific. ^ 4
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Japan was also strategically motivated by the idea of creating a sphere of Asian co-prosperity – “Asia for Asians” – in which Japan would take control of the Asian colonial possessions of Europe and the United States. With the British, the French and the Dutch embroiled in a war in Europe, the Japanese believed that the European powers would not be able to defend their Asian colonial possessions. Indeed, in the eight hours following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan also attacked British-controlled Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, and US landholdings in the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island. ^ 5
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The United States was taken by surprise at the attack on Pearl Harbor, but things might have been different if it weren’t for bad luck. The United States had broken the Japanese diplomatic code on the “Magic” project, and General George Marshall, who received a decoded Japanese message the same day as the attack, sent a message to the US base in Pearl Harbor prior to the assault on “be on alert.” Weather conditions delayed the transmission of Marshall’s message and it didn’t arrive until after the attack. ^ 6
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Also, the United States knew that a Japanese attack was imminent somewhere in the Pacific, but US military and government personnel had thought the likely target was the Philippines or some other South Pacific area closer to Japan. Pearl Harbor was 3,500 miles from Japan, and the US government and military seemed an unlikely target.