Pearl Harbor Attack Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Military Type: Essay Paper: #35716982 Related Topics: The Pearl, Attack, Southeast Asia, Atomic Bomb
Excerpt from Essay :

Pearl Harbor attack had a number of significant implications for the course of the Second World War. The attack was initiated by the Japanese, who had imperial ambitions for the entire Pacific. The U.S. had enacted an embargo on Japanese goods in response to Japanese aggression in Indochina and by 1941 it was evident that Japan was anticipating the possibility of war with either Britain or the U.S. The U.S. was still a non-participant in World War Two at the time. Japan saw war as a likely event because the embargo cut off oil supplies, forcing Japan to take Indochina. Their war plan left little doubt that the Allies would become engaged, if not the U.S. However, Japan rightly felt that the U.S. was its biggest threat in the region. For its part, the U.S. had moved the headquarters of its naval fleet from San Diego to Oahu, a reflection of its perception of the rising tensions (, 2015). America had interests in Southeast Asia as well, including the Philippines, and the Japanese move against French Indochina was viewed as a precursor to attacks on British, Dutch and American colonies and interests.

Isoruko Yamamoto was the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, and determined that Japan needed to neutralize the American presence in the Pacific if it wanted to take control of Southeast Asia. The Dutch and British was largely engaged in the European conflict, but the U.S. was not, making it the biggest threat. Yamamoto believed that a surprise attack would secure the Pacific (, 2015). With the move of the Pacific fleet to Oahu, the key ships, the aircraft carriers, were stationed there, and Yamamoto felt that if the Japanese could sink...


They went undetected. Radar was a new technology at the time, and there was a radar installation on Oahu, but the incoming aircraft that were detected were believed to be ones that were expected from California that morning. As a result, no advanced warning was issued -- the radar crew did not know that the aircraft were Japanese until they were flying over Oahu. The aircraft began their bombing raid on Pearl Harbor. They targeted aircraft that were parked at different airfields around the island, disabling the ability of the Americans to mount a defense. The Japanese bombers were able to destroy many of the ships that were anchored at Pearl Harbor. However, several ships, including aircraft carriers, were out on manoeuvers that day -- including any of Yamamoto's most desired targets. The attack also occurred on a Sunday, normally a quiet time on Oahu, with many sailors having been on leave in Honolulu the night before. This also delayed the response somewhat.

The attack caused significant damage to the American fleet. The Japanese had hoped to scuttle a vessel as it left the harbor, created a block that would trap the other vessels in Pearl Harbor, but this did not occur. There was tremendous death toll, and several vessels were completely destroyed. However, the aircraft carriers were at sea, and thus not harmed in the attack. Most of the Pacific fleet's best infrastructure was spared by circumstance -- the Japanese had no way of knowing that the day they chose for the attack was a day when their best targets would not be present. Thus, the loss of men and infrastructure was not critical to America's ability to respond to the attack.

The response from America would not surprise any American, but was definitely not what Yamamoto had planned or…

Sources Used in Documents:


Goldfield, David; Abbott, Carl; Anderson, Virginia; Argersinger, Jo; Argersinger, Peter & Barney, William. The American Journey: A History of the United States. Pearson: online. Setting the stage., 2015. Web. 8 April 2015. What happened?, 2015. Web. 8 April 2015.

Roosevelt, Franklin. Pearl Harbor Address. YouTube. Web. 8 April 2015.

Cite this Document:

"Pearl Harbor Attack" (2015, April 08) Retrieved January 27, 2022, from

"Pearl Harbor Attack" 08 April 2015. Web.27 January. 2022. <>

"Pearl Harbor Attack", 08 April 2015, Accessed.27 January. 2022,

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