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Pearl Harbor Attack Essay, Research Paper

The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

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The route to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two

states apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria, which until so had been portion of China. In 1937 Japan began a

long and finally unsuccessful run to suppress the remainder of China. In 1940, the Nipponese authorities allied their

state with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance, and, in the undermentioned twelvemonth, occupied all of Indochina.

The United States, which had of import political and economic involvements in East Asia, was alarmed by these Nipponeses

moves. The U.S. increased military and fiscal assistance to China, embarked on a plan of beef uping its military

power in the Pacific, and cut off the cargo of oil and other natural stuffs to Japan.

Because Japan was hapless in natural resources, its authorities viewed these stairss, particularly the trade stoppage on oil as a

menace to the state & # 8217 ; s endurance. Japan & # 8217 ; s leaders responded by deciding to prehend the resource-rich districts of Southeast

Asia, even though that move would surely ensue in war with the United States.

The job with the program was the danger posed by the U.S. Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Isoroku

Yamamoto, commanding officer of the Nipponese fleet, devised a program to immobilise the U.S. fleet at the beginning of the war with

a surprise onslaught.

The cardinal elements in Yamamoto & # 8217 ; s programs were punctilious readying, the accomplishment of surprise, and the usage of

aircraft bearers and naval air power on an unprecedented graduated table. In the spring of 1941, Nipponese bearer pilots began

preparation in the particular tactics called for by the Pearl Harbor onslaught program.

In October 1941 the naval general staff gave concluding blessing to Yamamoto & # 8217 ; s program, which called for the formation of an

onslaught force commanded by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. It centered around six heavy aircraft bearers

accompanied by 24 back uping vass. A separate group of pigboats was to drop any American war vessels which

escaped the Japanese bearer force.

Nagumo & # 8217 ; s fleet assembled in the distant anchorage of Tankan Bay in the Kurile Islands and departed in strictest

secretiveness for Hawaii on 26 November 1941. The ships & # 8217 ; path crossed the North Pacific and avoided normal transportation

lanes. At morning 7 December 1941, the undertaking force had approached undetected to a point somewhat more than 200 stat mis

North of Oahu.

At 6:00 ante meridiem, the six bearers launched a first moving ridge of 181 planes composed of gunman bombers, dive bombers,

horizontal bombers and combatants. Even as they winged South, some elements of U.S. forces on Oahu realized there was

something different about this Sunday forenoon.

In the hours before morning, U.S. Navy vass spotted an unidentified pigboat periscope near the entryway to Pearl

Harbor. It was attacked and reported sunk by the destroyer USS Ward ( DD-139 ) and a patrol plane. At 7:00 a.m. ,

an qui vive operator of an Army radio detection and ranging station at Opana spotted the nearing first moving ridge of the onslaught force. The

officers to whom those studies were relayed did non see them important adequate to take action. The study of the

pigboat sinking was handled routinely, and the radio detection and ranging sighting was passed off as an nearing group of American

planes due to get that forenoon.

The Nipponese air crews achieved complete surprise when they hit American ships and military installings on Oahu

shortly before 8:00 a.m. They attacked military landing fields at the same clip they hit the fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor.

The Navy air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine airf

ield at Ewa and the Army Air Corps Fieldss at

Bellowss, Wheeler and Hickam were all bombed and strafed as other elements of the assailing force began their

assaults on the ships moored in Pearl Harbor. The intent of the coincident onslaughts was to destruct the American

planes before they could lift to stop the Japanese.

Of the more than 90 ships at ground tackle in Pearl Harbor, the primary marks were the eight battlewagons anchored at that place.

seven were moored on Battleship Row along the sou’-east shore of Ford Island while the USS Pennsylvania

( BB-38 ) ballad in dry dock across the channel. Within the first proceedingss of the onslaught all the battlewagons next to Ford

Island had taken bomb and or torpedo hits. The USS West Virginia ( BB-48 ) sank rapidly. The USS Oklahoma

( BB-37 ) turned turtle and sank. At approximately 8:10 a.m. , the USS Arizona ( BB-39 ) was mortally wounded by an

armorpiercing bomb which ignited the ship & # 8217 ; s send on ammo magazine. The ensuing detonation and fire killed

1,177 sailors, the greatest loss of life on any ship that twenty-four hours and about half the entire figure of Americans killed. The

USS California ( BB-44 ) , USS Maryland ( BB-46 ) , USS Tennessee ( BB-43 ) and USS Nevada ( BB-36 ) besides

suffered changing grades of harm in the first half hr of the foray.

There was a short letup in the rage of the onslaught at approximately 8:30 a.m. At that clip the USS Nevada ( BB-36 ) , despite her

lesions, managed to acquire afoot and travel down the channel toward the unfastened sea. Before she could unclutter the

seaport, a 2nd moving ridge of 170 Nipponese planes, launched 30 proceedingss after the first, appeared over the seaport. They

concentrated their onslaughts on the traveling battlewagon, trusting to drop her in the channel and barricade the narrow entryway to

Pearl Harbor. On orders from the seaport control tower, the USS Nevada ( BB-36 ) beached herself at Hospital Point

and the channel remained clear.

When the onslaught ended shortly before 10:00 a.m. , less than two hours after it began, the American forces has paid a

fearful monetary value. Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged: the battlewagons USS Arizona

( BB-39 ) , USS California ( BB-44 ) , USS Maryland ( BB-46 ) , USS Nevada ( BB-36 ) , USS Oklahoma ( BB-37 ) ,

USS Pennsylvania ( BB-38 ) , USS Tennessee ( BB-43 ) and USS West Virginia ( BB-48 ) ; patrol cars USS Helena

( CL-50 ) , USS Honolulu ( CL-48 ) and USS Raleigh ( CL-7 ) ; the destroyers USS Cassin ( DD-372 ) , USS Downes

( DD-375 ) , USS Helm ( DD-388 ) and USS Shaw ( DD-373 ) ; seaplane stamp USS Curtiss ( AV-4 ) ; mark ship

( ex-battleship ) USS Utah ( AG-16 ) ; fix ship USS Vestal ( AR-4 ) ; minelayer USS Oglala ( CM-4 ) ; tug USS

Sotoyomo ( YT-9 ) ; and Floating Drydock Number 2. Aircraft losingss were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged, the

bulk hit before the had a opportunity to take off. American dead numbered 2,403. That figure included 68 civilians,

most of them killed by improperly fused anti-aircraft shells set downing in Honolulu. There were 1,178 military and civilian


Nipponese losingss were relatively light. Twenty-nine planes, less than 10 per centum of the assailing force, failed to

return to their bearers.

The Nipponese success was overpowering, but it was non complete. They failed to damage any American aircraft

bearers, which by a shot of fortune, had been absent from the seaport. They neglected to damage the shoreside

installations at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, which played an of import function in the Allied triumph in World War II.

American technological accomplishment raised and repaired all but three of the ships sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor ( the USS

Arizona ( BB-39 ) considered excessively severely damaged to be salvaged, the USS Oklahoma ( BB-37 ) raised and

considered excessively old to be deserving mending, and the disused USS Utah ( AG-16 ) considered non worth the attempt ) .

Most significantly, the daze and choler caused by the surprise onslaught on Pearl Harbor united a divided state and was

translated into a heart-whole committedness to triumph in World War II.