The Pearl Harbor massacre is one of the many historical events that will forever remain in the annals of history for its significance as far as war betweens nations is concerned. This is because, the events of the war are not only important to the American history, but to the world history, for global nations have a lot to learn from its effects.
In addition, the war between America and Japan has a lot of significance as concerns the world history primarily because, it gave World War II a great shift; a war that saw the destruction of many global communities.
It is important to note here that, although previously before the Pearl Harbor attack there existed many wars between nations, the attack triggered U.S.’s anger, making it to engage itself fully in the war, a factor that contributed to the currently existing power equalities in the world (Rosenberg pp. 3-9).
Many disagreements between leaders of these world “powerful” countries were major contributors to the onset of the war. The divisions were prevalent because of the discriminatory nature of opinions that different powerful countries shared.
For example, in the struggle by these world powers to increases their wealth and areas of jurisdiction during the World War II, majority of them had to conquer areas they considered rich of resources they were missing in their countries. Such efforts to conquer specific regions demanded many power struggles whereby, the only way of winning was through joining pacts hence, the clear differentiations that existed between these word powers.
Such differentiations led to the divided support that specific countries received where Japan was inclusive. For example, in its quest to fully rule China, Japan received a lot of opposition from America whereby, not only did America support China financially, but also it helped it improve its military prowess through provision of military aids.
This in many ways triggered Japan and its affiliate counties’ anger leading to the planning of the attacks (National Park Service: U.S. Department of the Interior p.1). This paper will discuss concepts of the Pearl Harbor attack. In addition, it will discuss reasons behind the attacks and the attack’s aftermaths.
(National Park Service: U.S. Department of the Interior p.1)
The attack was on one of America’s biggest naval base in Hawaii, a factor that marked the turning point as far World War II was concerned. The invasion took place on 7th December, 1941, an attack that Japan wanted to use as a mechanism of wrecking America’s military prowess.
Although to some extent Japan achieved its goals, it never anticipated that such an attack could lead to its total destruction. This is because, although Japan succeeded in destroying this American naval base, subsequent retaliations from America saw its destruction; both in terms of properties and numerous lives. In addition, effects from such retaliations by America are evident even today in Japan, although the nation has advanced itself technologically and industrially.
Critical analysis of the attack on the harbor clearly show that, in many ways America was one of the greatest impediment to Japan, as it sought to expand its control of some Asian regions. Therefore, because America was such an obstacle, Japan thought that, the only way of making its dream come true is by wrecking America’s military prowess, with little know how that, its destruction was on the way.
On the other hand, through the attacks, Japan thought that, it could wreck the American fleet patterns, a factor that could render it a chance of advancing its economic prospects by venturing into the Dutch East Indies and other Asian regions. This is because it considered the region rich of many resources, which were essential in terms of boosting its war prowess, when it came to dealing with the United Kingdom and America, for they were its primary antagonists.
Causalities from such a vicious attack were more four thousand, with more than two thousand dead American citizens and less than one hundred Japanese citizens. It was such a big blow to the entire American community primarily because, not only did it result to massive destruction of military property, but also it led to numerous deaths that resulted due to later aftermaths of the war as it endeavored to vengeance (Wohlstetter pp. 3-19).
In addition, it is important to note that, to some extent America could have prevented such invasions had it established itself well. This is because, as research into the attack reveal, the American defense top organs had some know how on the awaiting tragedy, a fact that they failed to make sure its naval base in the Pearl Harbor was prepared for, incase Japan advanced such attacks.
May be had the defense department communicated such impeding threats or likelihoods of attacks, the country could have avoided the blood shade that occurred during that period.
In addition, it is also important to note that, Japan had organized well on how to launch the attacks, a factor that many attribute to America’s failure to defend itself. This is because, as America was busy engrossed in peace initiatives, Japan was preparing on breaking the talks and immediately launching the attacks without giving its antagonist a chance to organize itself (Mahar p.1).
Reasons for the Attack
In any conflict scenario, there has to exist many issues of contention among worrying communities, a fact that was not an exception in this war between America and Japan. In addition, it is important to note that, whether egocentric or for good gains, such wars result due to the need for one nation to dominate and rule over the other.
This was the case in the Pearl Harbor attack, primarily because Japan wanted to outsmart America; a nation that was a great impediment towards its quest to overlook the Asian region, through enriching itself with ill acquired resources. As research studies suggest, the whole contention issue was as a result of a time concept and not the struggle to ensure international diplomacy reigns. That is, the existence of America is this region; Asia-Pacific, was not a subject of apprehension to Japan, but rather its main concern was to take over power as concerned the control of the region.
It is important to note that, achievement of such expectations was one of the hardest things to achieve for Japan, because of the great powers that America had over this region (Rosenberg pp 35-45). On the other hand, the quest to control the Asia-Pacific region to some extent was cultural, because culturally Japan had one believe that is, it was mandatory for there to be a single ruler of the region; a plan they named “hakko ichiu” (Rymer Para. 2)
Although many attribute such power controls as the main factor, which led to the attack, as Robinson (p.1) argues, to some extent, the whole war issue between America and Japan was historical. This is because prior to planning and executing of the attacks, there were many issues of contention between these two economic giants.
Such war backdates to 1930’s, when there was global economic recession that saw Japan suffer economically, as America progressed. In addition, America looked down upon Japan, as militia controlled some of its regions leading to the overexploitation of the rich Manchuria region.
To counter such failures in its control, and in obeying the desire to expand its economic resources, Japan launched such attacks on the harbor in an endeavor to bring down America. On the other hand, it is important to note that, Japanese aggression may have resulted due restriction that America imposed on Japan via commercial treaties prior to 1940, as concerned the provision of natural and industrial resources.
Such restrictions came in full application after the prohibition of scrap iron materials exchange and aviation fuel supply. The fact that, Japan bonded with Italy and Germany in the tripartite deal, made its relationship with America to further deteriorate. This is because the signing of such an agreement was a clear indication of Japan supporting the European war, a war that America took sides.
Apart from such historical injustices and sanctions that were great obstacles to Japan’s development, there were many power struggles between these two nations. For example, prior to the Pearl Harbor attacks, America denied Japan recognition as concerned its occupancy of China.
To condemn Japan’s occupancy, America gave China support, both financially and in terms of military provisions hence, igniting more anger from Japan and its allies. On the other hand, to disapprove Japan, America imposed more sanctions, in addition to the early embargoes that it had mounted on the Japanese state.
As a mechanism of eliminating such sanctions and a sign of not accepting defeat, Japan organized such attacks. In addition, to Japan, such attacks were necessary, because Japan considered America an oppressing nation, due to the fact that, it refused to acknowledge other nations occupancy in other countries, where as itself had exploited Philippines as the Spanish-American conflict raged.
To disapprove America’s power controls as concerned the invasion of other countries, Japan sought to devastate its naval convoy, primary in the pacific region, for it was an obstacle to such exploitations. By attacking the American base, Japan thought that, recovery from such impacts was to take time, a fact that could guarantee them a chance of invading the countries it wanted (Robinson p.1).
In addition to breaking the American power controls, another reason behind the attacks was the endeavor by the Japanese to demoralize America as concerned its superiority when it came to wars. Japan to some extent, achieved this goal because in the onset of 1941, there was a raging debate on whether America should engage itself in warfare or not.
This divided the American citizenry, a fact that made Japan to attack, for it thought that it could paralyze America hence, win the war of control over the pacific region. It is important to note here that, to some level Japan had made a wrong assumption because such attacks led to its later destruction, for it was the only means of ending the war between the two countries.
Another main reason behind the war was the clear signs of discriminations that certain American rulers imposed on the Japanese citizenry. Such discriminations were clear in the Roosevelt’s administration, for many took him as a racist primarily against the Japanese citizens in America.
From the onset of his reign, Roosevelt had a discriminatory liking of the Chinese and a disliking tendency on the Japanese; a fact that many researches attribute to the nature of gains he received from the Chinese nation. On the other hand, his discriminatory tendency was prevalent on the way he treated the Germans.
This is because; Roosevelt’s ruling orientation was contrary to Adolph Hitler’s ruling orientation; dictatorship hence, his favoritism for the Europeans; primary Britain. In his ruling, foreign policies were of little significance, a factor that contributed to the decline in personal relations to other world rulers of that time more so Germany and Italy.
For example, during Germany’s quest to take over Lebensraum, through amalgamation with Britain and France, they opposed such quests, a factor that increased these countries enmity, because these countries were close allies of Japan. This to some extent proves that, although majority of individuals blame Japan for the onset of the war, to some extent what America was doing is a clear indication that they wanted war.
However, to avoid blame hence, look for an excuse for attacking Japan, America had to use any means that was at its disposal to trigger an attack from Japan. In this regard, it is important to note that, actions by America might have been one main triggering factors as far as the war was concerned (Higgs Para. 6-12).
The Attack’s Aftermaths
Although Japan succeeded in wrecking the American naval base, its achievements were short lived. This is because, such attacked triggered America’s anger, hence the use of bombs to destroy many Japanese cities. The effects of such retaliations are prevalent even today in Japan as it endeavors to improve its infrastructural and industrial sector.
As a response to Japanese attacks, America launched efforts to track Japanese shipper fleet, something that never succeeded at first because of the minute numbers of American naval support. Although this was a deterring factor, as concerned revenge efforts, America still was determined to destroy Japan.
In many ways, the war gave many other nations courage of threatening America, a factor that made its revenge mission even harder. For example, because of the attack, which led to the destruction of the naval fleet, Germany and Italy started their own hostilities towards America, a fact that many attribute to many historical indifferences between these countries (McGraw-Hill Companies p.1).
(McGraw-Hill Companies p.1)
To counter the number of forces that were against America, America reorganized its military system, something that commenced with the recruitment of more military personnel. It is important to note here that, failure by Japan to mangle the fuel deport and repair amenities, gave America an added advantage of re-organizing its efforts to retaliate.
Although this was the case, it is also crucial to note that, subsequent attacks by Japan; second and third, were aimed at destroying the two important facilities. However, because of the anticipated dangers that were associated with such attacks; revenge from the American carriers, Japan stopped its second and third mission hence, giving America an added advantage.
After the re-organization and success in the efforts to salvage the remaining ships after the attack, America started to launch its revenge mission on Japan. Such revenges were in form of attacks the Japanese troops, something that never succeeded at first. Although this was the case, America continued in its quest to outsmart Japan hence, leading to its first victorious raid of 1942; the Doolittle attack. In many ways, this marked the onset of the many later raids that America instigated against Japan.
To avoid problems that were associated with short-range bombers, it used long-range ones, although it failed to achieve its goals of salvaging such bombers if they landed in China. In addition, because of such failures, America lost many of its crewmembers, due to the massive deaths that occurred.
Such attacks, led to more extended attacks from Japan on American territories for example the Midway Islands. Many losses resulted from such attacks, with Japan loosing four of its best carriers and a good number of its citizens. Suffering of innocent civilians was prevalent, a factor that was of less concern to these warring nations primarily because, their main concern was to defeat each other (Martin p.1).
As the war raged, America’s control increased, as it endeavored to control the pacific region through taking control of many areas in the pacific region. To some extent, such captures were of little significance primary because, such captured islands could not give a firm base of launching its attacks.
To ensure they captured an island that could guarantee them a chance of dealing with Japan properly, America through its military strived to capture the Iwo Jima Island, something that caused the demise of many American soldiers. It is crucial to note here that, such loses were of little significance to America, because finally in 1945, America took control of the island.
Capturing of the island saw the destruction of Japanese resources through vicious attacks from America, because at least they had a firm base of launching its attacks. Although this was the case, Japan also never surrendered something that prompted America to capture its Okinawa Island. Such an achievement was not easy and painless on the America, because out of it America lost approximately twelve thousand lives (D’Amato p. 1).
Such enormous causality numbers further ignited America’s anger, leading to the launching of the Atomic bombs against Japan. The first Japanese city to receive such attacks was Hiroshima, an incident that later happened in the city of Nagasaki. At this point Japan was defenseless hence, it had to surrender.
Although this marked almost the termination point of this war, its termination opened another page as concerned the war among nations; World War II. This is because; many other nations for example the Soviet Union joined America in the quest to destroy Japan and its supporters.
In conclusion, the initial attack on the harbor and the aftermath retaliation by the America had many negative impacts than these countries had anticipated. This is because, apart from the massive deaths that resulted from such veracious attacks, its impacts are clear even today as concerns the health status of the Japanese citizenry. In addition, the countries wasted many resources in the war, a factor that they could have prevented did they take the peace negotiations seriously.
Primary lessons that nations can learn from such a war include need for respect among nations, the need for negotiations when problems arise instead of extreme fights, and the importance of respecting human life. Although this is the case, it is a few nations, which have learnt for such an experience, because of the daily wars between different global communities.
D’Amato, Paul. Pearl Harbor, internment, and Hiroshima: historical lessons. Third World Traveler. 2010. Web. 15 March. 2010.
Higgs, Robert. How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Independent Institute, 1 May. 2006. Web. 15 March. 2010.
Mahar, Ted. The battle that ignited America. 2010. Web. 15 March. 2010.
McGraw-Hill Companies. Aftermath. Glencoe. 2010. Web. 15 March. 2010.
Martin, James. Pearl Harbor’s place in History. Institute for Historical Review. 2010. Web. 15 March. 2010.
National Park Service: U.S. Department of the Interior. Arizona Project. 2010. Web. 15 March. 2010.
Robinson, Bruce. Pearl Harbor: a rude awakening. British Broadcasting Corporation, 5 Nov. 2009. Web. 15 March. 2010.
Rosenberg, Emily. A date will live: Pearl Harbor. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Web.15 March. 2010.
Rymer, Eric. Attack on Pearl Harbor: events leading to December 7, 1941 and the attack on Pearl Harbor. 2010. Web. 15 March. 2010.
Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl harbor warning and decision. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1962. Web. 15 March. 2010.