Japan´s Attack on Pearl Harbor

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Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was intended to be a preventive act in order to keep the United States Navy from intruding on their military plans. Why Japan would try to take on a force they knew they could not overcome still stands in question. Japan was already engaged in a four-year war in China and debating an attack on the Soviet Union, so why engage in a war with a country with tremendous industrial advantage? The United States was not only on the opposite side of the world but had a much stronger military force. The United States had more military weapons, tactics, and forces than other countries. When attacking Pearl Harbor Japan opted to fight a war with an enemy that had the capability to wage an unstoppable war against them. After World War 1 Japan had a hard time adjusting to the new world. “While its economy was still primarily agricultural, rapid population growth (to over 80 million) had diminished the amount of land suitable for farming. Many people lived in small houses, lacking running water. In a nation about the size of California, only one of every six acres was farmland. This put great pressure on Japanese government to find more space and land for its people.” (America Enters World War II page 12). Japan attempted to change its agricultural-based economic system to an industrial based system. “But the international system of trade barriers and tariffs, established by the United States and other industrial powers to protect domestic manufacturing, hindered Japan’s industrial expansion.” (America Enters World War II page 13). Many of the materials Japan needed were found in neighboring countries that were controlled by European powers. Japan began to question it’s right to Asian markets and raw materials. “J... ... middle of paper ... ...ip, and moved it against the quays. It heaved up the port side, and you could feel the decks-the compartments-being penetrated…You began to get afraid. I don’t know about other people, but I though “Geez I might get killed”.” (Remembering Pearl Harbor page 16). The attack by Japan was a smart tactical move on the United States. It was a two-fold plan, first If they attacked the US, they would draw attention from what was happening in Europe and all sources would be directed to the west half of the US. Second since the attack was so quick and unexpected the US was caught off guard. Since Japan attacked the largest base in the Pacific, Japan believed they would be able to cripple the US defenses for a while. “The Japanese did not realize that the attack on Dec. 7, 1941 would be a rallying cry for the Americans that had not enlisted to enlist in troops.” (Hampton)