Pearl Harbor

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Pearl Harbor was the beginning of a war between two countries that would last nearly 4 years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The attack was swift and successful for the Japanese and it caught the Americans totally off guard. The “Day that will live in infamy” drew the United States into a World War in which would change American history forever. The political climate in the pacific area in 1940 was filled with turmoil. The Japanese had extended their empire south through French Indochina and the Japanese Army was invading China, conquering a third of the country. The United States of America was shocked to see this after witnessing Hitler and his Nazi's conquer most of Europe. So, the American's had placed embargoes on their extensive trade with Japan and both countries were negotiating to try to solve their differences. The U.S. tried to negotiate with the Japanese to try to avoid war, trying to convince them that if war broke out between Japan and the United States, Japan, in the long run, would be devastated. So, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Japanese ambassador Namura and Kiruzo talked on how to solve this crisis. These negotiations proceeded into the summer of 1941.By this time, the Japanese had realized that if they wanted to expand their empire, they would have to fight America and, possibly, her allies. So, they decided to fight. But, in order for Japan to fight America on even terms, they would have to move south, into the East Indies (where there was a lot of raw materials for the Japanese War Machine), which, at that time, were controlled by the western powers: Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States. But, there was another thorn in Japan's side, the United States Pacific Fleet was moved from San Diego to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This was a knife at Japan's throat. If they decided to move south, then the Americans would attack. So, the Japanese had to come up with a plan to get rid of this threat. They called upon their new Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. He saw that the British, in 1940, torpedoed the Italian fleet at Toranto using old Fairy Swordfish torpedo bombers. So, Yamamoto thought if the British could use old biplanes to sink three battleships at Toranto, then he could use his modern Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers and Aichi D3A dive bombers to destroy more.

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