The Pearl Harbor Attack

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The Pearl Harbor attack was a surprise, but for decades, America and Japan had been moving towards a war. No one thought that Japan would start a war with an attack on American soil. President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy. Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941; just 200 miles from Oahu. Hawaii and Japan are about 4,000 miles apart. This attack lasted two very short hours. The bombing killed more than 2,300 Americans and sank or beached 12 ships and destroyed 9. Also, 160 aircraft were destroyed and 150 others were damaged.

Not only did Japan attack on American soil unexpectedly, they used two waves of air planes which came to Pearl Harbor. This was a surprise air strike to attack the ships, cruisers, and aircrafts. The plans for the surprise attack began as early as January. The Japanese specifically chose to attack on a Sunday. They figured Americans would be relaxed and less alert. The Japanese plan of destroying the Pacific Fleet was simple and should have been fool proof. In this case, the Americans couldn’t fight back. The plan was to crush the American Navy at Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Vice Admiral Chichi Nagumo sent six aircraft carriers, 24 supporting ships, and a pack of submarines for the attack to sink Americans ships that escape. Battleship Row, which is located on the southeast shore of Ford Island, was the area where seven US ships were secured.

When Japanese Commander Mitsuo Fuchida called out “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!), upon flying over Pearl Harbor, it was a message to the entire Japanese Navy telling them that they had caught the Americans totally by surprise. Japan’s main target was suppos...

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... plan depended for success on seizing an island perimeter in the western Pacific. The Japanese left Pearl Harbor at 9:55 AM. The United States didn’t think the attack was over though.

All in all, 18 American ships and almost 300 airplanes were destroyed or damaged by the Japanese fleets. 2,500 men were killed and 1,000 were injured, but on the downside, 68 civilians were killed and 35 were wounded. Pearl Harbor’s most important onshore facilities- oil storage depots, repair shops, ship yards, and submarine docks- stayed intact. The Japanese lost 65 men and one captured, but they had failed to cripple the Pacific Fleet. The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to declare war on Japan. This attack finally pushed America over the edge and just a little more than two years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, America joined World War II.

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