World War II

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America’s involvement in World War II has often been equated to the Japanese waking the “sleeping giant”, and is often thought of as an invincible superpower. The reality is that the United States’ invincibility has never been really tested. The United States’ is separated from the rest of the Western world by an ocean on either side of its borders and has therefore only had two attacks on native soil. While America’s invincibility is not easily tested, and therefore not easily discredited, whether or not the Japanese awoke the “sleeping giant” by bombing Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is, however, debatable. The American public before the attack on Pearl Harbor were isolationists, they may have felt sympathy for the victims of Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini, but did not in fact care enough to get involved in another war. The congressmen they elected into office from the late 1930’s to the early 1940’s respected the wishes of their constituents and therefore did everything in their power to prevent U.S involvement in World War II even after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In fact one of the only Americans to appear at all concerned with the horrific events occurring across the ocean was President Franklin Roosevelt, however, despite pleas from the heads of the allied forces, even President Roosevelt could not entirely commit to the need for U.S involvement and remained a wishy-washy figure up until the late 1930’s. It was not until 1940, that President Roosevelt was able to take a stand and begin the attempts to talk the American people into actively supporting the allied forces against Nazi forces. The Japanese may get the credit for waking the “sleeping giant”, however, it is in fact President Roosevelt and a small portion of t...

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.... War secretary Stimson believed it was necessary to “maneuver them into the position offering the first shot without too much damage to ourselves”. (515) Roosevelt may not have left the fleet at Pearl Harbor exposed intent ally, but he did seem aware that a sacrifice would be necessary to rouse the will to fight. This sacrifice came in the form of 2,403 men at Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1941. (522)

Congress would declare war just three days after the Japanese attack, with only one dissenting vote. (523) The American people had finally realized what Roosevelt had been saying for years, that the Axis powers could not go unchecked or it could and would bring about consequences for Americans. The attacks had exactly the opposite effect that Yamamoto had intended, the American people were furious and cried out for vengeance against the “treacherous japs”. (523-524)

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