For what reason did Japan bomb Pearl Harbour?

Though Japan was ready to talk diplomatically, their military experts were also preparing plans for an ‘all out’ offensive against the United States of America. Chapter two – 7th December, ‘a day of infamy’ “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a day which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan”. On the 7th of December 1941 between the hours of 7 am – 9am, there “two waves” of attack on Pearl Harbor.

The first wave was between 7:53am – 8:55am and second wave was between 8:55am – 9:55am.

A squadron of Japanese fighter planes had bombed the Pacific fleet. “2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleship. ” This source helps us to understand the damage caused between three hours of intense battling between the Japanese and American forces; but it has to be noted that this may be an unreliable source due to the fact that the site which I had obtained this source from was written recently and as it was written so many years after the bombing, maybe some figures had been exaggerated, or mis-calculated.

But it does help in giving a better picture of the chaos caused.

It was as if one blow from the Japanese had decided the debate that had divided the Americans ever since the German defeat of France which left Britain alone in the fight against the Nazi regime. Pearl Harbor was destined to enter the history books, due to the relations between America and Japan.

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“These had been deteriorating badly since the previous year, as disagreements arose over Japan’s southward expansion on the Asiatic Continent. ” The Japanese took the advantage of Hitler’s advance down the coast of China. The pressure of the war, had forced the French troops to comply with Japanese troops, which moved into northern Indo-China.

They also asked the British to close the Burma Road, which was the last means of getting important supply into China. “By imposing a limited check on export of war materials to Japan, United States emerged as the principal obstacle to Japanese advance. ” As mentioned earlier, President Roosevelt had moved the Pacific Fleet from San Diego, to Pearl Harbor. This, in an indirect way, gave the impression that the Fleet was a ‘pawn’ in the diplomatic scheme. The Japanese said that it was due to the “ten-point memorandum”, which forced Japan into war.

The memorandum opposed and threatened expansion of Japanese ‘land’. America knew that Japan would not listen to anything that they said, that is the reason Hull said “I have washed my hands of it and it is now in the hands of … the Army and the Navy. ” When I read this quote I had realized that the bureaucrats in the White House were looking for a face off rather than a peaceful resolution. This source was valuable as it showed that America were interested in fighting, and apart from that it was reliable as it was from an American official att the time in question.

Warnings had been issued to the top ranked personal, that it was not out of the question that Japan could attack United States. “Admiral Husband E . Kimmel in Hawaii heard that neither Roosevelt nor Hull would be surprised over a Japanese surprise attack”. One note to Admiral Kimmel said “consider this dispatch a war warning”. The note said that all diplomatic reasoning had failed miserably. The first attack lasted around 30 minutes and within that 30 minutes there were 4 separate torpedo-bomber attacks. The first 2nd attacks were meant for the “main” targets, which were the battleships on the south-east shore.

The 3rd attack hit the cruiser (Helena) and the 4th were meant for ships on the north side. The second major attack consisted of “high-level bombing runs across the target” with support from dive-bombers and fighter planes. “The overall impact was devastating. ” The West Virginia was hit 6 times by torpedoes. Arizona was the worst effected. Both torpedoes and bombs had caused explosions and fires and the vessel sank quickly. Over a 1000 men had died on that ship, trapped in the below decks as it sank. The list was never-ending.

In a matter of hours America had sustained a major blow both nationally and internationally. Although the main targets had been the battleships and other vessels, Japan had not forgotten about the airfield full of American fighter planes. As President Roosevelt said himself “a date which will live in infamy”. 2403 fatalities had taken place, of which 2008 were part of the navy, 3 battleships sank; other vessel’s were badly destroyed. The Japanese had done a good job of destroying two-thirds of naval aircrafts, leaving 16 serviceable Army Air Force bombers.

In contrast the Japanese had very minimal loss compared to the Americans. Out of an attacking force which consisted of 360 aircrafts they had lost, 5 midgets, 9 Zeros, 15 Vals and 5 Kates were lost. “Viewed from the level of high political policy, the Pearl Harbor attack was a tremendous blunder. It was difficult to conceive any other act which could have rallied the American people more solidly behind declaration of war on Japan. ” People say that this was one of the biggest mistakes Japan had made. If they did not try to hurt the ‘big friendly giant’ (in this case America) all would have of been fine.

Unfortunately they had done the opposite. This was also apparent when Churchill said “To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew that United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! … Hitler’s fate was sealed … Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. ” Chapter three – Key reason for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, was this the excuse America was looking for? Between the years of 1920 to 1940, dictators started to appear in Germany, Italy and Japan.

The first who were led under a dictatorship regime, were the Italians. Benito Mussolini was their dictator. The next dictator who came to power was Adolf Hitler who led the Nazi party. Both Mussolini and Hitler had quiet good relations, and after time they decided to sign up an alliance, by 1937 they were known as the Axis Power. The Japanese saw, and took up the opportunity to join the Axis Alliance. Many people assume that it was due to Emperor Hirohito that Japan joined the Axis. But they were far from the truth. “Cautious as ever, he criticized Japan’s decision to join the Axis powers”.

The following year that Japan had joined the Axis Alliance, the government of Japan was in the impression that they were now untouchable. They started to march troops towards neighboring countries such as China, in the view that they could take it over. After World War 2 has started, Japan grew impatient and angry towards the USA. This was due to the fact that America was sending China war materials. The reason that Japan did not like this was because they were trying to take China over, and if the Americans helped the Chinese, they (the Japanese) would face tougher opposition.

Both American and British Governments had done everything to place obstacles in front of Japan. I went through an old article of I had at home which said “both the United States and Great Britain have resorted to every possible measure to … obstruct the establishment of a general peace between Japan and China, interfering with Japan’s constructive endeavors towards the stabilization of East Asia. Exerting pressure on the Netherlands East Indies, or menacing French Indo-China, they have attempted to frustrate Japan’s aspiration to the ideal common prosperity in cooperation with these regimes.

” It goes on to show that both America and Britain were desperately trying to provoke Japan in to making a stupid move; “Furthermore, when Japan in accordance with its protocol with France took measures of joint defense of French Indo-China, both American and British Governments, willfully misinterpreting it as a threat to their own possessions, and including the Netherlands Government to follow suit, they enforced the assets to freezing order, thus severing economic relations with Japan … manifesting thus as obviously hostile attitude…

” As their plan to provoke Japan was not working successfully at first, thy had to implement a new tactic to make Japan make a rash move, and what else would be better than starving Japan of vital money that would inevitably help them become stronger. As a direct result to this, Japan went to America on the 1st of November 1941 for “peace talks”. During the peace talks Japan gave three proposals to America. They were as follows; 1 – The Americans were going to cease in aiding China, 2 – America were to stay out of Asian Affairs and 3 The Americans would lift the oil embargo on Japan, and commence trading straight away.

President Roosevelt did not acknowledge any of these proposals, and dismissed them. Historian’s debate that the reason Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor was merely due to the fact that President Roosevelt had turned down the three proposals which were presented by the Japanese. They say that if the Americans had complied with the Japanese in the beginning, nothing of this nature would have of taken place. Other historians say that “Pearl Harbor was not about war with Japan. It was about war with GERMANY”.

They the Americans knew about the Japanese plans to attack Pearl Harbor, but did not do anything on purpose. The reason that America opted to stay quiet was because they knew that if Japan were to bomb Pearl Harbor, than the American Government would have an excuse to join the European War. One reason that the Pacific fleet was moved to Pearl Harbor was because the Americans were hoping to provoke the Japanese, as it would scare them into thinking that America was moving their naval fleet forward.

As a counter measure, they would have to attack that particular naval fleet to show the Americans that they were vulnerable to Japanese attack, and would scare the Americans back into the ‘cave they crawled out of’. In conclusion to this study, I would say that the reason Japan had bombed America could be seen as a ‘two sided coin’. The Japanese would argue that due to the British and America economic ‘dictatorship’, indirect or not, had pushed Japan to its limits. The two Western Super Powers had allowed themselves to expand and well equip their naval fleets, whilst Japan had to sit in the ‘back’ seat and disarm.

This could be seen by the “5:5:3” ratio of naval fleets, where the two “5’s” were America and Britain and the “3” was Japan. As time went on further rules and regulations had to be observed by the Japanese, even if they had not liked the idea such as the “moral embargos” by manufactures towards the Japanese. The Japanese saw this as hypocrisy, why could America and Britain prosper through whatever means possible, but the nation of Japan had to some had to gain prosperity through a route which would have obscure obstacles blocking their pathway to a lot of wealth and power.

No country, no matter how much they have been restrained, will sit back and watch countries who supposedly are doing ‘the better for mankind’ acting like um-democratic people, in a so called democratic world. Japan had tried to be civil, and had asked America to be slightly lenient, but as America would never go back on sanctions, they had refused. Japan had now realised that America was stubborn, for this reason they started to re-arm their naval fleets without compliance from America or Britain.

Once the Japanese had re-gained naval parity, it meant they could now withstand any attack, so they could persist in making their nation bigger and better by taking over countries such as China. They had sent he Pacific Fleet move towards Pearl Harbor, and though to themselves that there was no better way of showing up America, and sending them a message with a hidden agenda, a message that would have shown up America, that they could not dictate a country without the right reason to do so.

They thought that maybe America would back out as it would be breaking the countries moral and would make sure that they would not enter the war in Europe; this would have been an excellent tactic if it did not backfire. Instead of scaring America out of entering the Second World War, it had done the opposite, resulting in an invitation for an extra ‘enemy’ who would be fighting the axis. The logic behind the attack was that if a country sees hundreds of their own men and women die for no reason at all, it would make people think about what more lives would be lost if they were to join the Second World War.

As mentioned before it was unfortunate for the Japanese that this tactic did not work. However, the bombing can also be seen from a different prospective. As mentioned before, some historians believe that the reason America had been so eager to re-name and re-allocate their Pacific Fleet was to intimidate the Japanese into making the first move in starting a war. This would ensure that America could enter the war that was being fought in Europe, without breaking its policies and the ‘horrific’ attach which killed countless Americans in the Harbor, would not go unanswered, and the people who committed this atrocity would not go unpunished.

It was said that both Churchill and Roosevelt were trying to get the United States of America involved as the allies needed a strong group of people to help them. “To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew that United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! … Hitler’s fate was sealed … Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be grounded to powder. ” This shows that thee was a lot on stake if America did not join the war.

This was shown when Winston Churchill said “Hitler’s fate was sealed … Mussolini’s fate was sealed. . As for the Japanese, they would be grounded to powder. ” So in the end I would say that Americans Provoked the Japanese in bombing Pearl Harbor, and risked a lot of innocent American and other nationality lives. Just to get involved in a war that was so many thousands of miles away. There was no logic to both tactically ad normally speaking, to move and rename a whole fleet to the Pacific.

From my own knowledge regarding this topic, I recall reading that ships which had been moved to Pearl Harbor were those which would be ‘scarified’ and others such as the Saratoga (an aircraft carrier) would be left near the West Coast. They had sent two carrier groups and its escorts out of the harbor, which would mean that they would not be hit. The new ships were also moved, leaving mainly those which were used in the First World War, behind. The theory was also further strengthened when Roosevelt had made a phone call to Lord Halifax and said, “Most of the fleet was at sea … none of their newer ships were in the harbor”.

That tactic by historians was summed up by saying “the first shot without too much danger to ourselves”. Books Read 1. The bombing of Hiroshima 2. Days of that shook the world Hiroshima 3. Japan: the years of triumph 4. The rise and fall of Imperial Japan 5. 20th Century.

Websites A. http://ibiscom. com/pearl2. htm B. http://yale. edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/p1. htm C. http://yale. edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/p3. htm D.http://RevisionNotes. co. uk Personal Study: For what reason did Japan bomb Pearl Harbor? Written by Faizan Khan.

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For what reason did Japan bomb Pearl Harbour?
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