Skip to comments.Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?
Posted on 12/07/2019 12:18:50 PM PST by SeekAndFind
When Japanese bombers appeared in the skies over Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, the U.S. military was completely unprepared for the devastating surprise attack, which dramatically altered the course of World War II, especially in the Pacific theater. But there were several key reasons for the bombing that, in hindsight, make it seem almost inevitable.
Tensions Began During the Great Depression
Before the Pearl Harbor attack, tensions between Japan and the United States had been mounting for the better part of a decade.
The island nation of Japan, isolated from the rest of the world for much of its history, embarked on a period of aggressive expansion near the turn of the 20th century. Two successful wars, against China in 1894-95 and the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05, fueled these ambitions, as did Japans successful participation in World War I (1914-18) alongside the Allies.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Japan sought to solve its economic and demographic woes by forcing its way into China, starting in 1931 with an invasion of Manchuria. When a commission appointed by the League of Nations condemned the invasion, Japan withdrew from the international organization; it would occupy Manchuria until 1945.
In July 1937, a clash at Beijings Marco Polo Bridge began another Sino-Japanese war. That December, after Japanese forces captured Nanjing (Nanking), the capital of the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Guomindang (Kuomintang), they proceeded to carry out six weeks of mass killings and rapes now infamous as the Nanjing Massacre.
The U.S. Was Trying to Stop Japans Global Expansion
In light of such atrocities, the United States began passing economic sanctions against Japan, including trade embargoes on aircraft exports, oil and scrap metal, among other key goods, and gave economic support to Guomindang forces. In September 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, the two fascist regimes then at war with the Allies.
Tokyo and Washington negotiated for months leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, without success. While the United States hoped embargoes on oil and other key goods would lead Japan would halt its expansionism, the sanctions and other penalties actually convinced Japan to stand its ground, and stirred up the anger of its people against continued Western interference in Asian affairs.
To Japan, war with the United States had become to seem inevitable, in order to defend its status as a major world power. Because the odds were stacked against them, their only chance was the element of surprise.
Destroying the Base at Pearl Harbor Would Mean Japan Controlled the Pacific
In May 1940, the United States had made Pearl Harbor the main base for its Pacific Fleet. As Americans didnt expect the Japanese to attack first in Hawaii, some 4,000 miles away from the Japanese mainland, the base at Pearl Harbor was left relatively undefended, making it an easy target.
Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku spent months planning an attack that aimed to destroy the Pacific Fleet and destroy morale in the U.S. Navy, so that it would not be able to fight back as Japanese forces began to advance on targets across the South Pacific.
Japans surprise attack on Pearl Harbor would drive the United States out of isolation and into World War II, a conflict that would end with Japans surrender after the devastating nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
At first, however, the Pearl Harbor attack looked like a success for Japan. Its bombers hit all eight U.S. battleships, sinking four and damaging four others, destroyed or damaged more than 300 aircraft and killed some 2,400 Americans at Pearl Harbor.
Japanese forces went on to capture a string of current and former Western colonial possessions by early 1942including Burma (now Myanmar), British Malaya (Malaysia and Singapore), the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and the Philippinesgiving them access to these islands plentiful natural resources, including oil and rubber.
But the Pearl Harbor attack had failed in its objective to completely destroy the Pacific Fleet. The Japanese bombers missed oil tanks, ammunition sites and repair facilities, and not a single U.S. aircraft carrier was present during the attack. In June 1942, this failure came to haunt the Japanese, as U.S. forces scored a major victory in the Battle of Midway, decisively turning the tide of war in the Pacific.
Some folks don’t really want to know what was going on behind closed doors. Democratic doors IIRC.
They wanted to build a defensive shield against the U.S. and thought it was necessary to cripple America’s Navy to do so.
Given a year and they would have probably done so but we recovered much sooner than they thought we would.
Because of the white racist patriarchy of the United States?
Japan, isolated from the rest of the world for much of its history, embarked on a period of aggressive expansion near the turn of the 20th century. Two successful wars, against China in 1894-95 and the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05, fueled these ambitions
The Japanese were conquest-mad ***holes. That's why.
Two sea battles (Coral Sea, Midway) destroyed all of their large carriers, and they didn't start to launch replacements until 1944. Loss of the former Dutch East Indies meant they didn't have sufficient fuel to keep their navy running, and the Pacific Ocean covers about half the Earth's surface. They had no reason to attack the US, and plenty of reasons NOT to.
This minimizes (which I guess is inevitable in a short synopsis) the terror bombing of Chinese cities.
When apologists for the Japanese whine about Hiroshima and Nagasaki they tend to minimize the years spent bombing Chinese cities to force the Chinese to surrender through killing their populace even though as many factories as possible had been relocated to concealed rural areas.
Don’t forget the rampant hostility at that time to LGBTs!
Should have made the third strike. Take out the oil and the dry docks. It would have pushed the fleet back to San Diego and Long Beach.
But missing the carriers made the Japs take their chips and leave the game.
It was a stupid move. The plan worked. They could have encountered acceptable losses in the third wave. It would have pushed the US back two years instead of six months.
Because after a decade of doing nothing about Japanese aggression in Manchuria and China, FDR didn't care about Asia.
Only after Germany attacked Russia did FDR move quickly to secure Stalin's flank by cutting off Japan's oil supply thereby forcing the Japanese to secure alternate supply from SE Asia.
The Japanese attack at Pearl was intended to prevent a significant American response for about a year.
Like anything there is no one reason. A lot of things played into Pearl Harbor. Without Pearl Harbor (that one single happenstance changed the world) history would have gone a completely different direction.
Well, thats not true either.
We had already sent the American Volunteer Group to Burma before Pearl Harbor and they were not so stupid as to not be cognizant that the flying tigers were the tip of the spear in American Plans to force Japan out of China.
The end of their Empire was coming either way.
Pearl Harbor slowed it down.
“The Japanese were conquest-mad ***holes. That’s why.”
BINGO. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Stupid soyboy leftwing historians always point out that we were “embargo meanies” but that wouldn’t stop the japs due to a power hungry emperor..
Because “there’s a gun behind every blade of grass”?
RE: Because theres a gun behind every blade of grass?
That would be one reason NOT to invade.
Because the US built what was made to appear as an invading force in Manila in the months before Pearl Harbor.
The same day Pearl Harbor was attacked the Philippines were attacked
Our National Guardsmen there were the first prisoners taken and the last released.
Read .... Bataan Uncensored written by one of my family members
1. The aircraft carriers were not in Pearl Harbor. After Billy Mitchell we learned the weakness of battleships and the value of aircraft carriers.
2. The Japanese Embassy was burning papers for a week before the attack.
Interesting that it was a mere 6 months between Pearl Harbor and Midway
When Japanese bombers appeared in the skies over Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941...
Minor point—It was actually the morning of December 8th (in Japan) and still December 7th in the United States.
RE: Because theres a gun behind every blade of grass?
That would be one reason NOT to invade.”
...I’m talking Pearl Harbor instead of a land invasion. It was the fact that most Americans were armed that they didn’t invade by land.
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