Pearl Harbor's Attack On Pearl Harbor

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At the time of the attack, there were approximately eighty different vessels in the harbor, most notably eight battleships, three cruisers, four destroyers, one minelayer, five auxiliary craft, and over 400 aircraft present at Pearl Harbor (Figure 2). Additionally, the three aircraft carriers of the fleet were not present: the USS Enterprise was approximately 150 miles West of Pearl Harbor, the USS Saratoga was still in San Diego, California, and the USS Lexington was at sea in the vicinity of Midway Island (Yarnall, 2003). The Japanese Imperial Navy forces that attacked Pearl Harbor were comprised of six carriers, several submarines, and over 450 aircraft. Despite being outnumbered in terms of sheer military power, the Japanese forces had the element of surprise on their side, allowing them to strike the first blow of the …show more content…

In 1937, Japan invaded North China and in response, the United States imposed hefty trade sanctions and eventually an embargo with the intent to restrain Japan’s aggression in China (Feis, 1971). Then in January 1941, Admiral Yamamoto began communicating with other Japanese officials about planning an attack against the United States Pacific Fleet housed at Pearl Harbor. That same month, Joseph C. Grew, the United States Ambassador to Japan, sent word via wire to Washington stating that he learned Japan was planning a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. All senior officials in Washington disregard the information due to disbelief, and figured a Japanese offensive in the Philippines was more likely. In February 1941, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel assumes command of the United States Pacific Fleet and Lieutenant General Walter C. Short assumes command of the United States Army element in charge of the island’s defense. Both officials are weary of an attack and begin planning for a defensive but a request to Washington for additional men, weapons, and equipment goes unanswered (NPR,

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