The Attack On Pearl Harbor

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For many people, the defining “turning point” of the United States in the 21st century so far has been September 11th, 2001. The phrase “Post 9/11 World” has been synonymous with growing fears of terrorism at home and abroad and changes in our popular culture and way of life. 9/11 however is not unique in the way it has transformed American society. The attack on Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy,” also brought the United States into a war focused on eliminating a new adversary. Both 9/11 and Pearl Harbor gave increased power and scope to our federal government, changed American attitudes towards different racial/minority groups, and redefined America as a whole in their respective time periods. Japan’s decision to attack…show more content…
(“The Road to Pearl Harbor”) The United States however continued to view Japan lightly and repeatedly ignored evidence that pointed to an inevitable attack on American soil. This evidence was so pervasive that historians, such as Charles A. Beard, had argued that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “knew” of Pearl Harbor and used it as a rallying cry to bring the United States to World War II. It was only in 1981 that such arguments went to the wayside with Gordon W. Prange’s comprehensive study of Pearl Harbor called At Dawn We Slept. Prange dismissed arguments of a government conspiracy, but did find that “the Roosevelt administration was guilty of a series of disastrous blunders in interpreting Japanese strategy” and that “the American government had possession of enough information to predict the attack but failed to do so.” (Brinkley, 611) A similar narrative tragically played out during the years and months before 9/11. Like the Empire of Japan, al-Qaida was not viewed as a significant enough threat in the eyes of the United States. “Terrorism incidents were relatively rare, but not unknown, within the United States itself prior to September 11th 2001 … Most Americans however considered terrorism a problem that mainly plagued other nations.” (Brinkley, 797- 798) According to the 9/11 Commission Report, a federal investigation
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