Essay on The Attack on Pearl Harbor

1720 Words 7 Pages
The Attack on Pearl Harbor

The United States is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the East, the Pacific Ocean to the West and is bordered by two friendly nations, Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Attacks on United States soil have therefore been rare. The surprise attack by the Japanese in 1941 on the United States at Pearl Harbor resulted in a great loss of life and changed the course of history.

Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was an isolationist country and coming out of the Great Depression. There was a war raging in Europe in 1939 that involved many United States allies. Hitler’s German troops were attacking France, Poland, Great Britain and other European countries. Despite the attacks
…show more content…
The United States annexed Hawaii as a territory in 1900, which is when Pearl Harbor was made a United States naval base. Harbor improvements and fortifications were later added after the Berlin Pact was signed in 1940 by the Axis nations (Pearl Harbor, 2001).

Relations between Japan and America had been difficult since the United States acquired Hawaii in 1900, and some authors believe that the Pearl Harbor attack was the result of a rivalry between the United States and Japan which had lasted almost half a century (Gailey 1). Japan was pursuing imperialistic plans in Asia and the Pacific, and had invaded China and Korea during the 1930s. In 1937, Japan intentionally sunk a United States ship on the Yangtze River in China, killing three and wounding eleven Americans. President Roosevelt wanted to stop Japan’s aggression and quickly moved to end trading key supplies with Japan. President Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States and placed an oil embargo on Japan (Renzi 5-13). The embargo greatly angered the Japanese Government, which felt that war with the United States was now inevitable (Bahrenburg 2). The Japanese followed two strategies in response to the actions of the United States. One was to negotiate to get the oil embargo lifted and the other was to prepare for war. The Japanese were expecting the United

More about Essay on The Attack on Pearl Harbor

Open Document