Waking a Sleeping Giant: Pearl Harbor

1742 WordsJun 23, 20187 Pages
In an effort to attain control of the Pacific Ocean, Japan launched an unprecedented attack against the United States Naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Despite the isolationist attitude of America prior to joining World War II, an embargo against Japan in part prompted the terrible offence. Hideki Tōjō, a radical conservative, had recently been elected Prime Minister of Japan, under his leadership; a plan to expand the Empire of Japan was developed. The attack planned by the Japanese Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto who had been educated in America, and had served two tours of duty in the United States was strategically quite brilliant (Japan). Many factors afforded the opportunity for Japan’s success in the assault. The ignorant…show more content…
All this was fueled by Tōjō’s belief that there was no alternative to waging war with America; he believed America was starving Japan into submission, which he felt was unacceptable for the expansion of the Japanese Empire (Japan). In America, the balance between Washington politics and military strategy was poorly managed, many high level officials failed to acknowledge that an attack was likely imminent (Pearl Harbor Review - The Investigations). The Navy fleet, which had previously been stationed in San Diego, had been moved to Pearl Harbor in 1940 in an effort to de-escalate political tension with Japan (Larew). Although American politicians had engineered this move in response to Japan’s activities in China, the hope that it would reduce tension was not realized; it only served to escalate strained political communication (Chen). American politicians were right to be concerned about war with Japan. Kichisaburō Nomura, the Japanese Ambassador in Washington, worked to find peaceful language between the two countries, but it was suspected that he was, in fact, aware that war was imminent (Chen). A dire message from Japan was sent in 14 separate sections to Nomura in the days before the attack. All sections indicated the end of peaceful negotiations and the last message requested that the cipher used to translate the coded message be destroyed;
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