Essay on Pearl Harbor: The day will live forever

What led to the attack on Pearl Harbor? It all started in the 1930s when the two nations of Japan and the U.S. were driven apart because of differences over China. Then, in 1940, The Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance. Within the following year they occupied all of Indochina.

The United states was alarmed by the moves of Japan because of their political and economic interest in east Asia, so they decided to increase and strengthen their military power in the Pacific. They also gave more military and financial aid to China and put an embargo on shipments of oil and other raw materials to Japan.

Since Japan was poor in natural resources, their government looked at this as a threat to their nation's survival. They responded by seizing certain areas in Southeast Asia even though they knew that it would cause war with the United States. They set up a plan to take out the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor because they knew the danger that it posed to them.

At dawn on December, 7, 1941, a Japanese task force passed through radar undetected to a point just 200 miles north of Oahu, Hawaii. At about 6:00 a.m. the six aircraft carriers launched the first of two waves of planes. The first wave consisted of 181 planes, some of which were torpedo bombers, dive bombers, and horizontal bombers and fighters. The second wave of 170 Japanese planes launched 30 minutes later. The first wave was sighted by radar, but was passed off because they were thought to be a group of American planes that were due to arrive that morning.

The Japanese planes attacked military airfields to destroy the planes before they could get off the ground, destroying 164 planes and damaging 159.

There were more than 90 ships anchored at Pearl Harbor, but the main targets were the eight battleships. They managed to sink or beach 12 ships and damage 9. Of the destroyed ships, the USS Arizona was the worst. It was hit by an armor piercing bomb which struck the ships forward ammunition magazine. This created a huge explosion killing 1,177 crewmen, about half of the total number of Americans killed in the attack.

There was a total of 2,395 Americans killed in the two-hour attack, 2,001 naval men died, 109 Marines, 231 Army men and 54 civilians. There was also 1,178 men wounded in the attack, 710 Navy, 69 Marines, 364 Army and 35 civilians.

The Japanese didn't suffer much at all compared to us. They lost only 29 planes, less than 10 percent of the attacking force and lost only 38 men.

The attack on Pearl Harbor made a huge change on the world. Because of the attack, the United states entered World War II in the Allied Alliance. We bombed the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the war. After the bombing, the U.S. was looked at as a world power.

I believe this was a tragic incident which could have been less damaging or even avoided if we would have taken more precautions and checked out the planes on the radar instead of just assuming they were the Army Air Corps. Today we are less likely to be caught off guard by a sneak attack because of our military advances. Also, we were caught off guard once, which makes it unlikely to happen again because we don't want to repeat ourselves.

In conclusion, I believe the attack on Pearl Harbor was a terrible thing that shouldn't have happened. We can never bring back the lives of the brave people that fought and tried to protect the base at Pearl Harbor. And the survivors of the attack will never forget what happened those long two hours. This is a day that will live on forever.


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