Background to the attack on Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor is the background to understanding why this historic event occurred.

The United States had sent the Pacific fleet to try to intimidate the Japanese Empire in an attempt to take overseas possessions from Britain, France or the Netherlands because the Japanese needed natural resources such as oil and rubber.

Pearl Harbor
Isoroku Yamamoto a Japanese said after the attack: “I feel that everything that has happened has awakened a sleeping giant who ended this with a terrible result.

The invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and throughout that decade we will find that the Japanese were expanding on the part of China, causing a war in 1937 with it.

Then we will find the occupation of French Indochina in 1940 to prevent supplies from being sent to China.

It was at that time that the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, ordered the Pacific fleet to be transferred to Hawaii.

From there we will find a series of tensions, such as the US cutting off oil supplies to Japan, which would result in the attack on the US naval base.

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Who developed the plan of attack on Pearl Harbor?

We continue with this summary of the attack on Pearl Harbor to learn about the ringleaders who devised this attack.

The top leader who can be described as the undisputed creator of the plan was Isoroku Yamamoto, chief admiral of the Combined Fleet.

This same character is paradoxical that he warned his high command that Japan would not stand a chance against the United States, but even so, he studied to strike a severe blow against the United States.

Thus, since the Tripartite Pact in September 1940, we will find a series of studies on the Pacific to find the Achilles’ heel of the United States.

The second character to be mentioned will be Minoru Genda, who was a member of the senior staff of the First Air Division, in addition to being the best pilot in the Japanese empire.

The pilot decided to carry out war simulations on Kinko Bay, because of its resemblance to the Hawaiian Islands, having completed the plan of attack at the end of September.

Leaving this set for the attack on December 8 (for Hawaii and the United States on December 7) providing the Japanese empire with a favorable light for the flight of their planes.

Pre-war movements and the declaration of war

Once the plan of attack was accepted, the Japanese fleet left the Kurilis on 26 November 1941 and 408 aircraft were deployed (of which 360 would be divided into two waves of attack and 48 would be in charge of defense and air patrol).

During the course of the trip, the pilots were instructed in their objectives, the most important being the battleships and aircraft carriers and, secondly, the cruisers and destroyers.

For the fighters, the targets would be to destroy American aircraft and other important buildings.

As an anecdote, we have to say that the Japanese ambassador to the United States’s imperilness made the Japanese declaration of war late in the attack.

The declaration of war appeared in the Japanese newspapers on December 8, while it arrived in the United States on December 9.

Therefore, the rest of the countries of the world blamed Japan for not declaring war on the United States, leaving Japanese politics and government very discredited.

The result of losses after the attack

We continue with this summary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by talking now about the consequences of that battle.

The United States had mobilized part of its fleet to that naval base, so there were many material losses during the two Japanese waves:

  1. Battleships: 8 battleships were damaged and only the USS Arizona was completely destroyed.
  2. The death toll on this type of vessel reached 1890.
  3. Cruise ships: 3 damaged, but all would remain active and the death toll was 20 people.
  4. We will also find some destroyers and other auxiliary ships damaged, although they all remained active.

The consequences of the attack on Pearl Harbor

Following the completion of the attack on the United States military base, the following attacks occurred within the southern campaign mentioned above.

While this was happening, the United States Congress declared war on the Japanese Empire on December 8, declaring, moreover, that the Japanese were infamous for not having warned of the declaration of war.

On the other hand, the attack on the naval base produced a great union in America, an element that greatly benefited the government and strengthened it, since there were many who looked favourably on entering the war (because of the interests in it).

This fact was very important in order to be crowned as the defender of freedoms and thus we will find a great number of propaganda being seen as the real victims of all that.

Japanese indecision

The surprise attack was successful, but Admiral Chuichi Nagumo failed to deliver the coup de grâce and left the infrastructure of the naval base, workshops, docks, hangars, fuel depots etc. almost intact.

Admiral Nagumo is thought to have been overcautious, fearing retaliation from the carrier force, which fortunately was not at the base, as was its custom, and fortunately for the Japanese was too far away from the Hawaiian Islands to intervene.

Total Losses from the Pearl Harbor Attack

  1. The losses in lives were: 103 civilians and 3478 U.S. military personnel.
  2. The US Navy lost the battleships USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and the obsolete USS Utah, which became an auxiliary.
  3. They were sunk or seriously damaged and took between 1 and 3 years to repair and modernize, the USS California, USS Maryland, USS Nevada, USS Oklahoma, USS Tennessee, USS West Virginia, USS Pennsylvania, and USS Battleships.
  4. The USS Cassin, USS Downes, and USS Helm destroyers.
  5. The USS Helena, USS Honolulu, and USS Raleigh cruise ships.
  6. The USS Oglala Miner.
  7. The auxiliary vessels USS Curtiss, USS Sotoyomo, USS Vestal and USS YFD-2.

Fortunately for the US Navy, there were no aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor.

In short, most of the US war fleet in the Pacific was destroyed by the Japanese, who lost 29 planes with 55 crew members, plus 6 mini-submarines.

A well-kept secret

As a result of that action, the United States declared war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. For many, Britain and the United States were well informed about the possible Japanese attack.

In addition, it is believed that a plan involving Churchill and possibly some sectors of the United States did everything possible to make such an attack happen and thus involve the United States in the world war.

Pearl Harbor, Frank Curre’s Story

Frank Curre was only a teenager when he signed up to serve in the U.S. Navy. A few months after enlisting, he was involved in an event that would change the course history. He tells his story of December 7, 1941 in this powerful documentary about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

 Was there a plan?

In January 1941, Peru’s Minister Plenipotentiary in Tokyo, Ricardo Rivera Schreiber, alerted U.S. diplomats to the planning of the attack, it is known that the information reached Pearl Harbor, but they did nothing about it.

According to the latest research, Churchill was aware that the attack would be carried out and according to documentation declassified by the US, there are decoded messages dated prior to December 7, 1941, containing Japanese messages with clear evidence of the attack to be carried out.

A great book I recommend is this.

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