why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor

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Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor ?

The questions “Why did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor” is often formulated and it is quite a political issue with deep grounds. In an unilateral decision, the U.S. decided to cease oil exports to Japan in July 1941. This was in part a reaction on the ongoing Japanese expansion into French Indochina, mainly after the fall of France to German Army. Some people says that the US were also forced to that decision in part because of new American restrictions on domestic oil consumption. The fact is that this in turn caused the Japanese to proceed with plans to take the Dutch East Indies, an oil-rich territory, in order to satisfy the basic necessities for oil. On August 17, Roosevelt warned Japan that the U.S. was prepared to take steps against Japan if it attacked “neighboring countries”. The side Japanese were faced with the option of either withdrawing from China and losing face or seizing and securing new sources of raw materials in the resource-rich, European-controlled colonies of Southeast Asia. There are many books that have written on the topic, and I have three of them. I introduce them below. But for those that want to have a complete and detailed guide on the facts that motivated the attack, the following book “Pearl Harbor: The Essential Reference Guide”, by Spencer Tucker provides an understanding of the motives behind the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the consequences of this action on Japan, on the United States, and on the outcome of World War II.

Where is Pearl Harbor?


The Hawaii islands are problably more well-know geographically. However, the precise location of Pearl Harbor is less well known. Pearl Harbor is a lagoon harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The U.S. government first obtained exclusive use of the inlet and the right to maintain a repair and coaling station for ships here in 1887.The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941 was the immediate cause of the United States’ entry into World War II.

When was Pearl Harbor attack ?

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time, on 7 December 1941.

How many people died in Pearl Harbor?

The most accurate reports indicate that after 90 minutes of the Japanese attack was over, 2,008 sailors were killed and 710 others wounded. In addition, 218 soldiers and airmen  were killed and 364 wounded. From other corps, 109 marines were killed and 69 wounded. The civilians also heavily suffered: 68 civilians were killed and 35 wounded. In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded. Fifty-five Japanese airmen and nine submariners were killed in the attack, and one was captured.

On the Japanese side, of Japan’s 414 attack planes, 29 were lost during the battle (nine in the first attack wave, 20 in the second), with another 74 damaged by antiaircraft fire from the ground.

Pearl Harbor facts

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time.[The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship,and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.


Pearl harbor attack Movies and Books

There are have been several movies and books on the Pearl Harbor attack.

I think the best movie is and always will be Tora, Tora, Tora. It is my favorite movie on the subject. The special effects are excellent. I recommend it. There is a small detail that some of you may have already noticed. The small control tower of the Akagi is displayed in the film on the opposite side of the real carrier Akagi. :)

Among the books, there are many good ones. I personally own three ones. Two of them are written by Walter Lord and Gordon Prange, respectively, which are shown below.

They are excellent books, with many readers. However, my favorite among the three I own, is one written by Fuchida, one the Japanese attack aircraft commanders. it is interesting to know his opinions before and after the attack, and how it affected, Japan future and his own future life: God’s Samurai: Lead Pilot at Pearl Harbor (The Warriors).



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