T R 9:40-11:05
Pearl Harbor On December 7, 1941, one of the largest attacks on the United States occurred. Small mistakes that the Japanese made before the attack could have led to a better American defense, but the United States was too ignorant and too proud to think that Japan would attack Pearl Harbor. This surprise attack caught the United States off guard completely and weren’t given a chance to defend themselves. About three thousand five hundred people were killed or injured during the attack. Although President Franklin Roosevelt had the Neutrality Act in effect, he couldn’t allow the Japanese to get away with this. On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he declared war against Japan and that officially brought the United States into World War II. Before World War II, Japan had become extremely aggressive in Asia. In order to carry out their military plans, they needed resources like oil and steel that they were getting from the United States, but after Japan’s undeclared war on China, the United States placed and embargo on Japan and put an immediate stop to the resources Japan needed. The Japanese were deeply in need of oil and were plotting to launch an attack on Indonesia, but after some planning, Japanese leaders thought it would be best if they attack the United States directly and not only weaken its naval base, but also its morality(Wohlstetter).
On January 27, 1941, the U.S ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew, had learned that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor and immediately contacted Washington D.C. When they received this information, everyone thought this was false. A number of military experts thought that if Japan was going to attack the United States, then they were going to attack Manila (NPR). On the day of the attack, American’s defensive awareness was very little. Aircrafts and ships were all lined up together out in the open and were basically sitting ducks to any planes that flew over. Half of the anti-aircraft positions were manned while the other half were left alone. Many historians say that the lack of the United States’ preparation for an attack was pure “ignorance of the American government and military” (Wohlstetter). Many high ranking official thought that a small country like Japan, that didn’t even have the resources to start a war, would ever plan an attack that large. There were even incidents that morning that were ignored and could that could have alerted American forces. A periscope was seen about fifty-five yards of a minesweeper that was on patrol, but was ignored. Two radars detected a large mass of aircrafts coming from the north side of the island, but were dismissed because the commanding officer thought it was bomber aircraft that was returning from a practice mission.
On December 6, President Roosevelt tries to make a final appeal to Japan for peace but there was no reply. Later that day, the United States starts to intercept a fourteen part message from Japan, but was only able to crack the first thirteen parts. The next morning, at about 9 a.m., the last part of the message is cracked and it says that all relations with the United States are to be stopped. An hour later, another Japanese message is intercepted and it tells the Japanese embassy to tell the U.S at 1 p.m. Since Hawaii is four hours behind, the message gets to Pearl Harbor too late because the attack had already started.
On Sunday, December 7, Admiral Nagumo prepares six carriers and four hundred and twenty three planes to attack. At 6 a.m., the first wave of one hundred and eighty-three planes takes off and at 7:15 a.m, a second wave of one hundred and sixty-seven…