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Pearl Harbor and how it came about

Uploaded by edwho on May 15, 2001

By the year 1941, WWII was in full effect. Germany seemed to be the victor, gaining control of France and Poland as well as successfully bombing England. Many people believe that Germany would have indeed won the war if not for the intervention of the United States. Because of the horror Americans had witnessed in WWI, the United States did not originally want to get involved in the conflict. In the early morning of December 7th, 1941 all that changed when the Japanese air fleet scattered in the Pacific Ocean bombed Pearl Harbor.

In September of 1940 Japan entered in alliance with Germany and Italy. The Japanese were in need of natural resources found in Southeast Asian countries newly conquered by Germany. Around the same time in the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to halt German and Japanese expansion but was urged by other government officials to leave the situation as it was. Japan feared America’s reaction to their plans to seize Southeast Asia, yet did not let that fear get in their way.

Japan completed their control of Indochina by seizing the southern half. The American government answered back by placing an embargo on oil shipments heading for Japan. The Japanese viewed this as an act of war, for they knew their military and industrial forces would not last long with out oil. The United States tried to resolve their differences with Japan, throughout 1941. Demands on each side were quite simple. The Japanese wanted the embargo lifted and permission to attempt an attack on China. The U.S. exclaimed they would only lift the embargo if Japan ceased its aggression towards China. The two powers refused to compromise and a war seemed inevitable.

America realized Japan would not budge and strategically place military forces in the Pacific Ocean in preparation for a pending war. In fact, the most crucial element of American defense was the U.S. Pacific Fleet. With war looming the Pacific Fleet was moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on April 2nd , 1940. Pearl Harbor seemed to be the perfect place to rest the fleet. Situated between the Marshall Islands, where the Japanese fleet gathered and the west coast of America. The fleet wasn’t supposed to stay in the harbor very long yet because of events in Europe, President Roosevelt felt if the fleet was left in the harbor it would diminish the possibility of a Japanese attack...

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Uploaded by:   edwho

Date:   05/15/2001

Category:   American History

Length:   3 pages (740 words)

Views:   1381

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