Pearl Harbour: The History of the Bombing
December 7, 1941. This is one of the most remarkable days in American History. This is the day when Japan surprised the American Nation with a devastating bomb attack at the Pearl Harbour, a U.S. naval base in Hawaii. It was a peaceful Sunday morning and just before eight, Japan startled America with hundreds of Japanese planes descending on the base, destroying around numerous American maritime vessels, enormous ships for battle, and almost more than hundred aircraft. It was also the day when over 2,400 people died, not to mention the 1,000 more who were wounded. It in that instance when former President Franklin Roosevelt requested the Congress to declare an opposing war to Japan. It was the same instance when the Second World War commenced.
Pearl Harbour is situated in Honolulu, Hawaii. On record, it is deemed located near the midpoint of the Pacific Ocean. It is approximately located 2,000 miles from the mainland of the United States and is roughly about 4,000 miles away from Japan. Thus, no one ever thought that Japan would start the irrepressible war that has been coldly going on with America when the former decided to take control of its neighboring countries who were actually U.S. based. No one ever thought that the first attack would be in Pearl Harbour. Furthermore, even the intelligence officials of America made sure that if there would be an attack from the Japanese, it would be in one of the other European colonies such as the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, or Indochina. Because of this information, the military leaders and naval warriors assigned to the Pearl Harbour that time were confident and thus, undefended. They were not ready for what happened when the Japanese started the war. No one has foreseen that Pearl Harbour would definitely be an easy target for the Japanese.
The attack originated from the misunderstandings between Japan and America. Before the attack, it was practically obvious that the two countries were not happy with their transactions with each other. Their misunderstandings have been going on for decades. The Japanese believed that they can only solve their economic and demographic problems by expanding into its neighboring countries, particularly China. The United States was not happy about this and so it retaliated by explicitly expressing its opposition. Aggrieved, the Japanese stood on their ground and eventually attacked America. Thereafter, the Japanese had one simple plan. It was to destroy the Pacific Fleet. The United States Pacific Fleet was designed to counterbalance the battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy and to protect the nation from all other forces that wanted to plunder in, for that matter. The Japanese thought that the Pacific Fleet’s downfall would disable America and the latter would have a hard time to fight back. Japan planned its attack well. They crafted their plan well and practiced it every day. Finally, when they were read, they propelled their outbreak, which destroyed hundreds of American weapons and killed thousands of men. Relatively, this attack initiated the start of the Second World War.
It was about eight in the morning when the Japanese planes started to block up the sky with their presence covering the whole of Pearl Harbour. There was literally a rainfall of bombs and bullets. Minutes after the uncontrollable bloodshed, the Japanese released their 1,800 pounds bomb smashing the entire deck of USS Arizona, the well-known battleship during that time. The USS Arizona exploded and sank at the bottom of the ocean while there were still more than a thousand men trapped inside it. Thereafter, the Japanese targeted the USS Oklahoma, another battleship, and killing again about 400 people trapped inside. The USS Oklahoma lost her balance and started to roll towards the side, which eventually led to her fate underwater. When the attack was finally over, all the battleships of the Pearl Harbour were significantly damaged. In the end, there were only two left: Arizona and Utah.
Overall, it is undeniable that the Japanese attack crippled and disabled the American military force in Pearl Harbour. Numerous battleships and airplanes were destroyed and most importantly, thousands of lives of men were taken. However, while Pearl Harbour was devastated, the Japanese did not know that they were not able to defeat the Pacific Fleet. During those years, battleships were not anymore the main vessel used in warfare. The technology was rapidly approaching and America started to invest in aircraft carriers. Fortunately, these investments were away from the Harbour when the attack happened. Furthermore, the Japanese were not able to assault the most important key that played a very vital role in the comeback of the Pearl Harbour, the maintenance, and facilities. Due to these fortunate circumstances, America was able to stand again and recover quickly from the assassination.
The day after the bombing was the day that President Roosevelt decided that he would declare war on Japan. He appeared before the Congress to convince the latter to approve his resolution of declaring war between the two countries. In his speech, he said that it does not matter whether or not it will take years and years of hard work and determination before America can get back on its feet. He believed that the American people will surely make its way towards victory. He also mentioned how he was in a great belief that the Congress, the people, and the government of America were united in not letting the same circumstance happen again. After the session, the Senate deliberated their unanimous decision (82-0) of approving the resolution. The House of Representatives, on the other hand, had a 388-1 vote. Thus, a war against Japan was officially declared. This declaration of war became the gateway for America to enter the Second World War. After the Congress approved the President’s declaration, Japan’s allies declared a war in contradiction of the United States as well. In return, the Congress retaliated by reciprocating a declaration of war on the European countries. After more than two years of staying off the grid, the United States finally decided to take part in the war.
The attack on Pearl Harbour indeed made a great impact not just on the Government, but also its people. For the first time in the history of entire America and after years of discussing and debating about whether to go to war and not, the people became united in their pursuance of justice and righteousness. The Pearl Harbour attack became the point of revolution against the Imperialists of Japan and the unification of one nation that is the United States.