Pearl Harbor, the Gibraltar of the Pacific

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Pearl Harbor was easily one of the most engaging events to ever happen to the United States. When Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan, that marked and forced America's entrance into World War II. Pearl Harbor was where the U.S. kept a major part of their naval fleet which is why the bombing of Pearl Harbor was so devastating. Japan's only way to have a successful attack on the U.S. like this was a surprise attack, which was exactly what happened on the morning of December 7th, 1941. The U.S. would not let this attack be left alone; their retaliation came to be the also very tragic atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Pearl Harbor was a devastating event in U.S. history that changed the world in many ways. This paper will help tell the story of this event by focusing on why Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan, what actually happened on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, and how was the U.S. able to recover from this tragedy.Why would a small island nation like Japan attack one of the most powerful countries in the world? Japan was tired of being just a small island nation that was separated from the world. It all began in the 1930s during the Great Depression when Japan was seeking out to solve their economic problem (Pruitt A). Japan forced their way into China to try to take over their economics so Japan could have resources and have a flow of goods. Their invasion became known as The Invasion of Manchuria in 1931 (Pruitt A). In July of 1937, the Japanese captured Nanjing (The capital of the Chinese Nationalist Party) and proceeded to carry on six weeks of mass killings and rapes now infamously known as the Nanjing Massacre (Pruitt A). The U.S. tried to stop Japan's global expansion by placing economic sanctions and trade embargoes against Japan. Japan stood their ground and tried to pursue their true motive which was controlling the pacific. They ultimately failed and were handed their revenge at the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Pruitt A). The Battle of Midway became a big turning point for the war of the Pacific which the U.S. forces scored a major victory at (Pruitt A). Japan's hopes of ruling the Pacific were short lived and would never work, considering how strong our military was and how strong we were as a nation. As one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, Pearl Harbor lost thousands of lives and lots of military equipment. Surprisingly, the attack from Japan didn't come as surprising as it seems it was. United States intelligence officials already knew there was going to be an attack from Japan; since Japan is 4,000 miles away from the U.S. they figured the attack would happen on one of the European colonies like Vietnam or Singapore(Pearl Harbor). The surprise attack on the U.S. was planned by Isoroku Yamamato and since he had a feasible plan, they gave the go ahead on training and preparations needed for the attack (Pearl Harbor). The night before the attack, Japan's fleet was positioned 200 miles off the coast of Oahu, ready to pounce. The planes set out around 6 a.m.; at 7:53 the code words Tora! Tora! Tora! were bellowed by Mitsuo Fuchida signaling that the attack was successful and was a surprise (Pearl Harbor). The attack lasted one hour and 15 minutes and destroyed several hundred aircraft, sunk 4 and damaged 4 battleships, and damaged many other vessels. 2,403 Americans lost their lives and 1,178 were severely injured (Pearl Harbor). Although these are very high and tragic statistics, Japan did not succeed in their goal of taking the U.S. out so they can control all that happens in the Pacific.You may be thinking, how could the U.S. recover from such a tragedy like this in the middle of a world war? The U.S. put out great efforts to try and get us back out in the water as soon as possible and back up to strength. Almost immediately after the attack, efforts to salvage, repair, and fight back began like it was second nature. Although we lost most of our battleships for the time being, the USS Pennsylvania happened to be in a dry dock which was great for us so we could fight back as soon as possible (Pruitt B). All of the crew men were working on the ships and since we had all hands on board we were able to get most of our fleet back by mid 1942(Pruitt B). There were only 3 battleships that didn't return back, the damage was too much to repair. Divers were sent out on thousands of dives to recover documents, ammunition and even human remains(Pruitt B). Personally, I would say that America recovered very well from the attack; we were back on our feet very fast and ready to go again. What if Japan never bombed pearl harbor? Would we have entered WWII or what if we would have had another attack from different country that would also force us into the war? Would we have gained the allies we gained during the war and if we didn't enter the war then what could have happened? It is all very crazy to think about but everything happens for a reason, even if the reason is unknown. Pearl Harbor now serves as a memorial to honor the lives that were lost in the attack. The United States recovered very well from this tragedy and they were still able to be among the strongest nations in the World War.

Pearl Harbor can easily go down as one of our worst tragedies to happen within the United States. Japan's ultimate failure and thousands of lives and equipment that were lost were all things that we built on to make our country stronger in every way. Japan trying to control the Pacific, a tragic bombing that took out a big part of our naval fleet, and how strong we can be if we work together, were all things that we built off of and is why we are one of the strongest nations in the world.

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Pearl Harbor, the Gibraltar of the Pacific. (2019, Jul 03). Retrieved July 21, 2024 , from

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