Should America have Declared War on Japan after the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

Was President Roosevelt right to ask congress in the famous Day of Infamy Speech to declare such a war (PPT)? The events surrounding the declaration, mainly the bombing of Pearl Harbor, left such an impact on the forces of American military, I believe that President Roosevelt and Congress had no other choice. In my recent watching of the movie Pearl Harbor, and even though there are historical errors within the movie, I felt as if the movie gave the impression that the right decision was made.

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In less than two hours the Japanese managed to destroy almost 20 American ships and 300 American planes (PPT). Although the Pacific fleet was far from crippled the damage was significant in that over 2400 military personnel and civilians lost their lives. (PPT) The movie Pearl Harbor hid the historical facts of the events leading Americans into involvement in WWII behind a romantic love story. Instead of portraying the main reasons for the attack, such as Japan’s desire to expand in the pacific, or the sanctions placed on the Japanese by the Americans it chose to simplify the reasons by laying the blame on the Americans denying Japan the oil it needed. The facts were that US was unhappy with the aggressive moves of Japan on China, and with the Tripartite Act in which Japan joined the axis powers of Germany and Italy, which in turn caused relations between the two countries to deteriorate. (PPT) These actions lead to the freezing of Japanese assets in the US (PPT) and a recognition that an attack was inevitable”but no one knew when or where it would take place.

Prior to the attack (1937) on Pearl Harbor two-thirds of Americans felt that the US should stay out of international affairs. (PPT) Congress passed a Neutrality Act in 1937 that made it illegal for Americans to sell or transport weapons as a deterrent for keeping the US out of war (PPT). However, the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor failed to portray the sentiments of the American people, instead gave a false sense of patriotism surrounding the events portrayed and totally left out any of these historical events. In 1940, the US congress signed into law the Selective Service Act, making it the first time Americans were drafted during peace time. (PPT) In the movie, Pearl Harbor”the main characters, Danny and Rafe (childhood friends) are Army Air Corp Pilots who witness the battle at Pearl Harbor and take to the skies to defend the harbor against the Japanese”this part is factual because some of the American pilots were able to launch a defense and take down some Japanese planes.

On the day following the attack at Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt delivered a message to congress that stressed the need for them to take action in retaliation for the attack. Three days later (PPT) war was declared moving the US into war with Japan, Germany and Italy. The war involvement came at a high cost for the US, not only in monetary costs but in the loss of the lives of many soldiers. (PPT) The US one by one moved the Japanese forces from the islands that they had previously taken over (PPT)”thus allowing them to utilize the resources from each one. The battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa being two of the most important because of the roll these two islands would play in the end of the battle. These victories were essential for the end result to be successful when the US dropped the bombs on Japan’s mainland that eventually led to the end of World War II.

In conclusion, I believe that the events, victories and outcome of the war itself give credence to the correct decision by the US president and congress to declare war on Japan. When negotiations between the US and Japan proved to be unsuccessful and all attempts by the US to thwart war became a moot point with the attack on Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt really had no choice but to call for American Intervention. I can also conclude that the movie Pearl Harbor although highly historically inaccurate did accomplish an important feat, it called back to attention these events in our history that helped shape the world we live in today.

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Should America have declared war on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (2019, Jun 26). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from
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