The Attack on Pearl Harbor and its Effects on the War

Imagine your average Sunday morning. For the sailors in the Naval Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor it was an average Sunday. Everyone dressed in their pressed white shorts, a white t-shirt, and a sailor’s hat.

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While out in the Pacific the Japanese Armada gathered, the force consisted of six aircraft carriers, two battleships, two heavy cruisers, and many more forces to aid the attack. This was definitely a planned sneak attack, meant to hurt our navy/military. This attack did catch us off-guard, but they unleashed a sleeping beast. This paper will be about the strategic plan in the western front and the pacific. Also, how men and women and kids all stood up together and all did their part in the war effort overseas and on the Homefront.

The patriotism for the American people after the attack is just mind blowing. Just how one substantial event can move a whole nation is mind boggling, and for the mind of a human I don’t understand how everyone just came together when imagining it in today’s world. With all the things going on in the world and country today I do believe there is still that fight in everyone that is willing to stand up for our country and defend her. The cost of freedom isn’t cheap and there are still many good people willing to fight for her and defend her with everything they have including their life. The prime example is the attack on 9/11 and how many kids from that generation who remember it and witnessed it stood up and enlisted in the military. Many of the men and women in the military are part of the generation that witnessed this attack and they decided to enlist due to this attack and do their part in defending our country. To imagine there are kids my age everyday going into harm’s way to defend our country in very humbling and I am very proud to have them on my side in this war.

The attack crippled the naval fleet and the US Navy, it destroyed roughly 20 ships and 300 airplanes. More important 2,403 sailors, soldiers and civilians were killed in this is devastating to most Americans to hear due to America attempting to stay neutral in the war, but Japan felt different. This was basically a bloody invitation to go head to head with a well-trained and highly dedicated military in the pacific. For the men who enlisted I have nothing but respect for them, they had no clue what they were getting into, but they stepped up. This is a true show of patriotism, and it makes me wonder if something like this happened today if I could do the same. After the attack the newspapers filled with beliefs of Japanese invading Guam and Philippines. The enlistment craze was the scare of the nation falling to some other country and just pure patriotism. The recruiting offices were jammed pack in all rural areas and men were signing up to go to the war effort, kids started collecting scrap metal to make bullets and tanks and planes for the war overseas. Women took over men jobs and showed true feminism in my eyes. They showed they were just as good as men, and I believe they deserve just as much respect as the men some. The men went into areas of war that changed them forever and even lost their lives. One man was in high school months after the attack and the spring of 1942 he was afraid the war was going to be over, and as soon as possible he joined the Army Air Corps. This is just one story of many just alike that will happen, and many men will go into the military and even be under age or not meet requirements but that will not stop them to go to war. This also brought up the draft so every man between the ages 18 to 65 had to sign up for the draft. Over 12 percent of the US population was enlisted, well over 16 million men and women were in the armed forces during this period. With the war this also brought up rationing books and many people would have to go to food banks to get food with everything going on in the US they had so many downfalls to the country but as a country we had to suffer but, in the end, it worked out.

The home front of the war was very different from the day before the attack and the day after. This is a huge change, this would affect many kids as well as their dads and brothers and moms all had to start very different lives, even the kids themselves had to help. Think of being a 9-year-old kid and instead of playing your searching the streets for any metal you can find to recycle for bullets and just everything. Hollywood stars, radio stars, and musicians all enlisted and helped on the home front. As America grew stronger every day on the Homefront the men and women of the armed forces all prepared for war, this war would be completely different from all wars as they will be fighting on two fronts. The western front in the west over in Europe, and in the Eastern front, in the pacific. The pacific to me is very interesting, with the type of battles they encountered and tactics the Japanese used in the conflicts. While in the western front they faced huge enemy bases, and huge bunkers that would have 200 enemy soldiers fortified. Let’s get back to the Eastern front imagine it being the hottest day you have ever felt and add 98% humidity all while packing gear, and any moment your best friend could fall into a booby trap and then a whole little fight breaks out for 2 hours and you get pushed back only to never recover your friend. That would mentally mess with a man’s mind as you have the time to set and think about it after all the fighting was done.

The battle in the Pacific had to be strategically planned and all movement and footsteps had to be strategically placed due to the potential of death at every footstep. Due to the dense forestry and the enemy fighting in that terrain for many years. Mainly the Marines and the Navy was in the pacific while mostly the Army, Coast Guard, and the Air Force was on the Western front. Let’s begin with the Battle of Midway, this was mainly a naval fleet battle between the two competing naval fleets. The battle begun June 3 through the 6th of 1942, and this was mainly fought with aircraft. The battle cost the Imperial army some of their best pilots, and also their ships. The battle began on June 3, 1942, when U.S. bombers from Midway Island struck ineffectually at the Japanese invasion force about 220 miles southwest of the U.S. fleet. Early the next morning Japanese planes from the strike force attacked and bombed Midway heavily, while the Japanese carriers escaped damage from U.S. land-based planes. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.). . This battle became one of the most famous battles in the pacific with it being only 3 days. A lot happened in the 3 days this battle lasted . When talking about the battle in the Pacific many people don’t understand just how vital this was to the war effort in a whole. The Pacific is a vital naval asset to the war and whomever ran the Pacific basically had control of the war in the Pacific and so on. While out in the water in the ocean and any moment you could have Kamikaze attacks or a enemy submarine shoot torpedoes and there’s nothing in this time frame you can do but be prepared and try to fight them off.

The war in the Pacific has always intrigued me due to the fighting style of both sides and how they took on the war. The Japanese were more guerilla while the Americans were like patrols and vehicle like Gentlemen’s Army proper. The best way to describe the war in the Pacific from an American view that I can think of is terrifying. Every day you just walk in the jungle or a ruined city and any moment all hell break loose and half your patrol is wiped out and you have nothing but the gear you’re carrying to protect yourself. Many kids my age (18) would not have the capacity mentally to do the things these men did, including me I personally do not know what I would do in some of the situations these men went through. This fighting style could tie back into the Revolutionary War and how that fighting style has just proven to be effective against the opposing force. For example guerilla warfare is one of the most effective ways to fight an army whom sticks to rules of war. While many never thought of tying in the two wars it actually is very similar just flipped roles, the US forces were the gentlemen’s army and the Japanese were the guerilla warriors.

The pacific strategy for both sides was very coordinated and more thorough then many people will ever comprehend. Think about it there are roughly couple thousand miles in between our mainland and Japan, this is very unfortunate and is a huge part that many historians mention. There were many scares on the west coast of the US and how the coast was just so on edge and everyone was waiting for the west coast to become like England and be bombed nightly by the Japanese bombers. One scare was the Battle of Los Angeles, this was just an event to be cause by the tense feeling of the US and the attacks from the Japanese.

In the frantic weeks that followed the Pearl Harbor attack, many Americans believed that enemy raids on the continental United States were imminent. On December 9, 1941, unsubstantiated reports of approaching aircraft had caused a minor invasion panic in New York City and sent stock prices tumbling. On the West Coast, inexperienced pilots and radar men had mistaken fishing boats, logs and even whales for Japanese warships and submarines. Tensions were high, and they only grew after U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson warned that American cities should be prepared to accept occasional blows from enemy forces.. This statement from this source just shows how on edge the coast was and the fact that the US actually was scared at one point of being attacked shows that even the superpowers have the constant fear of being attacked and knocked down. Which our country was knocked down for that day and night, but we stood up and took up for ourselves. One point of this war after the attack was solely based on just scare tactics and the coast and to believe that the city of Los Angeles was son edge and the fact they basically unleashed hell on the sky in the middle of the night just shows how seriously but almost to quickly we acted on that scare.

The Amphibious landing on the islands of Japan were brutal, they were basically mimicking the storming of the Eastern front. They had special landing crafts for the islands and the sandy beaches, for six months the US forces fought to keep the islands. You may think six months is short compared to the whole war but six months fighting just for islands in the Pacific took its toll on the US forces. Many men will get dehydrated from the high humidity and heat, and become very weathered down might I say from all the moving and basically living off rations which is not substantial long term. These Islands were a huge deal for the Naval fighter pilots whom would use the islands for air bases to refuel and have a halfway marker from main island of Japan. This also introduced the terms of Tunnel Rats men who would crawl into tiny holes the Japanese used to maneuver through the dense jungle. The fighting conditions down there were unforgiven and many men would fall victim to them tunnels. Also there was a ne term called Island hopping introduced to where Allies would skip over heavily defended islands for the lightly defended islands to make it easier for the invading forces. This is a smart but also kind of bad idea because then you’re basically just putting opposing forts close together and waiting for one to attack the other. And with how quickly both sides could attack it was only a matter of days before either force would unleash hell on the other.

On the finally of the war in the Pacific there was a top-secret mission to create a super bomb. This would start a controversial topic in the US history of war and death of civilians. The Manhattan Project was kept secret from the general public for a reason, there is a elite group of scientist creating a bomb that will wipe out thousands of civilians and cause lifetime defects of people and possibly affect their kids. The two scientist who basically warned the US was Einstein and Enrico Fermi both whom fled Nazi persecution and felt that the Allies needed to know that the Axis powers had technology that in thir hands will definitely win the war for them. This information caused the US to begin the Manhattan Project, this was an 100 ton bomb with nuclear technology that will basically denigrate humans and anything that has flesh. The first nuclear bomb was set off in May 1945 at the Trinity Site. There was an estimated 2 billion dollars spent on this project and in that time period that is just a huge amount of money and to think of how many of these bombs they actually made will never be known and where they are kept is a scary thought. The project though did employ 120,000 Americans, and this was a huge boost in the economy in that area and helped out the American dream. The main scientist behind the bomb was Robert Oppenheimer and he was just brilliant minded and for just one man to be the head of so much destruction is just crazy to think he created a bomb that will easily wipe out a whole city in the matter of minutes.

A few months later the biggest decision in the US military command at this time would be made, and the decision would be to drop the atomic bomb in two crucial points in the mainland of Japan. In the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these were two major cities that when dropped the bombs would obliterate the city and their occupants. Humanely this will make you question if this was the right choice because innocent kids were killed and innocent men and women. I’m sure there were people opposed to the war were killed over there and for many years people who lived the bomb would suffer from radiation poisoning and become very sick and many would end up getting to much radiations and begin having cancer and it was so bad they would die very quickly from the bomb. Imagine 100 tons of nuclear energy coming from a plane thousands of feet in the sky they are firing like crazy into the sky to shoot down the US plane but all the sudden you see the mushroom cloud and the extreme wind pressure heading your way destroying everything in its path and you’re right in its way. In future years this topic will become a huge discussion in a lot of humane discussions. And many will agree that they think it was a wrong decision humanely, but that to finish the war that it was necessary, personally I see where both sides come from and I just have a hard time choosing a side and wish there were more options to go off of and to ask everyone who chose the decision why they chose it and just all the facts and stuff to fully understand.

During the end of the war both sides were ready for the war to be over. The Axis powers still have not found out the full nuclear energy for an atomic bomb figured out but the Allies have, and they implemented the bomb in the end of the war. They had the Enola Gay an US bomber who carried the Atomic bomb to bomb the two cities and the bomber was named after the pilots mother. This would be the deciding factor in the ending of the war and ended up causing the Japanese to surrender in the war. This was due to the bombs being dropped and the massive casualty rate of the bomb dropping. Many people believe the Bombs were inhumane but that’s their decision and for the men who chose to drop the bombs are the one whom have to live with it, but they will always know they had the right intentions in mind of stopping the war. The war was just so prolonged and especially being so considerably close to WW1 The Great War many people just wanted the wars to stop, and the world have somewhat peace which is reasonable. There is no doubt in my mind the men who made the decision to drop the bomb had the best in mind knowing what would be caused and the casualty rate. The atomic bombs may seem like they are completely off topic from the war in the pacific and the attack on Pearl Harbor but there is a simple connection.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a small large scale attack, and strategic attack from the Japanese to cripple the US. But the attack just united the American people to group together all ages and all sexes and races to come as one and just basically unleash a large can of American Whoop ass. Sorry for the profanity but that is the best way I can put it and to say we didn’t do all we could for the war would be an understatement. All groups of people were helping from women going to work in factories or kids collectings cans from the streets to recycle for bullets and just anything that could be used. Also the fact they sacrificed food for the military shows the true effort and support the US had for the war and just to know people use ration books to keep track to make sure they didn’t consume to much food is wild because now a days we would never think of rationing food to help out our military because were so used to have a large amount of extra food and just goods to support us daily. On average I spend 200 dollars on groceries a month and some will last me for months and some for days, and to think they had only a set amount to live off of is hard for me to imagine. I got off track from the similar attributes of the attack on Pearl Harbor and how it was a major point in WW2, the attack just had so many effects on the military and the US. From the battle of Los Angeles and the coast worried they would be bombed nightly. To the strategic planning of the two militaries and the importance’s of the Islands and how the US would use island hopping and avoid the heavily defended islands. To Einstein and Fermi giving vital information about the Axis powers working on the nuclear bomb and Oppenheimer creating the first nuclear bomb and how that would be a turning point in just world history. The affect of the attack on Pearl Harbor will have a lasting impression on history of the world and the way the world works forever, and no one will ever think of it because of the little wrinkles in the timeline that just basically cover up the fact of where they all began, on that what was seemed to be a peaceful Sunday morning, but turned into one of the deadliest attacks from a foreign military in US military history.

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