On December 7, 1941, 361 planes launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers and delivered a surprise attack on the American naval base and airfields at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?). Pearl Harbor is a very important event in American History and changed history. The attack made sure that the United States would enter WWII with the Allies against Japan. After the fatal attack on December 7 1941, Americans did everything in their power to save their country and the wounded soldiers on the boats. Multiple hours later, Japan declares war on the United States of America. In fact, about half of the population was from Japan in the United States. Even though, Japanese leaders understood the risks and hazards of attacking the naval base at Pearl Harbor they still did it. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor due to increased need of goods, the new order, and the pacific expansion.
To start with, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on behalf of the increased needs for goods. Japan had imports of goods coming in from the United States. Japan depended on the U.S. for oil, steel, and scrap iron. In fact, about 80% of Japan’s oil came from the United States. Japan especially wanted the oil in order to fuel their boats and planes. According to Document D, Japan had few oil reserves and produced very little of its own oil (Chart). This establishes the fact that Japan relied upon the United States for their trade and goods. The oil that Japan received from different countries were about 10,000 tons of petroleum. The United States was 80% of that from the late 1930’s. According to the timeline by Akira Iriye, The United States freezes all Japanese assets and bank accounts (Document C). President Franklin Roosevelt discontinued trade and didn’t allow Japan to get money from them. The government embargoed the goods so it wouldn’t go in or out of the country. Japan clearly did not admire this because they wanted to dominate the world and fuel their planes or boats to attack the countries that surround them; for example China. All in all, Japan had an increased need for goods but due to the United States embargoing they were frustrated and attacked Pearl Harbor.
Moreover, Japan may have also attacked Pearl Harbor because of the New Order. Japan wanted to dominate and rule all or most of the world. The old order is referred to as the rules that are established now are crumbling. Also, Western nations controlled most of the world and had a system of colonization and trade. According to The Way of the Subjects, An old order (European and American) is now crumbling (Document A). England, France, and the United States had controlled the old order. Japan was attempting to make a new order to rule everyone in the world. Japan can be compared to a fountain where Manchuria is the land that will provide water and be ruled by Japan and China or East Asia will be the land irrigated. This proof in fact hints to us that Japan wanted to make a new order just so they can dominate the world and everyone will be under their control. The United States did not want to be controlled by another country so they did not approve of the new order. In the end, Japan may have attacked Pearl Harbor because they knew the United States did not approve of their new order.
Furthermore, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor due to the Pacific expansion. In 1932, Manchuria was declared as a puppet state or a country that is controlled by another country.Japan also were seeking to expand their empire in order to obtain oil from other countries fields. If Japan were interested in seizing oil fields they would invade the Netherlands. According to Hideki Tojo, We can expect an expansion of our country only by stationing troops (Document E). By stationing troops in other countries to attack they could expand their force. This deemed to be a problem to the United States because they were expanding their forces to Pacific. President Roosevelt moved the fleet from California to Pearl Harbor. This also posed as a problem to Japan because they also wanted to expand in the Pacific. America also had interest in taking over the Philippines. Japan did not enjoy this because they want to easily strike and take control to rule the world. In conclusion, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor because of the Pacific Expansion.
Finally, the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor by Japan due to the increased and frozen need for goods, the new order for Japan to dominate the world, and the Pacific expanding. Although there were reasons for the attack their goals were not completed. The attack did not allow Japan to expand into the Pacific. The attack did not result in more goods or resources. Finally, the new order was not enabled and didn’t allow Japan to control the countries around them. What would occur in History if the attack on Pearl Harbor didn’t take place?
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