What were the Causes and Effects of Pearl Harbor?

The attack on Pearl Harbor happened on December 7, 1941, when the president of the United States, President Roosevelt decided to move the U.S navy fleet to Hawaii from California as a move to threaten Japan. The reason why Japan was trying to expand over the Pacific ocean was since they lacked natural resources like oil, minerals and steel.

The United States, noticing Japan’s aggression, decided to move further west towards the Pacific Ocean, cutting off all businesses between the US and Japan leaving their assets frozen in place. With Japan deciding how to address this problem, still isolated from the United States, they believed that a war was inevitable, so they decided to attack first. Even though Japan managed to take the lives of many Americans and destroy many ships and airplanes the attack was still deemed as a failure. The reason that it was considered a failed attack is because there was no benefit from the attack. Japan was not able to expand further through the Pacific ocean, and they did not get any more resources that they were desperate for and they still did not have any communication with the United States.

There are deeper reasons as to why the attack happened and how all the technicalities worked. For many years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan was invading many countries in order to try expand. The first issue with Japan’s neighbors came when Japan invaded China in 1895 and when they invaded Russia in 1904. The second war between China and Japan began in 1937 due to the incident at the Marco Polo Bridge where there was a battle between China’s Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army. That is what ended up sparking the conflict and drawing a red flag for everyone else who was watching Japan’s actions. In 1933, Japan decided on withdrawing from the league of nations due to being condemned by other countries for wanting to expand their country. Since there was much war going on at this time in the world, Japan used the war going on in Europe with Hitler as a diversion plan to avoid the attention as they continued to expand and dominate the far east side. The United States was a neutral power for most of the war, and they decided they were going to stay that way unless Japan decided to attack the Philippines. They were supplying their allies with supplies, needed to survive the war at first, until they felt the threat getting closer and more pointed towards them which is when they started to prepare for war. The negotiations between the United States and Japan started in 1941 in order to try and improve relations between the countries. After discussing alternate options, Japan decided to withdraw from most of China and Indochina after coming to peace terms with the Chinese. After multiple meeting and negotiations between the United States and Japan could not agree due to a few reasons. Japan was an ally of Germany and Fascist Italy at the time of these negotiations. They were also still trying to gain control of southeast Asia at the time. Japan was trying to do as much as possible to gain power as quick as they could before getting into any more trouble.

Japan’s plan for attack consisted of breaking off the peace treaty and all the negotiations that they had with the United States thirty minutes before they decided to attack. People who were in office in Japan sent a long 14 page encrypted message to Washington which takes a while to deliver due to the fact that they must take apart the message and decode it since it was encrypted. This is a key example of the lack of communication between the two countries because they knew that the message would take too long to deliver and before they were evenableto review the message Japan already started their attack on The United States. This is when people who were in relations with the United States claimed that Japan was lying due to the fact that when the message was decrypted it was filled with a ton of lies. Later though after the war Japan admitted to not even making a Declaration of war until they already heard that the attack on The United States was successful. After the attack on America the Prime Minister of Japan realized that after about two years they would be running out of oil and they needed to find a new source so they tried to have discussions with America about oil but President Roosevelt replied that they must evade from China before even having any relations with them. Japan realized that they did not have much of a chance winning a war against The United States due to how unsuccessful they were when invading China. Even though they did not want to go to war with The United States they argued that not doing anything could affect them the same way losing a war would and it would disappoint everyone in their country. Japan decides to start creating a war plan to take action against the United States. They brought up the ideas in a conference November 3rd, 1941 and the plan was approved just a few days after on November 5th. If they were able to get legal documentation on their plan of attack they were aiming to attack around december which was about one more after they created their war plans. Following the weeks after they decided to attack they offered The United States one more chance to to give them aid but The United States rejected their offer and even countered it by demanding along with leaving from Indochina they would also have to leave China, followed by a request to agree to an open door policy in the far east. War against the United States was official as of December first where shortly after they all gathered again to discuss the surprise attack on the United States Pacific fleet which was located at the main base in Hawaii. In preparation for their attack Japan decided to start intelligence gathering which consisted of them putting spies in Hawaii and receiving help from some of their allies which lived in Hawaii to gather information the United States military. They were able to gain a lot of information about the harbor from a specific spy named Tadashi Morimura. He posed as a tourist in Hawaii and would frequently visit the harbor and gather information such as how many ships were docked, how many guards, soldiers, Hangars and barracks. He was also able to get a very detailed sketch of the Harbor and figured out the days when the most ships were docked at the harbor. He delivered the information back to Japan with yet again another encrypted message. Japan had a really in depth plan about what they were going to do about the United States Navy. They thought about how many ships, the distance Hawaii is from the mainland of the United States, and the perfect time to attack. Japan’s arsenal for attack was very strong at the time. It consisted of 359 airplanes, two fast battleships, two heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, nine destroyers, and three fleet submarines.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor happened both countries knew that they would be going to war. The lack of communication between the two blew the whole situation out of proportion causing them to never be able to come to an agreement and they ended up having to go to war. Japan was in search for another source of supplies that they never ended up getting from the United States. The United States were just trying to protect their allies which led them to having to fight Japan. This is why communication is so important, if only they were able to find a solution by communicating then we would have never had gone to war with them and lost so many lives.

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What were the causes and effects of Pearl Harbor?. (2019, Jun 17). Retrieved October 19, 2021 , from

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