ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the American fleet at the Hawaii naval base of Pearl Harbor. Desiring to be isolated from World War II, the attack forced the United States into the fighting of World War II that lasted until 1945 and cost millions of lives.
Pearl Harbor is on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and it had great strategic importance for the United States in the Pacific Ocean. The Americans were the only challenge to the expansion of Japan in the Pacific, and Pearl Harbor was the home of the American fleet of battleships. Halfway between the United States and Japan, Pearl Harbor was a great place for the Americans to lead a potential war effort against Japan.
In order to limit the American strength in the Pacific, the Japanese Navy initiated an attack on the base on the morning of December 7th, 1941. Using planes based on new aircraft carriers and torpedoes, Japanese planes launched a surprise attack. America lost over 20 ships, such as battleships, cruisers, and destroyers and nearly 300 planes were destroyed. Almost 2,400 Americans died in the attack. The greatest loss was the sinking of the battleship, USS Arizona where over 1,100 sailors died.
While the attack was a surprise, it was intended to knock the United States out of World War II. Instead, the attack created a resolve in the United States for victory as war was declared on December 8th, 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt bringing the Americans into the conflict against Japan and its ally, Germany. A new kind of war was fought in the Pacific Theater as the age of the battleship ended, and modern naval power was embodied in the aircraft carrier. The American fleet of aircraft carriers were not destroyed in the December 7th attack as they had been out of Pearl Harbor on a training mission. Eventually, the American resolve and tremendous sacrifice led to Allied victory in 1945 with the dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in August.
Today, the attack on Pearl Harbor is remembered for being the event that brought the United States into the fighting of World War II. American soldiers would go on to play a major role in both the European Theater and the Pacific.