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What Provoked the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor?


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    Question: What Lead Japan to Attack on Pearl Harbor?

    Answer: Between the years of 1936 and 1941, tension grew between the United States and Japan over Japan's growing imperialistic views. The major conflict between the two arose when the US stationed ships at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to help defend the Philippines in the event of a Japanese attack. The US cast the final spell on Japan by withdrawing from all international trade of war materials, oil, and rubber with Japan. With plans in the works for an attack on all of southeast Asia, Japan saw the US Navy's Pacific Fleet as the only obstacle blocking their path. Instead of changing their imperial views, Japan decided to attack the US. Secretly, the Japanese fleet left their home and sailed towards Hawaii. The fleet consisted of 32 Warships, six of them Aircraft Carriers holding 432 planes heading northwest of Hawaii. About 30 Submarines and 5 midget subs left the following day heading on a course to land southeast of Hawaii. Since Japan lies far from the continental US, much of the American population forgot about Hawaii and Naval Base Pearl Harbor, lying on the western coast of the archipelago, facing Japan and the incoming ships. The United States got it's final hint of war on December 5th, 1941 when the Chinese Parliament ordered their diplomats to cancel peace-talks in Washington. US officials took the hint far too lightly. The US was all but prepared for an attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 when the Japanese Navy's bombs and kamikaze planes began dropping on the naval station. Japan's well-planned surprise attack worked precisely.

   Japan had been planning this attack for over a year, since June 1940. While in the developmental phases, Japan masked its plans by attending endless peace-talks in Washington. At these talks, the Japanese diplomats showed few signs of war until the day they bluntly backed out of the talks altogether. Through all the turmoil in Europe, the United States overlooked this great hint of war. Why else would Japanese officials leave the United States but for safety following the attack? Why would they leave peace talks if they really wanted to end the conflict? all these questions should have been asked back then, but were not. Most likely, the US was so caught up in the talks and what was happening overseas, they didn't even think twice about the event. If they had, the attack could have been prevented or made much less severe. There were many warning signs of this attack, Japanese ships had left their port heading towards the US, overhead photos showed this. Why then, didn't the US make an attempt to stop them? Such an attempt would have saved thousands of American lives.

    From the growing conflicts in Europe at the time, and the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was dragged into World War II, a war in which they had once pledged to remain neutral. The US declares war on Japan and eventually defeats them by dropping the Atomic Bomb on two of Japan's major industrial cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thus ending the war in Japan. The US later declared war on Germany and through the battle of Normandy, US soldiers invaded France and forced the German army to retreat. There was celebration in the streets from Europe to America. The US became involved simply because of their policy of neutrality and they came out as victors in every sense of the word and every sense of the war.