pearlharbor4.jpgThe attack on Pearl Harbor
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US had placed an embargo on Japan in September 1940 because of their taking over of French Indochina. This embargo prohibited the export of steel, scarp iron, and aviation fuel to Japan. While taking more of Southeast Asia, the Japanese signed a neutrality agreement with the Soviet Union in April to prevent them from attacking if they went to war with Britain or the US. In June, the US, Britain, and the Netherlands froze Japans assets so that they wouldn't be able to buy oil, thus crippling it's army and rendering it's navy and airforce ineffective. Towards the end of 1941, Japan tried to take the oil resources of Southeast Asia. Although the US wanted to stop the Japanese expansion, they were not willing to go to war to do so. General Tojo Hideki of Japan had set November 29 as the last day that they would take a settlement without war. The Japanese military had devised a war plan that included taking Burma, Malaya, the East Indies, and the Philippines, as well as to establish a perimeter in the central and southwest pacific. The had anticipated that the US would declare war, but that they would not fight long or hard enough to win. Their main concern was the US Pacific Fleet based in Pearl Harbor, and thus they set up a surprise attack.

pearlharbor5.jpgBombing of Pearl Harbor
The attack was on December 7, 1941. It was a Sunday morning. The first wave of airplanes struck Pearl Harbor in Hawaii a few minutes before 8 AM. The two waves of attacks altogether lasted for two hours. Over 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded. Eighteen ships were sank or badly damaged, and over 350 aircraft were severely damaged or destroyed. After the attack, the United States declared war on Japan on December 8, ready to fight and win the battle.

Video on the attack on Pearl Harbor: