Pearl Harbor: A Day that Will Live in InfamyDaniel Etheridge JuniorHistorical PaperPaper Length: 1725World War 2 was the bloodiest war in history, with over 70 million casualties. The war began by the unprovoked German invasion of Poland in 1939 and lasted until 1945. During the course of the war 61 countries around the world and 1.7 billion people found themselves aligned to either Axis or Allied powers. The United States joined the war as an Allied strength after the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941. The addition of the US forces fortified the existing weakened Allied forces helping turn the tide of the war.The war was started when Adolf Hitler order the invasion of Poland unprovoked. His goal was to provide more “living space” for the German people as well as build Germany’s honor and power after their defeat in World War 1, Britain and France stood up in retaliation of this attack. The war was divided into two sides; the Axis powers, these countries who sided with Germany and the Third Reich and the Allied powers. The major Axis powers consisted of Germany, Italy, Japan, and The Soviet Union. The Soviet Union later switched to the Allied powers after Germany executed Operation Barbarossa, and invaded Russia. The Allied powers consisted of countries who were against German totalitarianism. Those countries were Great Britain, France, and Poland, they were the original Allied powers that assembled after the Nazi’s invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. They were later joined by United States and the Soviet Union. The United States did not enter the war until December 8, 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the early stages of World War 2, the United States had no intentions of joining the fight, because of the United States were still recovering from World War 1 and did not have the resources (weapons, ammunitions, soldiers) and the public’s support. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was trying to keep the United States out of the war, but when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States had no choice but to join the war. By entering the war, the United States gave more troops and supplies to the weakened Allied powers. The United States had a strong navy, and provided more soldiers (they had 16 million soldiers who fought over the span of World War 2). They also gave hope for the Allied powers, by having the second strongest naval fleets at the time, and lots of soldiers the battered Allied soldiers were given a bit of hope and confidence . So as a result of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor the United States were forced to enter the war, and pledged their allegiance to the Allied powers, giving supplies and making a turning in point in the war for the Allied powers. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because Japan wanted to could continue its conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaysia, and by attacking Pearl Harbor and destroying most of the Pacific fleet would enabled Japan to conquer Southeast Asia without interference. The Pacific Fleet being one of the largest naval fleets in the world, and it could also attack Japan because the Pacific Fleet was close to Japan (closer than the United Kingdom’s navy whose was the strongest navy in the world, in order to reach Japan from Great Britain by ship would be almost 2 time farther than Pearl Harbor to Japan). The Pacific Fleet could easily ruin Japan’s plans of conquering more land, and the idea of making the Pearl Harbor a target for an attack was not a new idea for the japanese because as early as 1927 war games at the Japanese Navy War College were played, which included a carrier raid against Pearl Harbor (Stille 1). That shows that the Japanese were planning or had almost 15 years that they could have come up with a plan to attack Pearl Harbor giving them an advantage over the Americans. In conclusion, Japan knew that crippling the base in Hawaii meant easy conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaysia. During the planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor no one was allowed to know of the plan’s, it was done in complete secrecy and no one knew, not even the pilots knew about the plans until the morning of the attack. The plans were drawn up by Commander Yamamoto, the genius Commander of the First Fleet (the Empire of Japan’s fleet), and commander in chief of the Combined Fleet ( a temporary force formed for the duration of a conflict). Though he was not the first person to think about bombing Pearl Harbor, the strategy he thought of was brilliant, and his plan was executed perfectly. His plan included having aircraft carriers placed about 220 miles off the coast of Pearl Harbor, close enough to get their planes there, it also allowed the Japanese to be quick and swift in their attacks. ” The U.S. forces finally caught up with Yamamoto, though, when they ambushed his plane and shot him down over Bougainville Island in 1943. Yamamoto died having been right about two things: the effectiveness of aircraft carriers in long-range naval attacks and that Japan would lose a drawn-out struggle with the United States” (, 1). It was also more fuel efficient. The Enola Gay was the plane that dropped the atomic bomb, Little Boy on Hiroshima, The Enola Gay was launched from a small Island near the Philippines called Tinian. Tinian is about 1533 miles away from Tokyo, Japan, the Enola Gay was 15,000 pounds over the usual takeoff weight and the little boy weighting 9000 pounds of those 15,000 pounds. And it barely made it to Hiroshima and back to Tinian, where as the japanese had their aircraft carriers placed around 220 miles away from Pearl Harbor. This saves so much fuel instead of having to fly almost 4,200 miles from Japan to Pearl Harbor, it would still be a lot of fuel to have all of the aircrafts go to pearl harbor attack and then come back, also to make the voyage that close to Hawaii was around 4000 miles and most of the ocopianing destroyers were burning lots of fuel making them refuel at sea. So instead of having to put much more fuel into planes and hoping that they could reach Pearl Harbor, bomb it and make it all the way back to Japan without running out of fuel (which was very likely) and crashing into the ocean. But by using aircraft carriers and destroyers they used lots of fuel but had little to no casualties during the attack. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, most of the Pacific fleet had either capsized, or sunk. A total of 2,403 people were killed, the total number of military personnel killed was 2,335, 68 civilians were killed, making the total 2403 people dead. 1,177 were from the USS Arizona.( Pearl Harbor visitors bureau, 1). Then on December 8, 1941 the day after the bombing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his famous Infamy speech, (FDR’s Infamy speech), declaring war on Japan. The United States were forced into World War 2 giving the beaten and battered Allied powers some hope. By entering the war, the United States provided a strong navy. Most of the were from Pearl Harbor and were recommissioned and were sent back to battle. The real targets for the Japanese were the three aircraft carriers, USS Enterprise, USS Saratoga, and USS Lexington, but luckily they were not at Pearl Harbor during the attack they were out on sea maneuvers. On December 8, 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the United States 32nd president, gave his famous Infamy speech (FDR’s Infamy speech) officially sending the United States into war against Germany and the other Axis powers. By entering the war the United States had over 16 million soldiers fight over the span of World War 2, they also provided a strong naval force, with most of the ships in Pearl Harbor being lifted to the surface and recommissioned back into the war. They also had the the three aircraft carriers, USS Enterprise, USS Saratoga, USS Lexington. The USS Enterprise, USS Saratoga, and the USS Lexington were not in Pearl Harbor at the time of the bombing so they were unscaved and were ready to go straight into battle. They had the second strongest navy in the world during the war, with an estimated 450 ships that were sent to battle over the span of World War 2, only the United Kingdom had more they had more than two times the number of ships the United States had. They had an estimated 1,065 ships over the span of the war.  After the United States entered the war the Allied powers seemed to be winning a lot more battles, like the Battle of Aachen, and Operation Vulcan just to name a few. As soon as the United States entered the war more battles were won by the Allied powers showing that the United States had a positive impact on the war effort for the Allied powers, and helped win multiple battles throughout World War 2. Showing that the United States soldiers and naval force were important during the war. By American involvement, the Allied powers were able to carry out the war and win. But If the Japanese had not bombed pearl harbor, then maybe the United States would not have entered the war. By not entering the war history would have shaped out differently and we cannot know for sure what would have happened, but what would a world ruled by Germany, Italy, and Japan be like? As a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States entered WW2. Playing a key role in many battles including the Battle of Normandy, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of Aachen, and Operation Vulcan. And if the United States had not been a part of those battles then thousands of additional lives could have been lost, and giving the Axis powers a victory and maybe even a advantage in the war, allowing them top possibly win World War 2. This leads many to believe that because of the United States entering the war, caused a turning point in the war for the Allied powers, and it tipped the scale in favor of the Allied forces giving them an advantage during the remainder of the war. Works Cited Primary sources: Day of Infamy., Herbert. Road to Pearl Harbor: The Coming of the War Between the United States and Japan. First Person Paperback Printing, 1971. Google scholar, Surviving Crew Members of the USS Arizona.”Japan Wars on US and Britain; Makes Sudden Attack on Hawaii; Heavy Fighting at     Sea Reported.” New York Times,     big/1207.html#article. Secondary sources:Hoyt, Edwin Palmer. Pearl Harbor Attack. New York, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, 1991. Japan and the Road to War.”Japan Wars on US and Britain; Makes Sudden Attack on Hawaii; Heavy Fighting at Sea Reported.” New York Times,”Pearl Harbor Visitors and Bureau.” Pearl Harbor Visitors and Bureau, 2017, Accessed 22 Oct. 2017. Pearl Harbor Vistors Bureau., Mark E. TORA! TORA! TORA! Osprey Publishing, 2011. Yamamoto and the Planning for Pearl Harbor. Day in History. This Day in History.


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