Sunday, December 9, 2007

pearl harbor attack photo

Pearl Harbor Attack

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a preventive attack on the United States Pacific Fleet base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Empire of Japan's Imperial Japanese Navy, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 that made the United States enter World War II. Two aerial attack waves, totalling 350 aircraft, were launched from six aircraft carriers with the intent to destroy the United States Pacific Fleet.

The attack wrecked two U.S. Navy battleships, one minelayer, and two destroyers beyond repair, and destroyed 188 aircraft; personnel losses were 2,388 killed and 1,178 wounded. Damaged warships included three cruisers, a destroyer, and six battleships (one deliberately grounded, later refloated and repaired; two sunk at their berths, later raised, repaired, and restored to Fleet service late in the war). Vital fuel storage, shipyards, and submarine facilities were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal, at 29 aircraft and five midget submarines, with 65 servicemen killed or wounded.

The intent of the strike was to protect Imperial Japan's advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies – for their natural resources such as oil and rubber – by neutralizing the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Both the U.S. and Japan had long-standing contingency plans for war in the Pacific, continuously updated as tension between the two countries steadily increased during the 1930s. Japan's expansion into Manchuria and French Indochina were greeted with steadily increasing levels of embargoes and sanctions by the United States and others. In 1940, under the Export Control Act, the U.S. halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gas, which Japan saw as an unfriendly act.[4] Nevertheless, the U.S. continued to export oil to Japan, in part because it was understood in Washington cutting off oil exports would be an extreme step, given Japanese dependence on U.S. oil exports,[5][6] likely to be taken as a provocation by Japan. In the summer of 1941, after Japanese expansion into French Indochina, the U.S. ceased oil exports to Japan, in part because American restrictions on internal oil use were beginning.[7] President Franklin D. Roosevelt had earlier moved the Pacific Fleet to Hawaii and ordered a buildup in the Philippines, hoping to deter Japanese aggression in the Far East. The Japanese high command was (mistakenly) certain an attack on the United Kingdom's colonies would bring the U.S. into the war,[8] so a preventive strike appeared to be the only way[8] Japan could avoid U.S. interference in the Pacific.[9]

The attack was one of the most important engagements of World War II. Occurring as it did before a formal declaration of war, it pushed U.S. public opinion from isolationism to an acceptance war was unavoidable, as Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 "… a date which will live in infamy."