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The results of the attack on Pearl Harbor are many and significant.

American response[edit | edit source]

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Japan on the day following the attack

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and hastened the entry of the United States into World War II on the side of the Allies.

The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of United States Congress. Roosevelt called December 7 "a date which will live in infamy". Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan amid outrage at the attack and the late delivery of the note from the Japanese government breaking off relations with the U.S. government, actions considered treacherous. Pacifist Representative Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, cast the only dissenting vote. Roosevelt signed the declaration of war later the same day. Continuing to intensify its military mobilization, the U.S. government finished converting to a war economy, a process begun by provision of weapons and supplies to the Soviet Union and Great Britain.

The Pearl Harbor attack immediately galvanized a divided nation into action. Public opinion had been moving towards support for entering the war during 1941, but considerable opposition remained until the attack. Overnight, Americans united against Japan in response to calls to "Remember Pearl Harbor." American solidarity in the war effort probably made possible the unconditional surrender position later taken by the Allied Powers.[citation needed] Some historians, among them Samuel Eliot Morison, believe the attack doomed Japan to defeat simply because it awakened the "sleeping giant", regardless of whether the fuel depots or machine shops had been destroyed or even if the carriers had been caught in port and sunk. U.S. industrial and military capacity, once mobilized, was able to pour overwhelming resources into both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. Others, such as Clay Blair, Jr.,[1] and Mark Parillo[2] believe Japanese trade protection was so incompetent that American submarines alone might have strangled Japan into defeat.

The closest friend Roosevelt had in the developing Allied alliance, Sir Winston Churchill, stated that his first thought regarding American assistance to the United Kingdom was that "We have won the war"[3] very soon after the United States had been attacked.

Perceptions of treachery in the attack before a declaration of war sparked fears of sabotage or espionage by Japanese sympathizers residing in the U.S., including citizens of Japanese descent and was a factor in the subsequent Japanese internment in the western United States. Other factors included misrepresentations of intelligence information (none) suggesting sabotage, notably by General John DeWitt, commanding general of Western Defense Command on the Pacific Coast, who had personal feelings against Japanese Americans.[4] In February 1942, Roosevelt signed United States Executive Order 9066, requiring all Japanese Americans to submit themselves for an internment.

Propaganda made repeated use of the attack, because its effect was enormous and impossible to counter.[5] "Remember Pearl Harbor!" became the watchwords of the war.[6]

The American government understated the damage inflicted, in hopes of preventing the Japanese from learning it, but the Japanese had, through surveillance, a good estimate.[7]

Japanese views[edit | edit source]

Japanese depiction of nine midget submarine crewmembers lost during the attack, excluding the POW, Kazuo Sakamaki.

On December 8, 1941, the Empire of Japan declared war on the United States and the British Empire. The belated Japanese document discussed world peace and the disruptive actions of the United States and Great Britain. The document claimed all avenues for averting war had been exhausted by the Government of Japan.

Although the Imperial Japanese government had made some effort to prepare their population for war via anti-U.S. propaganda, it appears most Japanese were surprised, apprehensive, and dismayed by the news they were now at war with the U.S., a country many Japanese admired. Nevertheless, the people at home and overseas thereafter generally accepted their government's account of the attack and supported the war effort until their nation's surrender in 1945.[8] Japan's national leadership at the time appeared to have believed war between the U.S. and Japan had long been inevitable. In any case, Japanese-American relationships had already significantly deteriorated since Japan's invasion of China beginning in the early 1930s, of which the United States strongly disapproved. In 1942, Saburō Kurusu, former Japanese ambassador to the United States, gave an address in which he talked about the "historical inevitability of the war of Greater East Asia."[9] He said war had been a response to Washington's longstanding aggression toward Japan. For example, provocations against Japan included the San Francisco School incident, (the United States' racist policies on Japanese immigrants), Naval Limitations Treaty, other Unequal treaties, the Nine Power Pact, constant economic pressure against Japan, culminating in the "belligerent" scrap metal and oil embargo in 1941 by the United States and Allied countries to contain and/or reverse the actions of the Empire of Japan especially in IndoChina during her expansion of influence and interests throughout Asia. In light of Japan's dependence on imported oil, the trade embargoes were especially significant. These pressures directly influenced Japan to go into alliance with Germany and Italy through the Tripartite Pact. According to Kurusu, because of these reasons, the Allies had already provoked war with Japan long before the attack at Pearl Harbor, and the United States was already preparing for war with Japan. Kurusu also states the United States was also looking for world domination, beyond just Asia, with "sinister designs".[9] Some of this view seems to have been shared by Adolf Hitler, when he called it one of the reasons Germany declared war on the United States. He also had mentioned European imperialism toward Japan many years before. Therefore, according to Kurusu, Japan had no choice but to defend herself and so should rapidly continue to militarize, bring Germany and Italy closer as allies and militarily combat the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands.

Japan's leaders also saw themselves as justified in their conduct, believing that they were building the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. They also explained Japan had done everything possible to alleviate tension between the two nations. The decision to attack, at least for public presentation, was reluctant and forced on Japan. Of the Pearl Harbor attack itself, Kurusu said it came in direct response to a virtual ultimatum from the U.S. government, the Hull note, and so the surprise attack was not treacherous. Since the Japanese-American relationship already had hit its lowest point, there was no alternative; in any case, had an acceptable settlement of differences been reached, the Carrier Striking Task Force could have been called back.

Germany and Italy declare war[edit | edit source]

Hitler declares war on the United States, 11 December 1941 from the Kroll Opera House's stage

On December 11, 1941, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States, and the United States reciprocated, formally entering the war in Europe.

German dictator Adolf Hitler and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini were under no obligation to declare war on the United States under the mutual defense terms of the Tripartite Pact. However, relations between the European Axis Powers and the United States had deteriorated since 1937. Earlier in 1941, the Germans learned of the U.S. military's contingency planning to get troops in Continental Europe by 1943; this was Rainbow Five, made public by sources unsympathetic to Roosevelt's New Deal, and published by the Chicago Tribune. Moreover, with Roosevelt's initiation of a Neutrality Patrol, which in fact also escorted British ships, as well as orders to U.S. Navy destroyers first to actively report U-boats, then "shoot on sight", American neutrality was honored more in the breach than observance.

Having been unaware of Japanese plans, Hitler was initially furious that the United States had been dragged into the war at a time when he had not yet acquired full control of continental Europe. Hitler, who had previously declared the Japanese "Honorary Aryans" claimed that this is what happens when your allies are not Anglo-Saxons.[10][citation needed] However, he decided war with the United States was unavoidable, and the Pearl Harbor attack, the publication of Rainbow Five, and Roosevelt's post-Pearl Harbor address, which focused on European affairs as well as the situation with Japan, probably contributed to the declaration. Hitler underestimated American military production capacity, the nation's ability to fight on two fronts, and the time his own Operation Barbarossa would require. Similarly, the Nazis may have hoped the declaration of war, a showing of solidarity with Japan, would result in closer collaboration with the Japanese in Eurasia, particularly against the Soviet Union. Regardless of Hitler's reasons, the decision was an enormous strategic blunder and allowed the United States to enter the European war in support of the United Kingdom and the Allies without much public opposition.

Author Ian Kershaw records Hitler's initial reaction to the attack, when he was first informed about it on the evening of 7 December at Führer Headquarters: "We can't lose the war at all. We now have an ally which has never been conquered in 3,000 years".[11] Well before the attack, in 1928 Hitler had confided in the text of his then-unpublished Zweites Buch that while the Soviet Union was the most important immediate foe that the Third Reich had to defeat, the United States was the most important long-term challenge to Nazi aims.[12] Hitler awarded Imperial Japanese ambassador to Nazi Germany Hiroshi Ōshima the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle in Gold (1st class) after the attack, praising Japan for striking hard and without first declaring war.[13]

Canadian response[edit | edit source]

As a result of the Japanese attack on the Americans, the Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada advised George VI, King of Canada, that a state of war should exist between Canada and Japan.

In the late evening of December 7, 1941, the Canadian Prime Minister, W. L. Mackenzie King, announced the Cabinet's decision to declare war on Japan. The King approved Canada's declaration of war in the following proclamation issued on December 8, 1941.

Whereas by and with the advice of our Privy Council for Canada we have signified our approval of the issue of a proclamation in the Canada Gazette declaring that a state of war with Japan exists and has existed in Canada as and from the 7th day of December 1941.

Now, therefore, we do hereby declare and proclaim that a state of war with Japan exists and has existed as and from the seventh day of December 1941. Of all which our loving subjects and all others whom these presents may concern are hereby required to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly.[14]

Canada remained focused on the European theatre however, and following VE Day was still in the process of transitioning its military force for a campaign in east Asia and the western Pacific when VJ Day arrived.

Investigations and blame[edit | edit source]

President Roosevelt appointed the Roberts Commission, headed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, to investigate and report facts and findings with respect to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the first of many official investigations (nine in all). Both the Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, and the Army commander, Lieutenant General Walter Short (the Army had been responsible for air defense of Hawaii, including Pearl Harbor, and for general defense of the islands against hostile attack), were relieved of their commands shortly thereafter. They were accused of "dereliction of duty" by the Roberts Commission for not making reasonable defensive preparations. None of the investigations conducted during the War, nor the Congressional investigation afterward, provided enough reason to reverse those actions. The decisions of the Navy and War Departments to relieve both was controversial at the time and has remained so. However, neither was court-martialed as would normally have been the result of dereliction of duty. On May 25, 1999, the U.S. Senate voted to recommend both officers be exonerated on all charges, citing "denial to Hawaii commanders of vital intelligence available in Washington".

A Joint Congressional Committee was also appointed, on September 14, 1945, to investigate the causes of the attack and subsequent disaster, and was convened on November 15, 1945.[15]

Rise of anti-Japanese sentiment and historical significance[edit | edit source]

United States World War II propaganda poster depicting Adolf Hitler and Hideki Tōjō.

Damage to the headquarters building at Hickam, still visible.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor coupled with their alliance with the Nazis and the ensuing war in the Pacific fueled anti-Japanese sentiment, racism, xenophobia, and anti-Axis sentiment in the Allied nations. Japanese, Japanese-Americans and Asians having a similar physical appearance were regarded with deep seated suspicion, distrust and hostility. The attack was viewed as having been conducted in an extremely underhanded way and also as a very "treacherous" or "sneaky attack". Suspicions were further fueled by the Niihau Incident, as historian Gordon Prange stated "the rapidity with which the three resident Japanese went over to the pilot's cause" which troubled the Hawaiians. "The more pessimistic among them cited the Niʻihau incident as proof that no one could trust any Japanese, even if an American citizen, not to go over to Japan if it appeared expedient."[16]

The attack, the subsequent declarations of war, and fear of "Fifth Columnists" resulted in internment of Japanese, German, and Italian populations in the United States and others, for instance the Japanese American internment, German American internment, Italian American internment, and Japanese Canadian internment. The attack resulted in the United States fighting the Germans and Italians among others in Europe and Japan in the Pacific.

The consequences were world-changing. Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew that the survival of the British Empire depended on American aid, and since 1940 had begged Roosevelt to declare war. Churchill aide John Colville stated that the prime minister and American Ambassador John Gilbert Winant, who also supported the British, "sort of danced around the room together" as the United States would now enter the war, making a British victory likely.[17]:164–165 Churchill later wrote, "Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful."[18] By opening the Pacific War, which ended in the unconditional surrender of Japan, it broke the power of an Asian check on Soviet expansion. The Allied victory in this war and subsequent U.S. emergence as a dominant world power, eclipsing Britain, have shaped international politics ever since.

Pearl Harbor is generally regarded as an extraordinary event in American history, remembered as the first time since the War of 1812 America was attacked on its home soil by another country - with only the September 11 attacks almost 60 years later being of a similar catastrophic scale to Pearl Harbor. While this assertion is technically erroneous, as Hawaii was not a state at the time, it was widely regarded as such. It was the first decisive defeat for the United States in World War II. It has become synonymous with "surprise attack" ever since in the U.S. Unfortunately, the mistakes of intelligence collection, sharing, and analysis leading to the Japanese success at Pearl Harbor did not, in the end, lead to lessons.[19]

Perception of the attack today[edit | edit source]

Some Japanese today feel they were compelled to fight because of threats to their national interests and an embargo imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The most important embargo was on oil on which its Navy and much of the economy was dependent.[20] For example, the Japan Times, an English-language newspaper owned by one of the major news organizations in Japan (Asahi Shimbun), ran numerous columns in the early 2000s (decade) echoing Kurusu's comments in reference to the Pearl Harbor attack.[21] In putting the Pearl Harbor attack into context, Japanese writers repeatedly contrast the thousands of U.S. servicemen killed there with the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians killed in U.S. air attacks later in the War,[22] even without mentioning the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.

However, in spite of the perceived inevitability of the war by many Japanese, many also believe the Pearl Harbor attack, although a tactical victory, was actually part of a seriously flawed strategy for engaging in war with the U.S. As one columnist eulogizes, "The Pearl Harbor attack was a brilliant tactic, but part of a strategy based on the belief that a spirit as firm as iron and as beautiful as cherry blossoms could overcome the materially wealthy United States. That strategy was flawed, and Japan's total defeat would follow."[23] In 1991, the Japanese Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Japan had intended to make a formal declaration of war to the United States at 1 p.m. Washington time, 25 minutes before the attack at Pearl Harbor was scheduled to begin. This officially acknowledged something that had been publicly known for years. Diplomatic communications had been coordinated well in advance with the attack, but had failed delivery at the intended time. It appears the Japanese government was referring to the "14-part message", which did not actually break off negotiations, let alone declare war, but did officially raise the possibility of a break in relations. However, because of various delays, the Japanese ambassador was unable to deliver this message until well after the attack had begun.

Imperial Japanese military leaders appear to have had mixed feelings about the attack. Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was unhappy about the botched timing of the breaking off of negotiations. He is on record as having said, in the previous year, "I can run wild for six months ... after that, I have no expectation of success."[24] The reports of American reactions, terming it a "sneak attack" and "infamous behavior", confirmed that the effect on American morale had been the opposite of intended.[25]

The first Prime Minister of Japan during World War II, Hideki Tōjō later wrote, "When reflecting upon it today, that the Pearl Harbor attack should have succeeded in achieving surprise seems a blessing from Heaven."

Yamamoto had said, regarding the imminent war with the United States, "Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. We would have to march into Washington and sign the treaty in the White House. I wonder if our politicians (who speak so lightly of a Japanese-American war) have confidence as to the outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices?" [26]

Revisionism controversies[edit | edit source]

Some exhibits of Yasukuni Yusyukan have been criticised because of justification of Attack on Pearl Harbor

There are some revisionists in Japan who claim that the Attack on Pearl Harbor was a legitimate attack. These historical perspectives are often claimed by Japanese Shintoist and nationalists and have been criticized from both inside and outside of Japan.

Analysis[edit | edit source]

Posters like Allen Saalberg's strengthened American resolve against the Axis powers

Tactical implications[edit | edit source]

The attack was notable for its considerable destruction, as putting most of the U.S. battleships out of commission was regarded—in both navies and by most military observers worldwide—as a tremendous success for Japan. Influenced by the earlier Battle of Taranto, which pioneered the all-aircraft naval attack but resulted in far less damage and casualties, the Japanese struck against Pearl Harbor on a much larger scale than did the British at Taranto.[35] The attack was a great shock to all the Allies in the Pacific Theater, and it was initially believed Pearl Harbor changed the balance of power, similar to how Taranto did the Mediterranean, both in the attackers' favor. Three days later, with the sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse off the coast of Malaya, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill exclaimed, "In all the war I never received a more direct shock. As I turned and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American capital ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor who were hastening back to California. Over this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme and we everywhere were weak and naked."[36]

However, Pearl Harbor did not have as crippling an effect on American operations as initially thought. Unlike the close confines of the Mediterranean, the vast expanses of the Pacific limited the tactical value of battleships as a fleet in being. Furthermore, unlike new fast battleships such as the Iowa class, the slow battleships were incapable of operating with carrier task forces, so once repaired they were relegated to delivering pre-invasion bombardments during the island hopping offensive against Japanese-held islands. These Pearl Harbor veterans were later part of a force that defeated IJN battleships at the Battle of Surigao Strait, an engagement very lopsided in the USN's favor in any case.[37][38] A major flaw of Japanese strategic thinking was a belief that the ultimate Pacific battle would be between battleships of both sides, in keeping with the doctrine of Captain Alfred Mahan. Seeing the decimation of battleships at the hands of aircraft, Yamamoto (and his successors) hoarded his battleships for a "decisive battle" that never happened, only committing a handful to the forefront of the Battles of Midway and Guadalcanal.

One of the main Japanese objectives was to destroy the three American aircraft carriers stationed in the Pacific, but they were not present: Enterprise was returning from Wake, Lexington from Midway, and Saratoga was under refit at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Had Japan sunk the American carriers, the U.S. would have sustained significant damage to the Pacific Fleet's ability to conduct offensive operations for a year or so (given no further diversions from the Atlantic Fleet). As it was, the elimination of the battleships left the U.S. Navy with no choice but to place its faith in aircraft carriers and submarines—the very weapons with which the U.S. Navy halted and eventually reversed the Japanese advance.

Carrier Striking Task Force two-way route. Legend:

Battleships[edit | edit source]

Despite the perception of this battle as a devastating blow to America, only three ships were permanently lost to the U.S. Navy. These were the battleships Arizona, Oklahoma, and the old battleship Utah (then used as a target ship); nevertheless, much usable material was salvaged from them, including the two aft main turrets from Arizona. The majority of each battleship's crews survived; there were exceptions as heavy casualties resulted from Arizona's magazine exploding and the Oklahoma capsizing. Four ships sunk during the attack were later raised and returned to duty, including the battleships California, West Virginia and Nevada. California and West Virginia had an effective torpedo-defense system which held up remarkably well, despite the weight of fire they had to endure, resulting in most of their crews being saved. Maryland and Tennessee suffered relatively light damage, as did Pennsylvania, which was in drydock at the time.

Chester Nimitz said later, "It was God's mercy that our fleet was in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941." Nimitz believed if Kimmel had discovered the Japanese approach to Pearl Harbor, he would have sortied to meet them. With the American carriers absent and Kimmel's battleships at a severe disadvantage to the Japanese carriers, the likely result would have been the sinking of the American battleships at sea in deep water, where they would have been lost forever with tremendous casualties (up to twenty thousand dead), instead of in Pearl Harbor, where the crews could easily be rescued, and six battleships ultimately restored to duty.[39] This was also the reaction of Joseph Rochefort, head of HYPO, when he remarked the attack was cheap at the price.

Many of the surviving battleships were extensively refitted, including the replacement of their outdated secondary battery of anti-surface 5"/51 caliber guns with more useful turreted dual-purpose 5"/38 caliber guns, allowing them to better cope with the new tactical reality.[40] Addition of modern radar to the salvaged vessels would give them a marked qualitative advantage over those of the IJN.[37][38]

The repaired U.S. battleships primarily provided fire support for amphibious landings. Their low speed was a liability to their deployment in the vast expanses of the Pacific, for instance they could not accompany the fleet carriers that had become the dominant combatants. Six of the Standard Type vessels participated in the last battleship versus battleship engagement in naval history, the Battle of Surigao Strait, where none of them were hit. During active duty, being well protected by escorts and air cover, none of the Pearl Harbor battleships suffered serious damage save for Pennsylvania which was permanently crippled by a torpedo in the closing stages of the war.

Carriers[edit | edit source]

The attack on Pearl Harbor failed to sight, or destroy, any of the Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers; they had been designated as primary targets along with the battleships.[41] The carriers Lexington and Enterprise were ferrying additional fighters to American bases on the islands of Wake and Midway.[42] At the time of the Japanese attack, the US was expecting imminent war with Japan, beginning in any of several places, such as the Philippines or Allied bases in Borneo.[43] Nagumo's hesitation, and failure to find and destroy the American carriers, may have been a product of his lack of faith in the attack plan, and of the fact he was a gunnery officer, not an aviator. In addition, Yamamoto's targeting priorities, placing battleships first in importance, reflected an out-of-date Mahanian doctrine, and an inability to extrapolate from history, given the damage German submarines did to British trade in World War I. In the end, Japan achieved surprisingly little for all her daring and apparent success.[44]

Cruisers, essential to carrier task forces later in the war, had been considered tertiary targets and only three suffered damage. Of 27 destroyers present, only two were lost: Cassin and Downes were total losses as ships, but their machinery was salvaged and fitted into new hulls, retaining their original names, while Shaw was raised and returned to service.

Shore installations[edit | edit source]

Tank farms, containing 140 million U.S. gallons (530 million liters) of bunker oil, were unscathed, providing a ready source of fuel for American fleets at the submarine base. About this missed opportunity, Admiral Chester Nimitz would later say, "Had the Japanese destroyed the oil, it would have prolonged the war another two years."[45] These were vital to the initial phase of the war, and to commerce raiding throughout, and illustrate the deficiencies of Japanese planning for the attack. The Navy Yard, critical to ship maintenance, and repair of ships damaged in the attack was undamaged. The engineering and initial repair shops, as well as the torpedo store, were intact. Other items of base infrastructure and operation, such as power generation, continued to operate normally. Also critical to the way the Pacific War was actually fought was the cryptanalysis unit, Station HYPO, located in the basement of the old Administration Building. It was undamaged and even benefited by gaining staff from unemployed ship's bands.[46] The Army Air Force's loss of aircraft must be balanced against the fact that many of them were obsolete, such as the P-40's predecessor, the P-36. Japan might have achieved a good deal more with not much additional effort or loss.[47]

Charts[edit | edit source]

Capital ships prior to attack[48]
Location Battleships Aircraft carriers
Naval jack of the United States (1912–1959).svg United States US flag 48 stars.svg
Atlantic 6 (+2*) 4 (+1*)
Pacific 9 3
Japan Empire of Japan Japan
Pacific 10 (+1*) 9
*Plus ships completed but not yet commissioned.
US: North Carolina, Washington and Hornet
Japan: Yamato
Capital ships after attack
Location Battleships Aircraft carriers
Naval jack of the United States (1912–1959).svg United States US flag 48 stars.svg
Atlantic 6 (+2*) 4 (+1*)
Pacific 1 (+6**) 3
Japan Empire of Japan Japan
Pacific 10 (+1*) 9
**Ships which can be repaired:
California,West Virginia, Nevada, Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania.
Capital ships 12/1942
Location Battleships Aircraft carriers
Naval jack of the United States (1912–1959).svg United States US flag 48 stars.svg
Atlantic 4 1
Pacific 12 (+3**) 3
Japan Empire of Japan Japan
Pacific 10 6
**Ships which can be repaired:

California,West Virginia, Nevada
US ships lost:
Lexington, Yorktown, Wasp, Hornet
US ships gained:
Essex, North Carolina, Washington, South Dakota, Indiana, Massachusetts, Alabama
Japanese ships lost:
Shoho, Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Hiei, Kirishima
Japanese ships gained: Yamato, Musashi, Junyo, Hiyo.

Of the 22 Japanese ships that took part in the attack, only one survived the war. As of 2006, the only U.S. ships in Pearl Harbor during the attack still remaining afloat are the Coast Guard Cutter Taney and the yard tug USS Hoga. Both remained active over 50 years after the attack and have been designated museum ships.

Strategic implications[edit | edit source]

A common view is that the Japanese fell victim to victory disease because of the perceived ease of their first victories. It has also been stated by the Japanese military commanders and politicians who visited and lived in the United States, that their leadership (mostly military personnel) took the war with the United States relatively lightly, compared to them. For instance, Admiral Yamamoto and General Tadamichi Kuribayashi expressed concerns about the greater industrial power of the United States.

The politics of a "Europe First" strategy, loss of air cover over Pearl Harbor, and subsequent loss of the Philippines, meant the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps were unable to play a significant role in the Pacific War for several months. Japan was temporarily free of worries about the major rival Pacific naval power, which was at least part of the intention for the attack. Because Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and most British forces were already in Europe, Japan conquered nearly all of Southeast Asia, the Southwest Pacific, and extended her reach far into the Indian Ocean, without significant interference. The various Japanese advances were a nearly complete tactical success.

In the long term, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a grand strategic blunder for Japan. Indeed, Admiral Yamamoto, who conceived it, predicted even success here could not win a war with the United States, because American productive capacity was too large. It spurred the United States into a determination to fight to complete victory. The war resulted in the destruction of the Japanese armed forces, the occupation of the home islands (a state never before achieved in Japan's history), and the loss of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands to the United States until 1972, while the Soviet Russian re-annexation of the Kurile islands and Sakhalin Island's southern part, and the restoration of Formosa (Taiwan) to the Republic of China, and the loss of Korea have not been reversed to this day.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Silent Victory (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1975)
  2. The Japanese Merchant Marine in World War II (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute Press, 1993)
  3. Stokesbury, James L. (1980). A Short History of WWII. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.. p. 171. ISBN 0-688-03587-6. 
  4. Testimony of John L. DeWitt, 13 April 1943, House Naval Affairs Subcommittee to Investigate Congested Areas, Part 3, pp. 739-40 (78th Cong ., 1st Sess.), cited in Korematsu v. United States, footnote 2, reproduced at findlaw.com, accessed 13 April 2007
  5. Anthony Rhodes, Propaganda: The art of persuasion: World War II, p257 1976, Chelsea House Publishers, New York
  6. Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa to the Present, p210, ISBN 0-19-51106-9
  7. Lee Kennett, For the Duration. . . : The United States Goes To War p 141 ISBN 0-684-18239-4
  8. Robert Guillain, I saw Tokyo burning: An eyewitness narrative from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima (J. Murray, 1981). ISBN 0-7195-3862-9
  9. 9.0 9.1 Saburō Kurusu, Historical inevitability of the war of Greater East Asia, Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, Tokyo, November 26, 1942 (accessed June 10, 2005).
  10. Adolf Hitler http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERhitler.htm
  11. Peter Grier (December 7, 2011). "Pearl Harbor Day: How did Adolf Hitler react to the attack?". The Christian Science Monitor. csmonitor.com. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/1207/Pearl-Harbor-Day-How-did-Adolf-Hitler-react-to-the-attack. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  12. Hillgruber, Andreas Germany and the Two World Wars, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1981 pages 50-51
  13. Trial transcripts at Nuremberg 11 December 1945. More details of the exchanges at the meeting are available online at nizkor.org
  14. "CANADA DECLARES WAR ON JAPAN". http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411208bwp.html. Retrieved Monday, February 28, 2011. 
  15. Jessup, John E. (1989). A Chronology of Conflict and Resolution, 1945-1985. New York: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-24308-5. 
  16. Prange 1962, pp. 375–77.
  17. Olson, Lynne (2010). Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain In Its Darkest, Finest Hour. Random House. ISBN 978-1-58836-982-6. 
  18. Churchill, Winston. The Second World War, Vol. 3. pp. 539. 
  19. Hughes-Wilson, Military Intelligence Blunders & Cover-Ups (Harper Collins, 2001). Clausen suggests creation of CIA solved the problem; the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center demonstrate this is far from certain.
  20. Haruko Taya & Theodore F. Cook, Japan at War: An Oral History (New Press; Reprint edition, 1993). ISBN 1-56584-039-9
  21. Charles Burress, "Biased history helps feed U.S. fascination with Pearl Harbor", Japan Times, July 19, 2001 (accessed June 10, 2005);
  22. Hiroaki Sato, "The View From New York: Debunking America's 'Good War' myth", Japan Times, June 25, 2001 (accessed June 10, 2005);
  23. Burritt Sabin, "The War's Leagacy [sic]: Dawn of a tragic era", Japan Times, February 8, 2004 (accessed June 10, 2005).
  24. Isoroku Yamamoto to Shigeharu Matsumoto (Japanese cabinet minister) and Fumimaro Kondoye (Japanese prime minister), quoted in Ronald Spector, Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan (Vintage, 1985).
  25. Edwin P. Hoyt, Japan's War, p 232 ISBN 0-07-030612-5
  26. National Geographic mini-biography of Isoroku Yamamoto
  27. "Tokyo shrine a focus of fury around Asia". USA Today. 2005-06-22. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-06-22-tokyo-shrine_x.htm. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  28. "A Shrine to Japan’s Tainted Past". The New York Times. 2006-08-05. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/05/opinion/05bass.html. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  29. "Lee should avoid Yasukuni". The Japan Times. 2007-06-02. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20070602rl.html. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  30. "Bid to address Congress has Yasukuni proviso". The Japan Times. 2006-05-17. Archived from the original on 2012-07-17. https://archive.is/iYR6. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  31. "Brainwashing for justification - Ministry of Education deploying "Yasukuni DVD" -". Shimbun Akahata. 2007-05-18. http://www.jcp.or.jp/akahata/aik07/2007-05-18/2007051803_01_0.html. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  32. Hongo, Jun, "New ASDF chief Hokazono sorry for Tamogami's 'damaging' essay", Japan Times, 8 November 2008, p. 1.
  33. Hongo, Jun, "Tamogami's cohorts reprimanded", Japan Times, 26 December 2008.
  34. Onishi, Norimitsu, "Japan: New Fallout From Essay On War", New York Times, November 5, 2008, p. 20.
  35. "The Dorn report did not state with certainty that Kimmel and Short knew about Taranto. There is, however, no doubt that they did know, as did the Japanese. Lt. Cdr. Takeshi Naito, the assistance naval attaché to Berlin, flew to Taranto to investigate the attack first hand, and Naito subsequently had a lengthy conversation with Cdr. Mitsuo Fuchida about his observations. Fuchida led the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941." Kimmel, Short, and Pearl Harbor: The Final Report Revealed.
  36. [1]
  37. 37.0 37.1 Morison, Samuel E. (1956). "Leyte, June 1944-January 1945". History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. XII. Boston: Little & Brown. 
  38. 38.0 38.1 Howard (1999).
  39. Gordon Prange, Miracle at Midway, 1983, paperback, p.9
  40. In fact, their rate of fire was too low to deal with aircraft, as experience with kamikaze would demonstrate. Not until the introduction of a fully automatic 3 inch {76 mm} postwar was a suitable solution found.
  41. Japanese Monograph Number 97 Pearl Harbor operation Prepared by Military History Section Headquarters, Army Forces Far East from ibiblio.org/pha.
  42. Richard Holmes, The World Atlas of Warfare: Military Innovations that Changed the Course of History (Viking, 1988), p.211.
  43. War warning, dated 27 November 1941 The involvement of numerous units of the Japanese Army and the apparent disposition of IJN forces suggested amphibious operations against either the Philippines, the Kra Peninsula, or possibly Borneo, which was the reason warning cables had been sent to all Pacific commands by both the Navy and War Departments at Washington.
  44. Willmott, op. cit.; Peattie and Evans, op. cit..
  45. [Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and World Power, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991): 326-327.]
  46. Willmott, H.P. (1983), The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies, February to June 1942, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, ISBN 0-87021-092-0 ; Blair, op. cit.; Beach, Submarine!; Holmes, Double-Edged Secrets and Undersea Victory.
  47. Caidin, op. cit. and Fork-Tailed Devil (Ballantine, 1968).
  48. Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings, Pt. 15, p. 1901-06 from http://www.ibiblio.org

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