President Franklin D Roosevelt, called the attack on December 7th, 1941 a date which will live in infamy(Unity in Congress). The Attack on Pearl Harbor was neither a success nor a failure for Japan and the Axis Powers during World War II. Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. This attack took place on the United States’ Naval Base in Oahu, Hawaii. Despite the significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor to American soil, the information that was brought to the public was kept to a minimum for the next couple of days following the attack. Headlines regarding the attack were covered by the New York Times, but details about the attack were not fully given to the public. Consequently, details regarding the attack, at the time were more intricate, than what is now known about the attack and is more factual based and not biased.
Prior to the attack, Japanese-American relations were starting to fall apart in 1939. This was due to the United States’ lending aid to the Chinese in 1939, during the Japanese invasion of China. The Japanese had been planning the Pearl Harbor attack since early September, which the United States did not know about. The attack was not given a final approval from the Japanese government, but secretly, they were ready. Their torpedoes, naval guns and other weapons needed for this were ready. The Japanese said if their demands were not met by the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, that they would immediately decide to open hostilities (Maddox 89). The United States had a feeling that war was in the near future after Japanese demands had not been met in November of 1941. The Chinese-Japanese relations caused the United States to intervene, causing their relations with the Japanese to decline over time. Japan demanded the United States to start their trade relations with them again, because the United States stopped any relations with the Japanese due to their invasion in China. The Japanese wanted to restore commercial relations as they existed before the freeze, supply Japan with the necessary quantities of oil, and refrain from any interference in Japan’s efforts to subdue China (Maddox 90).
Hours before deciding to open fire on the Naval Base in Hawaii, the secretary of the United States, Hull, began to respond to the Japanese about their demands (Maddox 90). The attack was scheduled for Sunday, December 7, at 8:00 A.M. Just before they responded, Japanese forces attacked the base with six aircraft carriers, two battleships, to heavy cruises, nine destroyers, and tankers (Maddox 92). According to the New York Times, Pearl Harbor was attacked with four engined dive bombers and torpedo-carrying planes (Torpedo Bombers Strike Hard at Our Main Bases on Oahu). This attack was led by the Japanese Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, who was the commander in chief of the Japanese fleet. The United States was not prepared for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The admiral never hoped to go to war with the United States, instead he hoped to scare the United States and accept Japan’s co-prosperity sphere (Maddox). According to the New York Times article, there were 104 American soldiers who were killed, and 300 soldiers were wounded (Japan Starts War on U.S.; Hawaii and Guam Bombed). This information was false when given to the public. The factual evidence is that there were nearly 3,000 men who were killed, and around 1,000 wounded (Maddox 93). This is evident that the public was misinformed about the casualties of this tragic attack. There were two planned attacks to attack Pearl Harbor on the same day. The first planned attack was at 8:00 A.M, in which the United States were taken completely off guard. The second attack was said to hit two hours after the initial attack. The United States did not know about the second attack either, and were just as unprepared as they were for the first one. According to the New York Times article Japan Starts War on U.S.; Hawaii and Guam Bombed, the Governor Joseph B. Poindexter of Hawaii, said they were better prepared for the second round of attacks American soil (Japan Starts War on U.S.; Hawaii and Guam Bombed.) But, according to the factual evidence, the United States was just as unprepared for the second one as they were the first, the resulting damage was still enormous (Maddox 93).
The attack on Pearl Harbor has not only changed the economy of the United States, it also led them to joining World War II on the side of the Axis Powers. By the United States joining the war, it brought up the morale of the American people. (Maddox 96). President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the declaration of war on December 8th, 1941 (Text of War Declaration). A reason for war stated in the New York Times was Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the People of the United States (Text of War Declaration). This also caused the United States to be in war with Germany and Italy. In the long run, Japan thought of this as a victory for the Axis Powers, but in reality, it was a failure (Maddox 96). In the eyes of the Japanese, they thought of Pearl Harbor as a huge victory, but it was a costly decision (Maddox 94). Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii came under a martial law (Hawaii under Martial Law, Islands Quiet; Blackout Enforced, Violators Punished). This happened 3 days after the attack, so on December 10th, 1941. After the attack, the nation was united: they all shared a passion for joining the war. The Japanese had a feeling of happiness after the attack but little did they know, this made the United States come together, stronger than they could have. After the Americans were put in helping the war effort, America’s industrial capacity, technological superiority, and large population created a military juggernaut that was too strong for the Japanese to beat (Maddox 96).