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Mrs. Widener’s Class Pearl Harbor Assignment

April 8, 2014

World War II

Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Attack on Pearl Harbor happened on December 7th, 1941. Japanese airplanes made a surprise attack on the US Navy in Pearl Harbor. They destroyed many ships and killed many soldiers. It was this attack that forced the United States to enter World War II.

Japanese fighter plane

Japanese fighter plane attacking

Where is Pearl Harbor?

Pearl Harbor is located in Hawaii on the island of O’ahu. Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean between California and Japan. During the time of World War II, Hawaii was not a state, but a US territory.

Before the Attack

World War II had been raging in Europe and Asia for two years, but the United States had not entered the war. The Empire of Japan was trying to take over much of Asia and was worried about the US Navy in Hawaii. They decided to strike in order to prevent the United States from attacking them.

The Japanese thought that if they took out the war ships in Pearl Harbor, then the United States Navy would be crippled and would never attack. However, they were mistaken and the attack on Pearl Harbor had just the opposite result. The US declared war the next day.

The Attack

The attack on Pearl Harbor came as a complete surprise. Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes and bombers flew to Pearl Harbor and attacked. The bombers dropped bombs and torpedoes on the war ships, while the fighter planes attacked the US fighter planes on the ground so they could not take off and fight back. There were two waves of attacks and by the end of the second wave a number of US ships were destroyed.

USS Arizona

The USS Arizona sinking

The Numbers

There were many casualties from both sides during the attack. Although the Japanese inflicted considerable damage to the US Navy, they did not cripple it. They damaged many ships including warships, destroyers, and cruisers. They also destroyed a lot of the fighter planes and aircraft at the base. However, all of the US ships but three (the Arizona, the Utah, and the Oklahoma) were able to be recovered and were used later during the war.

The biggest US loss was the sinking of the USS Arizona. Over 1,100 US military personnel died when the Arizona sunk.
After the Attack

The citizens of the United States were in shock. They had tried to avoid the war, but they could not ignore this attack. The Japanese had hoped to break the Americans by attacking Pearl Harbor, instead they united them. The next day, December 8th, 1941, the US declared war on Japan. Three days later Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States. The United States was now a major part of World War II.

The US Navy was able to recover from the attack on Pearl Harbor fairly quickly. The Japanese had not damaged a number of important facilities on the Hawaiian Islands, including oil storage depots and repair yards. Also, no aircraft carriers were in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. Aircraft carriers would soon become the most important type of navy vessels in the war.

Memorial

Today there is a memorial to the US soldiers who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is called the USS Arizona memorial and is built on the water above the wreckage of the USS Arizona. The wreckage is considered a US National Historic Landmark.
Interesting Facts

  • The Japanese reportedly had intended to declare war prior to the attack. However, the message never got to the President.
  • President Roosevelt gave a famous speech after the attack in which he said December 7th would be a “day which would live in infamy”.
  • Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has visited the USS Arizona Memorial site.
  • The Japanese also used submarines, including smaller ones called midget submarines, in the attack.
  • The entire attack lasted around 110 minutes, just under two hours.
  • The Japanese attacked on a Sunday morning because they thought the US soldiers would be less alert at that time.

 

Go to the comments section below this page.  Begin by entering the name of you and your partner.  Next, give 2 causes their effects you found while reading the article!

 

 

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