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Pearl Harbor

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Johnson 1

Terell Johnson

American Literature

Period 1

Miss. Smitley

June 1, 2001

Bombing of Pearl Harbor

World War II was a war that everyone will remember and will be remembered for many years to come. It could even be said that it killed more people, destroyed more property, and had far more reaching effects than any other war in history. New technologies were used in the war, such as the Atomic bomb, which opened up the nuclear age. Pearl Harbor was one of those events that will never be forgotten by Americans. Pearl Harbor was especially memorable to America because that caused us to get involved in the war and it outraged everyone in the country. The United States played a key role in the war. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a major turning point in World War II.

The United States planned not to get involved in the war. The majority of the population in the country thought we should stay out of the war and remain neutral, although most American hoped that the Allies would be victorious. The Allies consisted of 50 different countries by the end of the war. The United States, Soviet Union, China, and Great Britain were among the Allies. Germany, Italy, and Japan made up the alliance known as the Axis. Six other nations joined the Axis later in the war. In 1939, President

Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the neutrality of the United States after the war

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had started. Roosevelt and other interventionists wanted to aid other Allie nations in fighting the Axis. Isolationists opposed the UNITED STATES aid to warring nations. Roosevelt was then accused of steering the UNITED STATES into a war they were not prepared to fight. Roosevelt's strategy to defeat the Axis was to equip the nation, fight the Axis with ships, tanks, aircraft

and other war technologies.

The whole situation of Pearl Harbor started in 1940; the Japanese forces were in China. The Chinese government leader, Chiang Kai-Shek and his government fled to central China. To force China to surrender, Japan cut off Chinas supplies reaching Southeast Asia to China. Japan also wanted the resources of Southeast Asia to themselves. Japan began building an empire called the Great Asia Co.- Prosperity Sphere. The United States opposed Japans expansion. Then in 1941 the Japanese began moving into Northern Indochina. The United States responded by cutting exports to Japan. This was very bad for Japan because the Japanese industries heavily relied on scrap metal, petroleum, and other raw materials. The tension between the United States

and Japan rose after Japan expanded into the rest of Indochina in 1941. Then President

Roosevelt barred the withdrawal of all Japanese funds from American banks. This was the last straw for Japan(Rice 49-52)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, was the principal architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto himself was personally opposed to war with the UNITED STATES, but knew that Japan's only hope of success would be to achieve a quick and decisive victory. Japan needed to knock out the UNITED STATES Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. (Pearl Harbor's History, Filmstrip)

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On November 26, 1941, the Japanese Task Force comprised of six aircraft carriers. A support force, which included two battleships, three cruisers, nine destroyers, three submarines, escorted it and eight oil supply ships, began their trek to Hawaii. They must travel four thousand miles across open sea and remain undetected by the UNITED STATES Forces. (Wisniewski 20) The UNITED STATES Military knew a surprise attack by Japan was possible and they thought they were prepared. Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, the commanders of the UNITED STATES Naval and Army forces in Hawaii, respectively, had regularly scheduled training exercises and had taken many precautions to avert disaster. (Pearl Harbor's History, Filmstrip)

On the evening of Saturday, December 6, 1941, as most of the ships were in port, one last moment of peace was realized. The band of the USS Arizona even played in a concert that night. (Pearl Harbor's History, Filmstrip) At 6:00 A.M., the morning of December 7 Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, Commander of the Pearl Harbor Strike Force, turned his carriers into the wind and launched his planes. First went the fighters, then the attack planes that carried armor-piercing bombs and shallow-running torpedoes specifically designed run in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor. Lastly, took off the dive-bombers. There were a total of 183 planes in all. Thirty minutes later a second wave of 167 attack planes followed. (Pearl Harbor Internet)

At 6:30 A.M., the USS Ward, a night patrol destroyer spotted an enemy sub in restricted waters outside Pearl Harbor. They fired and sunk the submarine. Radar on the

north Coast of Ford Island detected a large group of incoming planes. Operators informed

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the information center at Fort Shafter. The information center assumed they were our own B-17's due in that day from California and told the operators, "Don't worry about it." The radar had in fact detected the Japanese Strike Force in route to their early morning attack. (Pearl Harbor's History, Filmstrip)At 7:48 A.M., dive-bombers that tore apart planes and hangers attacked the Ford Island Naval Air Station.

Ford Island Naval Station and Hickham Field were bombed simultaneously. The air bases were hit first, to avoid counter attack. The air stations at Kaneohe, Wheeler Bellons & Ewa were all attacked at nearly the same time, virtually eliminating all air capabilities for the UNITED STATES Because of sabotage in Europe, many precautions were taken in all branches of the UNITED STATES Armed Forces. Here, the planes were taken out of their hangers and stood in groups on the runways. Out in the open, they were easily guarded, but very vulnerable to air attack. (Rice 14-15)

After that, torpedo planes hit the USS Helena and the USS Oglala. On the North-Side of Ford Island, the USS Raleigh and the USS Utah were hit and capsized.

Another sweep of planes swung in from the south, headed toward the great ships moored on Battleship Row. Within minutes the USS West Virginia, California, and Oklahoma were hit and sinking. The USS Arizona was hit

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