The Attack On Pearl Harbor


Although the recent controversy over the extent to which the Hawaiian islands can be considered American may draw confusion, there was at least one point in history when the area was very clearly claimed by the United States. In 1941 the attacks by Japanese fleets on a Hawaiian shallow water port called Pearl Harbor caused America to enter World War 2.

One of the most important elements of this attack was the fact that it came without announcement. Prior to it, the United States had not been actively involved in the war and many of its citizens preferred it that way. The intention of the attack was to convince the United States government that they would receive similar acts of violence if they were to come up against the allied forces of Japan and Germany. The battleships at the harbor were the main target but thousands of people both soldiers and civilians alike were also killed.

While the strike was successful from one perspective, it can also be seen as a major failure in terms of its clearest objective. The United States government did not react as planned and saw this as an act of war. Later on it would even be called a war crime because it came without sufficient warning or any warning at all. This in turn stymied plans by the Empire of Japan to colonize many of its neighbors throughout Asia.

The damage to Pearl Harbor was bad in and of itself but it also led to one of the worst reprisals in the history of modern warfare. Scientists based in the United States had only recently discovered how to split an atom and before that energy could be channeled into a positive use, a bomb was created from it. This was dropped on the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The death toll was immense and the radiation released is still a cause for concern decades later. Many of the people involved in the Pearl Harbor offensive viewed their actions with regret after seeing the devastation in which many of their countrymen were killed.

Since World War 2, the world has changed drastically. Both Japan and Germany have recovered and are no longer involved in the sorts of expansionist programs they once saw as vital. Unfortunately the United States continues to engage in wars fairly frequently and the death toll continues to rise among its armed forces and those it combats.


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