Why did Japan attack the United States on December 7, 1941?
Why were relations between the U.S. and Japan declining in the decades before the attack?
the Japanese military "has been built for war, feels prepared for war and would welcome war. It has never yet been beaten and possesses unlimited self confidence. I am not an alarmist but I believe that we should have our eyes open to all possible future contingencies. The facts of history would render it criminal to close them ." ~ Joseph Grew, U.S. ambassador to Tokyo (1932)
Japan’s Expansionist Ambitions
Post WWI – extend sphere of influence over N. China (in violation of “open door”)
1921-22 - Washington Naval Conference – Japanese reduce navy and respect China’s sovereignty
1931 – invasion of Manchuria (economic problems, overpop) put militarists in control
LEAGUE OF NATIONS called this an act of aggression but DID NOTHING!!
1937 – Japan invades China
Hideki Tojo – Prime Minister of Japan; used victories in ‘31-32 to gain dictatorial power
Japan’s “Southern Advance”
Targeted European possessions for raw materials
French bases in Indochina captured
The U.S. reacts…
embargo on sales of scrap iron and steel to any country outside the western hemisphere except GB
OIL – Japan could not fuel war machine!!
want oil fields in Pacific
Emperor Hirohito Tojo I’ll make peace with the Americans! But by November of 1941…
Why the strike at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?
The U.S. posed the most critical threat to Japan’s navy/its expansion
The American fleet, housed at Pearl Harbor MUST be neutralized
THE FIRST MESSAGE OF THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR: The original message sent by the "Commander Aircraft, Scouting Force", Lt. Cmdr. Logan Ramsey, from Pearl Harbor to "All U.S. Navy Ships present Hawaiian area" , giving the first news: " AIRRAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NO DRILL."
“ Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This is not a drill.”
180 Japanese planes (6 carriers)
2,403 Americans dead
300 aircraft destroyed – 3 carriers survived!!
Total devastation by 9:30 am
News photo of the wreckage-strewn American naval air station at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese raid.
Dorie Miller Pin honoring Pearl Harbor hero Dorie Miller. A black messman who was untrained in machine gun use due to rigid Naval segregation policies, Miller took over a machine gun aboard the USS West Virginia and was officially credited with downing two Japanese planes. Miller was honored as one of the first heroes of World War II, and six months after the attack was given the Navy Cross by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Declaration of War on
December 8, 1941
3 days later Germany and Italy declare war on U.S. (Tripartite Pact)
Do you think the United States would have entered WWII if the attack on Pearl Harbor never happened? Why or why not?