Results of the attack on Pearl Harbor


Results of the attack on Pearl Harbor

The results of the attack on Pearl Harbor are many and significant.

American response

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and hastened the entry of the United States into World War II on the side of the Allies.

On December 8, one day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of United States Congress. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy." Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan amid outrage at the attack and the late delivery of the note from the Japanese government breaking off relations with the U.S. government, actions considered treacherous. Pacifist Jeannette Rankin, a Republican Congresswoman from Montana, cast the only dissenting vote. Roosevelt signed the declaration of war later the same day. Continuing to intensify its military mobilization, the U.S. government finished converting to a war economy, a process begun by provision of weapons and supplies to the Soviet Union and Great Britain, Lend Lease.

The Pearl Harbor attack immediately galvanized a divided nation into action. Public opinion had been moving towards support for entering the war during 1941, but considerable opposition remained until the Pearl Harbor attack. Overnight, Americans united against Japan in response to calls to: "Remember Pearl Harbor"." American solidarity in the war effort probably made possible the unconditional surrender position later taken by the Allied Powers.Fact|date=October 2007 Some historians believe the attack on Pearl Harbor doomed Japan to defeat simply because it awakened the "sleeping beast", regardless of whether the fuel depots or machine shops had been destroyed or even if the carriers had been caught in port and sunk. U.S. industrial and military capacity, once mobilized, was able to pour overwhelming resources into both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. Others believe Japanese trade protection was so incompetent that American submarines could have strangled Japan into defeat alone.

Perceptions of treachery in the attack before a declaration of war sparked fears of sabotage or espionage by Japanese sympathizers residing in the U.S., including citizens of Japanese descent and was a factor in the subsequent Japanese internment in the western United States. Other factors included misrepresentations of intelligence information (none) suggesting sabotage, notably by General John DeWitt, commanding Coast Defense on the Pacific Coast, who had personal feelings against Japanese Americans. [Testimony of John L. DeWitt, 13 April 1943, House Naval Affairs Subcommittee to Investigate Congested Areas, Part 3, pp. 739-40 (78th Cong ., 1st Sess.), cited in [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=323&invol=214#fff2 "Korematsu v. United States"] , footnote 2, reproduced at findlaw.com, accessed 13 Apr. 2007] In February 1942, Roosevelt signed United States Executive Order 9066, requiring all Japanese Americans to submit themselves for an internment.

Japanese views

On December 8, 1941, the Empire of Japan declared war on the United States and Britain. The somewhat belated Japanese document discussed world peace and the disruptive actions of the United States and Great Britain. The document claimed that all avenues for averting war had been exhausted by the Government of Japan.

Although the Imperial Japanese government had made some effort to prepare their population for war "via" anti-U.S. propaganda, it appears most Japanese were surprised, apprehensive, and dismayed by the news they were now at war with the U.S., a country many Japanese admired. Nevertheless, the people at home and overseas thereafter generally accepted their government's account of the attack and supported the war effort until their nation's surrender in 1945. [Robert Guillain, "I saw Tokyo burning: An eyewitness narrative from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima" (J. Murray, 1981). ISBN 0-7195-3862-9]

Japan's national leadership at the time appeared to have believed war between the U.S. and Japan had long been inevitable. In any case, Japanese-American relationships had already significantly deteriorated since Japan's invasion of China beginning in the early '30s, of which the United States strongly disapproved. In 1942, Saburo Kurusu, former Japanese ambassador to the United States, gave an address in which he talked about the "historical inevitability of the war of Greater East Asia." [Saburo Kurusu, http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1942/421126a.html Historical inevitability of the war of Greater East Asia] , Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, Tokyo, November 26, 1942 (accessed June 10, 2005).] He said war had been a response to Washington's longstanding aggression toward Japan. For example, provocations against Japan included the San Francisco School incident, (the United States' racist policies on Japanese immigrants), Naval Limitations Treaty, other Unequal treaties, the Nine Power Pact, constant economic pressure against Japan, culminating in the "belligerent" scrap metal and oil embargo in 1941 by the United States and Allied countries to contain and/or reverse the actions of the Empire of Japan especially in IndoChina during her expansion of influence and interests throughout Asia. In light of Japan's dependence on imported oil, the trade embargoes were especially significant. These pressures directly influenced Japan to go into alliance with Germany and Italy through the Tripartite Pact. According to Kurusu, because of these reasons, the Allies had already provoked war with Japan long before the attack at Pearl Harbor, and the United States was already preparing for war with Japan. Kurusu also states the United States was also looking for world domination, beyond just Asia, with "sinister designs" [Saburo Kurusu, http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1942/421126a.html Historical inevitability of the war of Greater East Asia] , Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, Tokyo, November 26, 1942 (accessed June 10, 2005).] . Some of this view seems to have been shared by Adolf Hitler, when he called it one of the reasons Germany declared war on the United States. He also had mentioned European imperialism toward Japan many years before. Therefore, according to Kurusu, Japan had no choice but to defend herself and so should rapidly continue to militarize, bring Germany and Italy closer as allies and militarily combat the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands.

Japan's leaders also saw herself as justified in her conduct, believing that they were building the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. They also explained Japan had done everything possible to alleviate tension between the two nations. The decision to attack, at least for public presentation, was reluctant and forced on Japan. Of the Pearl Harbor attack itself, Kurusu said it came in direct response to a virtual ultimatum from the U.S. government, the Hull note, and so the surprise attack was not treacherous. Since the Japanese-American relationship already had hit its lowest point, there was no alternative; in any case, had an acceptable settlement of differences been reached, the Carrier Striking Task Force could have been called back.

Germany and Italy declare war

On December 11, 1941, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States, and the United States reciprocated, formally entering the war in Europe.

German dictator Adolf Hitler and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini were under no obligation to declare war on the United States under the mutual defense terms of the Tripartite Pact. However, relations between the European Axis Powers and the United States had deteriorated since 1937. Earlier in 1941, the Nazis learned of the U.S. military's contingency planning to get troops in Continental Europe by 1943; this was Rainbow Five, made public by sources unsympathetic to Roosevelt's New Deal, and published by the "Chicago Tribune".

Hitler decided war with the United States was unavoidable, and the Pearl Harbor attack, the publication of Rainbow Five, and Roosevelt's post-Pearl Harbor address, which focused on European affairs as well as the situation with Japan, probably contributed to the declaration. Hitler underestimated American military production capacity, the nation's ability to fight on two fronts, and the time his own Operation BARBAROSSA would require. Similarly, the Nazis may have hoped the declaration of war, a showing of solidarity with Japan, would result in closer collaboration with the Japanese in Eurasia, particularly against the Soviet Union. Regardless of Hitler's reasons, the decision was an enormous strategic blunder and allowed the United States to enter the European war in support of the United Kingdom and the Allies without much public opposition.

Hitler awarded Imperial Japanese ambassador to Nazi Germany Hiroshi Oshima the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle in Gold (1st class) after the attack, praising Japan for striking hard and without first declaring war. [Trial transcripts at Nuremberg 11 December 1945. More details of the exchanges at the meeting are available online at [http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-02/tgmwc-02-16-09.shtml nizkor.org] ]

Impact

A common view is that the Japanese fell victim to victory disease because of the perceived ease of their first victories. It has also been stated by the Japanese military commanders and politicians who visited and lived in the United States, that their leadership (mostly military personnel) took the war with the United States relatively lightly, compared to them. For instance, Yamamoto's quote and Battle of Iwo Jima commander Tadamichi Kuribayashi's opinions expressed the views and concerns about the greater industrial power of the United States in comparison to Japan.

Despite the perception of this battle as a devastating blow to America, only three ships were permanently lost to the U.S. Navy. These were the battleships "Arizona", "Oklahoma", and the old battleship "Utah" (then used as a target ship); nevertheless, much usable material was salvaged from them, including the two aft main turrets from "Arizona". Heavy casualties resulted from "Arizona’"s magazine exploding and the "Oklahoma" capsizing. Four ships sunk during the attack were later raised and returned to duty, including the battleships "California", "West Virginia" and "Nevada". "California" and "West Virginia" had an effective torpedo-defense system which held up remarkably well, despite the weight of fire they had to endure, resulting in most of their crews being saved. Many of the surviving battleships were heavily refitted, including the replacement of their outdated secondary battery of anti-surface 5-inch (127 mm) guns with more useful turreted dual-purpose (antiaircraft and antiship) guns, allowing them to better cope with the new tactical reality. [In fact, their rate of fire was too low to deal with aircraft, as experience with "kamikaze" would demonstrate. Not until the introduction of a fully automatic 3 inch {76 mm} postwar was a suitable solution found.] Addition of modern radar to the salvaged vessels would give them a marked qualitative advantage over those of the IJN, and the slow battleships (incapable of operating with carrier task forces, unlike the "Iowa"s) would prove useful delivering pre-invasion bombardment for the island hopping offensive against the Japanese in the pacific. Destroyers "Cassin" and "Downes" were total losses as ships, but their machinery was salvaged and fitted into new hulls, retaining their original names, while "Shaw" was raised and returned to service.

Of the 22 Japanese ships that took part in the attack, only one survived the war. As of 2006, the only U.S. ships in Pearl Harbor during the attack still remaining afloat are the Coast Guard Cutter "Taney" and the yard tug USS "Hoga". Both remained active over 50 years after the attack and have been designated museum ships.

In the long term, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a strategic blunder for Japan. Indeed, Admiral Yamamoto, who conceived it, predicted that even success here could not win a war with the United States, because American productive capacity was too large. One of the main Japanese objectives was to destroy the three American aircraft carriers stationed in the Pacific, but they were not present: "Enterprise" was returning from Wake, "Lexington" from Midway, and "Saratoga" was under refit at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Putting most of the U.S. battleships out of commission was regarded—in both navies and by most military observers worldwide—as a tremendous success for Japan.

Though the attack was notable for its large-scale destruction, the attack was not significant in terms of American fuel storage, maintenance and intelligence capabilities. Had Japan destroyed the American carriers, the U.S. would have sustained significant damage to the Pacific Fleet's ability to conduct offensive operations for a year or so (given no further diversions from the Atlantic Fleet). As it was, the elimination of the battleships left the U.S. Navy with no choice but to place its faith in aircraft carriers and submarines—the very weapons with which the U.S. Navy halted and eventually reversed the Japanese advance. A major flaw of Japanese strategic thinking was a belief the ultimate Pacific battle would be between battleships of both sides, in keeping with the doctrine of Captain Alfred Mahan. As a result, Yamamoto (and his successors) hoarded his battleships for a "decisive battle" that never happened.

Ultimately, targets not on Genda's list, such as the Submarine Base and the old Headquarters Building, were more important than any battleship. It was submarines that immobilized IJN's heavy ships and brought Japan's economy to a standstill by crippling transportation of oil and raw materials. And in the basement of the old Administration Building was the cryptanalytic unit, HYPO, which contributed significantly to the Midway ambush and the Submarine Force's success.

Tactical and strategic analysis

[


thumb|240px|right|Carrier_Striking_Task_Force_two-way_route._
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"Kido Butai"
legend|#0000FF|USS Lexington (CV-2)]

The attack on Pearl Harbor failed to sight, or destroy, any of the Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers; they had been, along with USN capital ships, primary targets. [http://ibiblio.org/pha/monos/097/index.html Japanese Monograph Number 97] Pearl Harbor operation Prepared by Military History Section Headquarters, Army Forces Far East from ibiblio.org/pha.] The carriers "Lexington" and "Enterprise" were ferrying additional fighters to American bases on the islands of Wake and Midway. [Richard Holmes, "The World Atlas of Warfare: Military Innovations that Changed the Course of History" (Viking, 1988), p.211.] At the time of the Japanese attack, the US was expecting imminent war with Japan, beginning in any of several places, such as the Philippines or Allied bases in Borneo. [http://ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411127acno.html War warning, dated 27 November 1941] The involvement of numerous units of the Japanese Army and the apparent disposition of IJN forces suggested amphibious operations against either the Philippines Thai or the Kra Peninsula or possibly Borneo, which was the reason warning cables had been sent to all Pacific commands by both the Navy and War Departments at Washington. ] The attack at Pearl resulted in the permanent loss of "Arizona" and "Oklahoma", and removed several other battleships (including "Nevada", "West Virginia", and "California") from the battle line for months. However, all of these were older designs, too slow to serve as escorts for the carrier task forces which became central to the Pacific War, and so in practice, the most immediate consequences of the attack were the destruction of over 155 aircraft and shock to American pride.

Genda's plan and Nagumo's execution, left the shore installations at Pearl Harbor almost untouched, excluding aircraft hangars. The "Arizona" was sunk and beyond repair. Its hull underlies the Arizona Memorial. The "Oklahoma" capsized, was raised, stripped of guns and superstructure, sold for scrap and sunk under tow to San Francisco Bay in 1947. These were the only battleships lost that day. "California", "West Virginia", and "Nevada", initially sunk in shallow water, were later raised and along with "Tennessee", "Maryland", and "Pennsylvania", were repaired and modernized. All but "Nevada" would later exact some revenge on Japanese battleships during the Battle of Surigao Strait. Cruisers, essential to carrier task forces later in the war, had been considered tertiary targets and only three suffered damage. Of 27 destroyers present, only two were lost: "Cassin", and "Downes". (Even so, machinery, stores, and weapons were salvaged from all ships written off.)

Tank farms, containing 140 million gallons (530 million liters) of bunker oil, were unscathed, providing a ready source of fuel for American submarines at the submarine base. These were vital to the initial phase of the War, and to commerce raiding throughout, and illustrate the deficiencies of Japanese planning for the attack. The Navy Yard, critical to ship maintenance, and repair of ships damaged in the attack was undamaged. The engineering and initial repair shops, as well as the torpedo store, were intact. Other items of base infrastructure and operation, such as power generation, continued to operate normally. Also critical to the way the Pacific War was actually fought was the cryptanalysis unit, Station HYPO, located in the basement of the old Administration Building. It was undamaged and even benefited by gaining staff from unemployed ship's bands. [Willmott, "op. cit."; Blair, "op. cit."; Beach, "Submarine!"; Holmes, "Double-Edged Secrets" and "Undersea Victory".]

The Army Air Force's loss of aircraft must be balanced against the fact that many of them were obsolete, such as the P-40's ancestor, the P-36. Japan might have achieved a good deal more with not much additional effort or loss. [Caidin, "op. cit." and "Fork-Tailed Devil" (Ballantine, 1968).]

Nagumo's hesitation, and failure to find and destroy the American carriers, may have been a product of his lack of faith in the attack plan, and of the fact he was a gunnery officer, not an aviator. In addition, Yamamoto's targeting priorities, placing battleships first in importance, reflected an out-of-date Mahanian doctrine, and an inability to extrapolate from history, given the damage German submarines did to British trade in World War I. In the end, Japan achieved surprisingly little for all her daring and apparent success. [Willmott, "op. cit."; Peattie and Evans, "op. cit.".]

The politics of a "Europe First" strategy, loss of air cover over Pearl Harbor, and subsequent loss of the Philippines, meant the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps were unable to play a significant role in the Pacific War for several months. Japan was temporarily free of worries about the major rival Pacific naval power, which was at least part of the intention for the attack. Because Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and most British forces were already in Europe, Japan conquered nearly all of Southeast Asia, the Southwest Pacific, and extended her reach far into the Indian Ocean, without significant interference. The various Japanese advances were a nearly complete tactical success.

In retrospect, the attack was a strategic disaster for Japan. It spurred the United States into a determination to fight to complete victory. The War resulted in the destruction of the Japanese armed forces, the Occupation of the Home Islands (a state never before achieved in Japan's history), and the loss of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands to the United States until 1972, while the Soviet Russian re-annexation of the Kurile islands and Sakhalin Island's southern part, and China's seizure of Formosa (Taiwan), and the loss of Korea have not been reversed to this day.

Investigations and blame

President Roosevelt appointed an investigating commission, headed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts to report facts and findings with respect to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the first of many official investigations (nine in all). Both the Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, and the Army commander, Lieutenant General Walter Short (the Army had been responsible for air defense of Hawaii, including Pearl Harbor, and for general defense of the islands against hostile attack), were relieved of their commands shortly thereafter. They were accused of "dereliction of duty" by the Roberts Commission for not making reasonable defensive preparations. None of the investigations conducted during the War, nor the Congressional investigation afterward, provided enough reason to reverse those actions. The decisions of the Navy and War Departments to relieve both was controversial at the time and has remained so. However, neither was court-martialed as would normally have been the result of dereliction of duty. On May 25, 1999, the U.S. Senate voted to recommend both officers be exonerated on all charges, citing "denial to Hawaii commanders of vital intelligence available in Washington".

Rise of anti-Japanese sentiment and historical significance

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor coupled with their alliance with the Nazis and the ensuing war in the Pacific fueled anti-Japanese sentiment, racism, xenophobia, and anti-Axis sentiment in the Allied nations. Japanese, Japanese-Americans, and Asians having a similar physical appearance were regarded with deep seated suspicion, distrust and hostility. The attack was viewed as having been conducted in an extremely underhanded way and also as a very "treacherous" or "sneaky attack".

The attack on Pearl Harbor, the subsequent declarations of war, and fear of "Fifth Columnists" resulted in internment of Japanese, German, and Italian populations in the United States and others, for instance the Japanese American internment, German American internment, Italian American internment, and Japanese Canadian internment. The attack resulted in the United States fighting the Germans and Italians among others in Europe and Japan in the Pacific.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had history-altering consequences. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on hearing of the attack, wrote, "Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful." [cite book| first=Winston| last=Churchill| title=The Second World War, Vol. 3| pages=539] By opening the Pacific War, which ended in the unconditional surrender of Japan, it broke the power of an Asian check on Soviet expansion. The Allied victory in this war and subsequent U.S. emergence as a dominant world power, eclipsing Britain, have shaped international politics ever since.

Pearl Harbor is generally regarded as an extraordinary event in American history, remembered as the first time since the War of 1812 America was attacked on its home soil by another country. While this assertion is technically erroneous, as Hawaii was not a state at the time, it was widely regarded as "home soil". It was the first decisive defeat for the United States in World War II. It has become synonymous with "surprise attack" ever since in the U.S. Unfortunately, the mistakes of intelligence collection, sharing, and analysis leading to the Japanese success at Pearl Harbor did not, in the end, lead to lessons. [Hughes-Wilson "Military Intelligence Blunders & Cover-Ups" (Harper Collins, 2001). Clausen suggests creation of CIA solved the problem; the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center demonstrate this is far from certain.]

Perception of the attack today

Some Japanese today feel they were compelled to fight because of threats to their national interests and an embargo imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The most important embargo was on oil on which its Navy and much of the economy was dependent. [Haruko Taya & Theodore F. Cook, "Japan at War: An Oral History" (New Press; Reprint edition, 1993). ISBN 1-56584-039-9] For example, the "Japan Times", an English-language newspaper owned by one of the major news organizations in Japan (Asahi Shimbun), ran numerous columns in the early 2000s echoing Kurusu's comments in reference to the Pearl Harbor attack. [Charles Burress, " [http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?eo20010719a2.htm Biased history helps feed U.S. fascination with Pearl Harbor] ," "Japan Times", July 19, 2001 (accessed June 10, 2005);]

In putting the Pearl Harbor attack into context, Japanese writers repeatedly contrast the thousands of U.S. servicemen killed there with the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians killed in U.S. air attacks later in the War, [Hiroaki Sato, " [http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/geted.pl5?eo20010625hs.htm The View From New York: Debunking America's 'Good War' myth] ," "Japan Times", June 25, 2001 (accessed June 10, 2005);] even without mentioning the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.

However, in spite of the perceived inevitability of the war by many Japanese, many also believe the Pearl Harbor attack, although a tactical victory, was actually part of a seriously flawed strategy for engaging in war with the U.S. As one columnist eulogizes, "The Pearl Harbor attack was a brilliant tactic, but part of a strategy based on the belief that a spirit as firm as iron and as beautiful as cherry blossoms could overcome the materially wealthy United States. That strategy was flawed, and Japan's total defeat would follow." [Burritt Sabin, " [http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20040208x3.htm The War's Leagacy [sic] : Dawn of a tragic era] ," "Japan Times", February 8, 2004 (accessed June 10, 2005).] In 1991, the Japanese Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Japan had intended to make a formal declaration of war to the United States at 1 p.m. Washington time, 25 minutes before the attack at Pearl Harbor was scheduled to begin. This officially acknowledged something that had been publicly known for years. Diplomatic communications had been coordinated well in advance with the attack, but had failed delivery at the intended time. It appears the Japanese government was referring to the "14-part message", which did not actually break off negotiations, let alone declare war, but did officially raise the possibility of a break in relations. However, because of various delays, the Japanese ambassador was unable to make the declaration until well after the attack had begun.

Imperial Japanese military leaders appear to have had mixed feelings about the attack. Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was unhappy about the botched timing of the breaking off of negotiations. He is rumored to have said, "I fear all we have done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with terrible resolve". Even though this quote is unsubstantiated, the phrase seems to describe his feelings about the situation. He is on record as having said, in the previous year, that "I can run wild for six months ... after that, I have no expectation of success." [Isoroku Yamamoto to Shigeharu Matsumoto (Japanese cabinet minister) and Fumimaro Kondoye (Japanese prime minister), quoted in Ronald Spector, "Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan" (Vintage, 1985).]

The first Prime Minister of Japan during World War II, Hideki Tojo later wrote,"When reflecting upon it today, that the Pearl Harbor attack should have succeeded in achieving surprise seems a blessing from Heaven."

Yamamoto had said, regarding the imminent war with the United States, "Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. We would have to march into Washington and sign the treaty in the White House. I wonder if our politicians (who speak so lightly of a Japanese-American war) have confidence as to the outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices?" [ [http://plasma.nationalgeographic.com/pearlharbor/ngbeyond/people/people11.html National Geographic mini-biography of Isoroku Yamamoto ] ]

ee also

* "Remember Pearl Harbor"
* Japanese war crimes
* List of Japanese spies, 1930-45
* Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group
* Neo-Nazi groups of the United States
* Unrestricted submarine warfare

Notes


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