Pearl Harbor: The Causes and the Aftermath Essay
The Pearl Harbor massacre is one of the many historical events that will forever remain in the annals of history for its significance as far as war betweens nations is concerned. This is because, the events of the war are not only important to the American history, but to the world history, for global nations have a lot to learn from its effects.
In addition, the war between America and Japan has a lot of significance as concerns the world history primarily because, it gave World War II a great shift; a war that saw the destruction of many global communities.
It is important to note here that, although previously before the Pearl Harbor attack there existed many wars between nations, the attack triggered U.S.’s anger, making it to engage itself fully in the war, a factor that contributed to the currently existing power equalities in the world (Rosenberg pp. 3-9).
Many disagreements between leaders of these world “powerful” countries were major contributors to the onset of the war. The divisions were prevalent because of the discriminatory nature of opinions that different powerful countries shared.
For example, in the struggle by these world powers to increases their wealth and areas of jurisdiction during the World War II, majority of them had to conquer areas they considered rich of resources they were missing in their countries. Such efforts to conquer specific regions demanded many power struggles whereby, the only way of winning was through joining pacts hence, the clear differentiations that existed between these word powers.
Such differentiations led to the divided support that specific countries received where Japan was inclusive. For example, in its quest to fully rule China, Japan received a lot of opposition from America whereby, not only did America support China financially, but also it helped it improve its military prowess through provision of military aids.
This in many ways triggered Japan and its affiliate counties’ anger leading to the planning of the attacks (National Park Service: U.S. Department of the Interior p.1). This paper will discuss concepts of the Pearl Harbor attack. In addition, it will discuss reasons behind the attacks and the attack’s aftermaths.
Source: National Park Service: U.S. Department of the Interior p.1
The attack was on one of America’s biggest naval base in Hawaii, a factor that marked the turning point as far World War II was concerned. The invasion took place on 7th December, 1941, an attack that Japan wanted to use as a mechanism of wrecking America’s military prowess.
Although to some extent Japan achieved its goals, it never anticipated that such an attack could lead to its total destruction. This is because, although Japan succeeded in destroying this American naval base, subsequent retaliations from America saw its destruction; both in terms of properties and numerous lives. In addition, effects from such retaliations by America are evident even today in Japan, although the nation has advanced itself technologically and industrially.
Critical analysis of the attack on the harbor clearly show that, in many ways America was one of the greatest impediment to Japan, as it sought to expand its control of some Asian regions. Therefore, because America was such an obstacle, Japan thought that, the only way of making its dream come true is by wrecking America’s military prowess, with little know how that, its destruction was on the way.
On the other hand, through the attacks, Japan thought that, it could wreck the American fleet patterns, a factor that could render it a chance of advancing its economic prospects by venturing into the Dutch East Indies and other Asian regions. This is because it considered the region rich of many resources, which were essential in terms of boosting its war prowess, when it came to dealing with the United Kingdom and America, for they were its primary antagonists.
Causalities from such a vicious attack were more four thousand, with more than two thousand dead American citizens and less than one hundred Japanese citizens. It was such a big blow to the entire American community primarily because, not only did it result to massive destruction of military property, but also it led to numerous deaths that resulted due to later aftermaths of the war as it endeavored to vengeance (Wohlstetter pp. 3-19).
In addition, it is important to note that, to some extent America could have prevented such invasions had it established itself well. This is because, as research into the attack reveal, the American defense top organs had some know how on the awaiting tragedy, a fact that they failed to make sure its naval base in the Pearl Harbor was prepared for, incase Japan advanced such attacks.
May be had the defense department communicated such impeding threats or likelihoods of attacks, the country could have avoided the blood shade that occurred during that period.
In addition, it is also important to note that, Japan had organized well on how to launch the attacks, a factor that many attribute to America’s failure to defend itself. This is because, as America was busy engrossed in peace initiatives, Japan was preparing on breaking the talks and immediately launching the attacks without giving its antagonist a chance to organize itself (Mahar p.1).
Reasons for the Attack
In any conflict scenario, there has to exist many issues of contention among worrying communities, a fact that was not an exception in this war between America and Japan. In addition, it is important to note that, whether egocentric or for good gains, such wars result due to the need for one nation to dominate and rule over the other.
This was the case in the Pearl Harbor attack, primarily because Japan wanted to outsmart America; a nation that was a great impediment towards its quest to overlook the Asian region, through enriching itself with ill acquired resources. As research studies suggest, the whole contention issue was as a result of a time concept and not the struggle to ensure international diplomacy reigns. That is, the existence of America is this region; Asia-Pacific, was not a subject of apprehension to Japan, but rather its main concern was to take over power as concerned the control of the region.
It is important to note that, achievement of such expectations was one of the hardest things to achieve for Japan, because of the great powers that America had over this region (Rosenberg pp 35-45). On the other hand, the quest to control the Asia-Pacific region to some extent was cultural, because culturally Japan had one believe that is, it was mandatory for there to be a single ruler of the region; a plan they named “hakko ichiu” (Rymer Para. 2)
Although many attribute such power controls as the main factor, which led to the attack, as Robinson (p.1) argues, to some extent, the whole war issue between America and Japan was historical. This is because prior to planning and executing of the attacks, there were many issues of contention between these two economic giants.
Such war backdates to 1930’s, when there was global economic recession that saw Japan suffer economically, as America progressed. In addition, America looked down upon Japan, as militia controlled some of its regions leading to the overexploitation of the rich Manchuria region.
To counter such failures in its control, and in obeying the desire to expand its economic resources, Japan launched such attacks on the harbor in an endeavor to bring down America. On the other hand, it is important to note that, Japanese aggression may have resulted due restriction that America imposed on Japan via commercial treaties prior to 1940, as concerned the provision of natural and industrial resources.
Such restrictions came in full application after the prohibition of scrap iron materials exchange and aviation fuel supply. The fact that, Japan bonded with Italy and Germany in the tripartite deal, made its relationship with America to further deteriorate. This is because the signing of such an agreement was a clear indication of Japan supporting the European war, a war that America took sides.
Apart from such historical injustices and sanctions that were great obstacles to Japan’s development, there were many power struggles between these two nations. For example, prior to the Pearl Harbor attacks, America denied Japan recognition as concerned its occupancy of China.
To condemn Japan’s occupancy, America gave China support, both financially and in terms of military provisions hence, igniting more anger from Japan and its allies. On the other hand, to disapprove Japan, America imposed more sanctions, in addition to the early embargoes that it had mounted on the Japanese state.
As a mechanism of eliminating such sanctions and a sign of not accepting defeat, Japan organized such attacks. In addition, to Japan, such attacks were necessary, because Japan considered America an oppressing nation, due to the fact that, it refused to acknowledge other nations occupancy in other countries, where as itself had exploited Philippines as the Spanish-American conflict raged.
To disapprove America’s power controls as concerned the invasion of other countries, Japan sought to devastate its naval convoy, primary in the pacific region, for it was an obstacle to such exploitations. By attacking the American base, Japan thought that, recovery from such impacts was to take time, a fact that could guarantee them a chance of invading the countries it wanted (Robinson p.1).
In addition to breaking the American power controls, another reason behind the attacks was the endeavor by the Japanese to demoralize America as concerned its superiority when it came to wars. Japan to some extent, achieved this goal because in the onset of 1941, there was a raging debate on whether America should engage itself in warfare or not.
This divided the American citizenry, a fact that made Japan to attack, for it thought that it could paralyze America hence, win the war of control over the pacific region. It is important to note here that, to some level Japan had made a wrong assumption because such attacks led to its later destruction, for it was the only means of ending the war between the two countries.
Another main reason behind the war was the clear signs of discriminations that certain American rulers imposed on the Japanese citizenry. Such discriminations were clear in the Roosevelt’s administration, for many took him as a racist primarily against the Japanese citizens in America.
From the onset of his reign, Roosevelt had a discriminatory liking of the Chinese and a disliking tendency on the Japanese; a fact that many researches attribute to the nature of gains he received from the Chinese nation. On the other hand, his discriminatory tendency was prevalent on the way he treated the Germans.
This is because; Roosevelt’s ruling orientation was contrary to Adolph Hitler’s ruling orientation; dictatorship hence, his favoritism for the Europeans; primary Britain. In his ruling, foreign policies were of little significance, a factor that contributed to the decline in personal relations to other world rulers of that time more so Germany and Italy.
For example, during Germany’s quest to take over Lebensraum, through amalgamation with Britain and France, they opposed such quests, a factor that increased these countries enmity, because these countries were close allies of Japan. This to some extent proves that, although majority of individuals blame Japan for the onset of the war, to some extent what America was doing is a clear indication that they wanted war.
However, to avoid blame hence, look for an excuse for attacking Japan, America had to use any means that was at its disposal to trigger an attack from Japan. In this regard, it is important to note that, actions by America might have been one main triggering factors as far as the war was concerned (Higgs Para. 6-12).
The Attack’s Aftermaths
Although Japan succeeded in wrecking the American naval base, its achievements were short lived. This is because, such attacked triggered America’s anger, hence the use of bombs to destroy many Japanese cities. The effects of such retaliations are prevalent even today in Japan as it endeavors to improve its infrastructural and industrial sector.
As a response to Japanese attacks, America launched efforts to track Japanese shipper fleet, something that never succeeded at first because of the minute numbers of American naval support. Although this was a deterring factor, as concerned revenge efforts, America still was determined to destroy Japan.
In many ways, the war gave many other nations courage of threatening America, a factor that made its revenge mission even harder. For example, because of the attack, which led to the destruction of the naval fleet, Germany and Italy started their own hostilities towards America, a fact that many attribute to many historical indifferences between these countries (McGraw-Hill Companies p.1).
Source: McGraw-Hill Companies p.1
To counter the number of forces that were against America, America reorganized its military system, something that commenced with the recruitment of more military personnel. It is important to note here that, failure by Japan to mangle the fuel deport and repair amenities, gave America an added advantage of re-organizing its efforts to retaliate.
Although this was the case, it is also crucial to note that, subsequent attacks by Japan; second and third, were aimed at destroying the two important facilities. However, because of the anticipated dangers that were associated with such attacks; revenge from the American carriers, Japan stopped its second and third mission hence, giving America an added advantage.
After the re-organization and success in the efforts to salvage the remaining ships after the attack, America started to launch its revenge mission on Japan. Such revenges were in form of attacks the Japanese troops, something that never succeeded at first. Although this was the case, America continued in its quest to outsmart Japan hence, leading to its first victorious raid of 1942; the Doolittle attack. In many ways, this marked the onset of the many later raids that America instigated against Japan.
To avoid problems that were associated with short-range bombers, it used long-range ones, although it failed to achieve its goals of salvaging such bombers if they landed in China. In addition, because of such failures, America lost many of its crewmembers, due to the massive deaths that occurred.
Such attacks, led to more extended attacks from Japan on American territories for example the Midway Islands. Many losses resulted from such attacks, with Japan loosing four of its best carriers and a good number of its citizens. Suffering of innocent civilians was prevalent, a factor that was of less concern to these warring nations primarily because, their main concern was to defeat each other (Martin p.1).
As the war raged, America’s control increased, as it endeavored to control the pacific region through taking control of many areas in the pacific region. To some extent, such captures were of little significance primary because, such captured islands could not give a firm base of launching its attacks.
To ensure they captured an island that could guarantee them a chance of dealing with Japan properly, America through its military strived to capture the Iwo Jima Island, something that caused the demise of many American soldiers. It is crucial to note here that, such loses were of little significance to America, because finally in 1945, America took control of the island.
Capturing of the island saw the destruction of Japanese resources through vicious attacks from America, because at least they had a firm base of launching its attacks. Although this was the case, Japan also never surrendered something that prompted America to capture its Okinawa Island. Such an achievement was not easy and painless on the America, because out of it America lost approximately twelve thousand lives (D’Amato p. 1).
Such enormous causality numbers further ignited America’s anger, leading to the launching of the Atomic bombs against Japan. The first Japanese city to receive such attacks was Hiroshima, an incident that later happened in the city of Nagasaki. At this point Japan was defenseless hence, it had to surrender.
Although this marked almost the termination point of this war, its termination opened another page as concerned the war among nations; World War II. This is because; many other nations for example the Soviet Union joined America in the quest to destroy Japan and its supporters.
In conclusion, the initial attack on the harbor and the aftermath retaliation by the America had many negative impacts than these countries had anticipated. This is because, apart from the massive deaths that resulted from such veracious attacks, its impacts are clear even today as concerns the health status of the Japanese citizenry. In addition, the countries wasted many resources in the war, a factor that they could have prevented did they take the peace negotiations seriously.
Primary lessons that nations can learn from such a war include need for respect among nations, the need for negotiations when problems arise instead of extreme fights, and the importance of respecting human life. Although this is the case, it is a few nations, which have learnt for such an experience, because of the daily wars between different global communities.
D’Amato, Paul. Pearl Harbor, internment, and Hiroshima: historical lessons. Third World Traveler. 2010. Web.
Higgs, Robert. How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Independent Institute. 2006. Web.
Mahar, Ted. The battle that ignited America. 2010. Web.
McGraw-Hill Companies. Aftermath. Glencoe. 2010. Web.
Martin, James. Pearl Harbor’s place in History. Institute for Historical Review. 2010. Web.
National Park Service: U.S. Department of the Interior. Arizona Project. 2010. Web.
Robinson, Bruce. Pearl Harbor: a rude awakening. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2009. Web.
Rosenberg, Emily. A date will live: Pearl Harbor. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Web.
Rymer, Eric. Attack on Pearl Harbor: events leading to December 7, 1941 and the attack on Pearl Harbor. 2010. Web.
Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl harbor warning and decision. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1962. Web.
Movie Analysis of Pearl Harbor Using Principles of Interpersonal Communication Term Paper
The movie is about World War II and it is also about a love story. In fact, it is a love triangle between two men and a woman. The name of the first one is Rafe and the younger of the two is called Danny. They grew up together in the same rural area and because Rafe’s father is a crop duster they had the chance to learn about airplanes. Thus, when they were older they became licensed pilots. Their love interest is a woman named Evelyn and they met her in the army because they became Army Air Corps pilots. Evelyn is Rafe’s girlfriend but not for long.
Their individual and intertwined stories became complicated when Rafe volunteered to fight alongside British pilots over in England. At the same time Danny and Evelyn were sent to work at Pearl Harbor a U.S. Naval facility located in Hawaii. While they were there they received news that Rafe was killed in action.
As Danny and Evelyn mourned his death they fell in love with each other. After some time Rafe returned home to the surprise of Danny and Evelyn. The conflict between all three intensified in the exact moment that the Japanese fleet was on its way to destroy Pearl Harbor and everything it contains.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the high casualty rate forced former best friends Rafe and Danny to put their differences aside so they can avenge what the Japanese Imperial Army did to America. The eventually volunteered to become part in a suicide raid deep into Japan. Their mission under Col. Jimmy Doolittle, was to bomb Japan by using modified bombers forced to fly out of a aircraft carrier.
Their daring mission proved to everyone that Japan is vulnerable but Danny sacrificed his life to make that raid a success. The United States eventually vanquished its enemies.
The Context of Interpersonal Communication
The main characters interact with each other because Rafe and Danny grew up as if they were brothers. They were neighbors but they became so close to each other – Rafe acted as if he is the older brother of Danny. Their relationship was intensified because Danny had an abusive father who treated harshly.
Rafe always had to come to his aid. When it comes to Rafe and Evelyn the strong interaction requires no further explanation. The pilot fell in love with the nurse. Their relationship blossomed because they were far away from their true families and they were in the midst of a brewing war.
But when Rafe was presumed killed in action, Danny was placed in a difficult position with regards to Evelyn. He realized that from the very beginning, when they were still children, Rafe has always been there for him and it is time to repay the favor. He has to take care of Evelyn. In the process he fell head over heels over her and that is one big problem when Rafe comes home to find his best friend acting like a traitor to him. The conflict begins in the lives of these three people as the conflict of war intensifies around them.
Types of Listening
There are various types of listening such as for enjoyment, to get information, to help others in need and to evaluate something that was said (Kanu, 2009, p.59). When Evelyn listened to the plea of Rafe not to flunk him in the medical exam she was listening to evaluate the truthfulness of what was said and she was listening to help him.
When Danny as a little boy, he listened to the instructions given by the older Rafe, he was listening for information. When the nurses listened to the small talk of the soldiers, they were listening for enjoyment. It is good to listen and not just talk (Collins & O’Rourke, 2009).
Types of Nonlistening
In the early phase of the movie one can see Rafe and Danny trying to play the game of chicken. But they did not use cars; they used their planes to play this game of bravado. The head of the air base Col. Doolittle was very angry at them especially at Rafe because he knew that he was the one who started it all.
As Doolittle was giving a short lecture it appears at first that Rafe was listening but he was not. It is one what will call as pseudo-listening and he only did it to show respect. He was not really listening because he knew what Doolittle was really thinking that he was just like him when he was a young man.
Positive Listening Skills
There are instances of the display of positive listening skills. This can be seen when a young Rafe was teaching Danny how to fly an airplane. They were in a make-shift plane with wooden implements for rudders and controls but Danny was all ears. He was eager to learn from Rafe and so he was listening intently and hanging on every word that was spoken.
Another example of positive listening skills can be seen when Doolittle would speak up and every soldier in attendance will dare not move because they fear that they will miss what their leader was saying to them.
There are different kinds of emotions but the most common are happiness, sadness, depression and joy (Kanu, 2009, p.56). In the movie happiness can be seen in the faces of the children when they were happy with their toys and when they are with their playmates. Happiness was also seen when the nurses get together and talk about boys.
Sadness is seen in the face of Evelyn when she realized that Rafe will have to leave her because he had to volunteer and travel overseas. Sadness was seen in the face of Danny when he was left behind while his best friend had the chance to fight the Germans in Europe.
Depression was palpable immediately after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. There seems to be no hope that they can recover from that devastation. However, this emotion was temporary because the United States had a great leader in the person of Franklin D. Roosevelt who rallied the troops and every American citizen to pitch in and help in the fight against imperialism.
Joy was felt when total victory was accomplished by the Allies against the Axis Powers. There were different emotions in the movie but there are times when the emotions are not as clear cut as the examples given just recently. Sometimes the emotions are mixed, just as in the case of Evelyn when he saw Rafe getting out of the plane safe and sound while at the same time she saw the coffin bearing the remains of Danny.
These emotions are easy to see even if the characters did not say anything to convey what they felt. The listener or the observer will only need to look at the non-verbal cues.
There are many signs such as tears that were shed and this signifies sadness. When it comes to depression no verbal skills are needed because silence speaks and communicates the heavy depression felt in their hearts. This is seen right after the surprise attack by the Japanese Imperial Army.
The bloody aftermath left many at a loss for words. Anger is seen in the wild eyes of the men especially when they are engaged in battle. Joy on the other hand is seen in the outstretched arms of the celebrators as they expressed the happiness brought by victory.
Factors Influencing Emotions
Their emotions and the way they expressed it was greatly affected by the circumstances surrounding them. This is very much evident in the middle portion of the movie when the United States declared war against the Nazis and the Japanese Imperial Army. More importantly the soldiers and their leaders were greatly affected by the events that transpired in Pearl Harbor. The destruction of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii became a rallying cry for many and it was their source of inspiration every time they are in the thick of battle.
The events in the Pacific and in Europe inspired them no end. This is very much evident every time Franklin Roosevelt would call on a meeting with his cabinet and his generals and he would be so emotional as he try to inspire them to fight their enemies. With regards to Rafe, Danny and Evelyn they were also affected by what they had to go through as friends and as lovers.
One of the most common signs of conflict is violence (West & Turner, 2009, p.306). There are plenty of instances of violence in the movie and therefore it is easy to see the relationship with the non-verbal cues that signifies that there is conflict brewing between two persons or two groups (Kalbfleisch, 1993).
Before the raid of the Japanese bombardiers who caught the Americans with their pants down in December of 1941, there was conflict within Japan. This can be seen in the agitated voices of the leaders every time they would talk about the significance of American and their need to defeat them in the Pacific.
The type of conflict that was shown in the movie is not just an ordinary dispute between neighbors. The type of conflict shown happens in a massive scale such as the plan raid on Japanese soil. In this regard war could never be stopped without fighting. It can be argued that national leaders cannot see any other way to permanently end the global conflict. Aside from the war there is also plenty of interpersonal conflict between Rafe, Danny, Evelyn and the people that they love.
Conflict brings with it negative emotions and a lot of animated conversations and facial expressions connoting fear and anger. If there is conflict then there is also negative listening. There are only a few scenes wherein a successful conflict resolution strategy was used.
Most of the time, the conflict between two people pilots and soldiers were ended by applying extreme force killing each other in the process. But there are instances when conflicts were resolved by simply talking and applying the principle of positive listening. The first example is when Rafe and Danny’s father fought each other and Rafe made terrible accusations against him. But when Danny’s father explained what he went through Rafe understood why he is a difficult person to live with.
The second instance of a successful conflict resolution is when Rafe pleaded with Evelyn for her to look into his eye exam results with favor because he has no problem with his vision but he had problem reading the letters in the chart. He made it a win-win situation for him and for her. She would be instrumental in sending one of the best pilots into the war. When she realized that she has the power to take his wings away she gave her consent and gave him the stamp of approval.
I would do the same thing to resolve this conflict with regards to the initial conflict between Evelyn and Rafe. I would make her understand that the Army Air Corps are in desperate need for fighter pilots and I would be the perfect candidate. But the only problem is a problem with reading letters of the eye chart and not necessarily my vision. I would make Evelyn feel that this is a win-win situation for both of us. Conflict must be resolved to the benefit of both parties (Hargie, Saunders & Dickson, 2000).
The attachment style that was very much evident in the movie is what was known as anxious-ambivalent (Knapp & Daly, 2002, p.154). This can be seen in the behavior of Danny. He is not secure when it comes to his self-image and this is the reason why he stayed away from forming relationships and in the movie he always stay in the background.
The person who demonstrates a secure attachment style is Rafe. He always comes forward and he always tries to lead his friends and his team. This is why he pursued Evelyn. This is the same reason why he wanted not only to become the best pilot but also to inspire the other pilots who are in the same squadron with him.
Rafe’s secure attachment style allows him to achieve a level of self-disclosure to his friends and most especially to Evelyn. He demonstrated the importance of self-disclosure (Neff, 2006). He was not afraid to tell Evelyn his dreams and desires for his future. He told her that his intention was to volunteer to the Royal Air Force and this intimate detail of his life he shared to Evelyn without any discomfort.
Watching Pearl Harbor is such a fun activity. I would definitely recommend this movie to my friends and especially to those who are studying interpersonal communication. There are so many scenes and the scope and breadth of the story allows for rich and complex interactions between colorful characters. This will enable any student of communication to find various case studies with regards to the principles of effective communication be it verbal or non-verbal skills.
Collins, S. & J. O’Rourke. (2009) Interpersonal Communication: Listening and Responding. OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Hargie, O., C. Suanders, & D. Dickson. (2000) Social Skills in Interpersonal Communication. New York: Routledge.
Kalbfleisch, P. (1993). Interpersonal Communication: Evolving Interpersonal Relationships. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Kanu, A. (2009). Reflections in Communication: An Interdisciplinary Approach. MD: University Press of America, Inc.
Knapp, M. & J. Daly. (2002). Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Neff, B. (2006) A Pastor’s Guide to Interpersonal Communication. New York: Haworth Press, Inc.
West, R. & L. Turner. (2009). Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making Choices in Changing Times. MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
The attack on Pearl Harbor Report
On the morning of December 7th, 1941, the Japanese made an attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was an unprovoked attack which caught them by surprise. This attack is known to have been a major cause of America’s entry into World War II. Following this attack, America declared war on Japan. This attack is considered to have been highly unethical. It was an uninformed attack without any formal warning by Japan. It was conducted while negotiations between the two countries were still under discussion.
This attack resulted in a lot of damage and significant loss of life. Statistics report that 2,402 men were killed and 1,282 were wounded (USSWestVirginia 2000). The Japanese carried out a series of simultaneous attacks. “They hit the American ships, military installations, military airfields, the fleet at Pearl Harbor and many others” (Navy.mil 1991).
Through these sudden and simultaneous attacks the Japanese aimed to destroy the US planes before they could fight back or defend themselves. The immense damage that the Americans suffered included the destruction of approximately 200 aircrafts and four navy battleships were sunk. On the other hand, Japan’s losses were much lighter with only around 65 fatalities.
This attack was also unethical in the context that Japan did not attack the US pacific fleet with the aim of a direct war with them. This was only a preventative measure they took to make sure that the Japanese could carry out their plans against East Asia, China, and United Kingdom without military interference from the US. Hence, all this destruction and loss of life was merely collateral damage. This uninformed attack identified Japan as treacherous and deceitful.
The outcome of this attack was that the very next day America declared war on Japan. All Americans united with their allies and just one attack changed the course of the war. It led to the internment of the Japanese in the western United States. This was the exclusion and detention of people with Japanese descent.
This gave rise to strong anti-Japanese sentiments and hostility towards them. The most important and drastic outcome of this event was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by America (History.com 2011). These unimaginable bombings marked the beginning of the nuclear age.
On the 6th of August, 1945 America conducted its first nuclear bombing on the city of Hiroshima. The bomb named “little boy” was dropped on the city. Within seconds of this bombing, “around 30% of the total population of the city was killed instantly and around 70,000 were injured severely” (Truman 1945).
All that was left of the city was just a scar in the ground and monstrous grey clouds of smoke emitting from it. “Practically all living things, human and animal, were literally burnt to death,” (Truman 1945). By the end of the year, deaths resulting from the after effects of this explosion reached up to around 166,000.
While Japan was still awestruck by this explosion, on the morning of August 9th, a second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. This bomb resulted in instant causalities ranging from 40,000 to 75,000 people. It also released large amounts of deadly radiation that spread all across the city and its surrounding areas.
This was the outcome of the attack on Pearl Harbor. These bombings initiated the nuclear age; it was the first time the world had witnessed this. After the bombing the American president Harry S Truman stated in his press release “The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor, They have been repaid many folds” (Truman 1945).
This statement of the president clearly implied that he believed the bombings were the correct way of avenging the attack at Pearl Harbor. He was in fact proud of it. If one considered the loss of life and destruction caused by Pearl Harbor to be brutal then it is obvious that the devastation caused by these bombings was far worse. Not only were there numerous immediate deaths but the radiation also caused a lot of diseases like cancer, birth retardations and other abnormalities.
Japan chose to surrender after the second bombing. If this decision hadn’t been made there were more bombings planned against them. This attack was conducted at a much greater scale than that made by the Japanese. Many innocent civilians were killed. Generations suffered because of the after effects of radiation from the bombs. While, Japan had targeted American security forces and equipment in their attacks, these bombings targeted the cities as a whole killing blameless people.
Innocent women and children lost their lives. Countless buildings including hospitals and schools were destroyed. This event was historically the most unethical and immoral ending to a war. The intensity and horror of it was so great that no other nuclear attack ever took place after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (Crane 2005). Till date these are the only nuclear activities to have taken place.
An alternate outcome to this could have been that the American government could have planned humanely. They might have targeted the security forces like Japan had done, and kept innocent civilians out of this. The bombs were used on too large a scale which was not necessary.
However, if bombing felt like the correct thing to do based on the circumstances at the time, the Japanese could have been given some kind of warning for resident evacuation from the areas. The nation was unaware of the intensity of these bombs since it was the first time they had been used. The Americans themselves were not certain of the outcome, yet they still carried out the operation.
It was stated that these bombings were carried out to put an end to World War II. If that was the case then other less destructive means could have been considered (Seligmann 2008). Most importantly, if the US was trying to highlight its hegemonic power in this war, the bombing at Hiroshima had caused enough devastation to prove it, a second bombing at Nagasaki was not necessary.
This could have saved hundreds and thousands of lives, it could have prevented the numerous diseases that resulted as a consequence of the deadly radiation. And it was after witnessing the supremacy of these nuclear attacks that other countries started investing in nuclear technology and now numerous nations’ posses it.
In both these incidents, sustainability of the target nation was not considered as it should have been. In the case of Pearl Harbor, an unannounced series of simultaneous attacks from the Japanese caused passionate feelings of dislike to arise against them. This resulted in incarceration of the Japanese Americans living in the West Coast.
The anti-Japanese sentiments resulted in mass removal and imprisonment of them. There was no criterion as to who should be exiled. All Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes and were sent to camps. Even the loyal and patriotic Japanese-Americans were not given any partiality. In some instances they were deported (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum 1999).
Those Japanese descents that had been American natives for a long time and were dedicated to the country deserved to have been shown respect and tolerance. The deporting of American national Japanese community highlighted the aspect of racism.
Some were so disturbed by the behavioral changes in the society due to Pearl Harbor that they left the country by choice. However, in 1944 a number of Japanese Americans were selected to serve in the military and intelligence services. The selection was based on merit and those who met the requirements were given positions.
List of References
Crane, Conrad C. 2005. The Atomic Bomb. Web.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. 1999. The Spirit of Hiroshima: An Introduction to the Atomic Bomb Tragedy. Hiroshima: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
History.com. 2011. Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Web.
Navy.mil .1991. Overview of the Pearl Harbor attack, 7 December 1941. Web.
Patel, D. 2007. Hibakush. Web.
Seligmann, M. 2008. The alternatives to bombing Hiroshima were not morally superior. Web.
Truman, H. August 1945. Atomic bombings of Hiroshima press release. Web.
USS West Virginia. 2000. Pearl Harbor causality list. Web
Pearl Harbor in the World War II Term Paper
Pearl Harbor is located at Hawaii. This is a lagoon that was used as the main base by the US army. It forms one of the strongest US military bases. Pearl Harbor is very significant in the history of the World War II because it is the place where the war started. This was back in 1941. The attack came as a surprise since it was not predicted. Soon after the attack of the Pearl Parlor, the Americans declared a war against Japan. This marked the beginning of the World War II.
Before the Pearl Harbor was attacked, everything went well in the harbor after the US government agreements with the Hawaii leaders. However, something terrible took place in the year 1941. This was the year when Pearl Harbor was bombed killing a very huge number of people. This took place on 7th December, 1941 (Merriam 49).
Early during the attack, a submarine had been spotted by the men who were on patrol. Later, two torpedo planes approached Pearl Harbor over Southeast Loch where it made fierce blows to the harbor (Iserbyt 2). This led to destruction of two ships, which were bombed.
Although the approaching Japanese planes were earlier detected by the radar, they were mistaken for the American planes. Therefore, there was no preparation made to counter the attacks. This reveals that the US government was not expecting any attack by the Japanese government.
As the world’s highest power, America did not expect any attack by foreign countries. Therefore, there were no adequate preparations done to counter the attack. According to the Japanese attack arrangements, the attack was to be executed in two waves. The first wave attack was expected to be the main one where most of the tasks were to be fulfilled. The second wave was then to follow where all the remaining tasks were to be completed.
Long before the Japanese attack on the U.S. at the Pearl Harbor, the two had been in continuous rivalry. A few years before the attack, their relationships had worsened. The major cause of this rivalry was the Japanese action of aggressively expanding Manchuria and China (Merriam 59). Japan was also increasingly becoming more powerful and influential. Therefore, U.S. saw it as a great threat to its status. As a result, America was ready to abort any effort made by Japan to expand its territory.
The attack of the Pearl Parlor could be anticipated sometime before the attack was executed. The main reason for the Pearl Parlor attack was to neutralize the U.S. pacific fleet. This was intended to advance Japanese mission to advance into Dutch East Indies and Malaya (WW II Archives 2000).
The Japanese wanted to venture in these regions in order to get access to the natural resources which included rubber and oil. In 1930s, Japan was already expanding into Manchuria, the fact which led to intensification of tensions. Being the world’s largest power, America posed a major threat barrier to the Japanese in their efforts. In 1930s, the tension between these two countries intensified during 1930s, this tension led to Pearl Parlor attach which marked the begging of the World War II (WW II Archives 2000).
In the year 1940, the Japanese invasion of French Indochina led the American government to impose strict sanctions against Japan. For instance, the American government stopped the shipment of airplanes, machine tools, parts as well as the aviation gasoline (WW II Archives 2000).
Later, the American government also threatens to impose more restrictions by prohibiting the sale of scrap metal. Through their ambassador to US, the Japan reacted to these restriction on the ground that they were unfriendly. However, after Japanese expansion to Indochina, U.S. stopped oil exports to Japan on July 1941 (WW II Archives 2000).
After the World War I, there were many issues that were left unresolved. This was another factor that contributed to the World War II, which began with the attack of the Pearl Harbor. These led to increased nationalistic tensions that led to the World War II.
The Pearl Harbor led the United States to enter into the World War II. This attack had a significant impact on the people especially from the political perspective. For instance, it changed the minds of the people who were opposed to war and who were not supporting the war.
From this discussion, it is clear that the main reason for the parlor attack was to protect the move to the Southern Resource Area. As a result of these tensions the Japanese government started planning for their attacks early in 1941 (WW II Archives 2000). The main objective for the Japanese attack on American Navy base at Pearl Harbor was to destroy the American fleet in order to prevent any interference in their attacks.
For instance, the Pacific Fleet posed a great threat on the Japanese conquest of the Dutch Indies. However, the success of its mission could not be guaranteed in presence of stable American navy base. Therefore, the main available option was to destroy the American naval base to prevent them from aborting its mission to conquer Dutch East Indies.
Iserbyt, Charlotte. “What we need to know about Pearl Harbor.” Deliberate dumbing down 2001. Web.
Merriam, Ray. Pearl Harbor: “This Is No Drill!” New York: Merriam Press, 1999.
WW II Archives. “Attack on Pearl Harbor.” WW II Archives, 2000. Web.
Attack on Pearl Harbor: Effects of Foreign Policy Proposal
On the seventh day of December, 1941, the Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese in what appeared as a surprised assault. The Japanese managed to attack the U.S. Naval Base through airstrike and created unimaginable destruction. Within two hours after the first bombing, the U.S. had lost more than 2,000 solders, 188 fighter jets, and more than 20 ships.
The following day, there was a unanimous vote by the congress to declare war on Japan1. Two years after the attack, the U.S. was deeply involved in the Second World War. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the then Asian giant and the U.S. had reached a deadlock on who to cede ground in their expansionism international policy. In fact, both sides knew that combat confrontation was just a matter of when and not how.
However, the U.S. neither prepared nor predicted that Japan would be the first to attack. Thus, this research proposal attempts to explicitly review the information processing errors in the U.S. foreign policy that led to the flawed decision making which led to the infamous Pearl Harbor attack.
Research problem statement
This research will review the inconsistencies in the U.S. foreign policy that made it vulnerable to the Attack on Pearl Harbor. The research will review information processing flaws that put the U.S. on the receiving end of the attack and eventual participation in the Second World War.
What were the information processing errors in the U.S. foreign policy that led to the flawed decision making that could have prevented the infamous Pearl Harbor attack?
Significance of the research
It is important to understand the impact of conflict on the state of relationship between countries. The type and nature of relationship may determine the scope of trade, military alliances, and other social benefits. The world has become a global village, and no country can survive on its own. Basically, countries depend on the local and international community friends to push for their interests in trade, politics, and security.
Thus, establishing the reasons behind the information processing errors in the U.S. foreign policy that led to the flawed decision making and the infamous Pearl Harbor surprise attack may provide a clear picture of the significance of a responsive and comprehensive foreign policy approach in handling situations with conflict of interest2.
Specifically, the surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor will be related to the actions of the U.S. before, after the attack, and eventual participation in the Second World War.
- Null hypothesis: Inconsistency in decision making resulted in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
- Alternative hypothesis: Inconsistency in decision making did not result in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
In order to comprehend the scope of this research paper, literature review will dwell on past reports, journals, and books discussing biases and their relationship to policy making process. Specifically, the literature review will review the intelligence processes, the U.S. government’s political structure, and foreign policy execution. The review will focus on the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
Several past reports and journals discuss biases beside their effects on the process of decision making. These reports review the policymakers’ psychology, conduct, and intelligence analysis. To begin with, Boin and Hart are critical in reviewing the position of cognition in global relations. The authors note that interests and power are often cognitive.
Therefore, “individuals may be influenced by personal beliefs, cognition, and experiences which are significant in directing the interstate relations flow”3.
Reflectively, it is probable to review any illogicality in the deeds of a global leader through applying models such as cognitive mapping, “consistency theory, operational code scrutiny, and automatic content examination”4. The authors present a well-researched article that provides an insight into the influence that an individual’s cognition has on state affairs.
According to George and Stern, under the groupthink theory, international affairs are equally influenced by organizational processes and bureaucratic politics of independent administrations.
Through a critical analysis of Alison’s model 2 (organizational process), Model 1 (rational actor), and Model 3 (government politics model), the authors note that there exists a “strong prima facie grounds to belief that some paradigm concentrating the analyst’s attention on organizational characteristics or processes, other than those on which Models II and III focus, might yield significant analytical gains”5.
Therefore, it is in order to state that organizational processes, governmental politics, and rational actor concepts have an impact on the process of making decisions at governmental policy level6.
Summary of theory to be used
The above sources are necessary in understanding the overall perception and public opinion on the Pearl Harbor attack. The findings of many authors provide the necessary information that identifies, validates, and corroborates the cognitive errors that policymakers make7.
Besides, the intelligence reports before this attack confirm that the U.S. government was aware of a possible attack. The policy makers should have used this information to avert the Pearl Harbor attack before it occurred. This research paper will be based on the organizational processes, rational actor, and governmental politics models.
The above literature does not cover the element of intelligence usage as a policy in international relations. Therefore, it is important to establish the link between policy inconsistencies in international relations in order to ensure that decisions made are consistent.
This research paper will attempt to fill the above research gap by studying the significant of intelligence as a policy framework in making decisions covering international relations.
The research will be carried out through quantitative research using secondary data. The research will concentrate on the current reports, journal articles, and other secondary sources that are relevant to the research topic8. The researcher will examine the previous relationship between the U.S. and Japan, and how the Pearl Harbor attack affected their economic, political, and military relationships.
Research identification and operationalization
Dependability will be assured by providing clear, detailed, and sequential descriptions of data collection and analysis procedures. It is a quality that is reliant on the study design being congruent with clear research question, having an explicit explanation of the status and roles of the researcher.
Besides, quality involves providing findings with meaningful parallelism across data sources, specification of basic theoretical constructs and analytical frameworks, and data collection across a range of settings. This study seeks to fulfill these criteria as much as possible.
A full effort will be made to accurately and faithfully transcribe data from the secondary sources. The findings will be supported by credible secondary information sources. The collected quantitative data will be coded and passed through Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version seventeen.
In the process, cross tabulation will be used to review the information processing errors in the U.S. foreign policy that led to the flawed decision making which led to the infamous Pearl Harbor attack. In order to quantify the relationship between the independent and dependent variable, ANOVA will be essential.
During the data collection phase of this study, the researcher will strive to uphold ethics appertaining to scientific research. The data collected will not be used for any other purpose rather than for which it was primarily intended for. Dependability will be assured by providing clear, detailed and sequential descriptions of data collection and analysis procedures.
Research justification and summary of analysis procedure
The quantitative approach was informed by the fact that the secondary research requires a dynamic and subjective approach to establish the facts of the research. Quantitative approach is significant in gaining the accurate insight in to the facts of the case study results.
Besides, this method of data analysis is flexible and consists of tools for reviewing the degree of confidence from the primary assumptions9. Therefore, making use of the method of data analysis will ensure that the results are evidence based and scientific within the scope of the case study framework.
Limitations of the research design and bias discussion
One major weakness of this quantitative analysis, especially for secondary data, is that it tends to transform the data into semi-quantitative data by giving it labels and tags. In this case, the qualitative data from secondary sources will be tagged and labeled according to the research question and research objective they address, thus limiting scope of analysis.
However, a major strength of the methodology is that it helps in analyzing all themes, which have implications on the research questions; hence the bias will be minimal. In spite of its inability to highlight themes that are external to the research questions conclusively, the methodology is appropriate for this study.
In other words, the researcher will study the texts from the data collected trying to identify the concepts that relate to the research questions and objectives to minimize any bias. Besides, content analysis and thematic analysis are closely related, especially in the context of the current study. Fortunately, both of them are hinged on the research question for this research case study.
Baron, Robert. “So Right it’s wrong: Groupthink and the Ubiquitous Nature of Polarized Group.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 37, no. 1 (July 2005): 219- 252.
Boin, Arjen, and Paul Hart. “Public Leadership in Times of Crisis: Mission Impossible?” Public Administration Review 63, no. 5, (May 2003): 544-554.
Brandstrom, Annika, Fredrik Bynander, and Paul Hart. “Governing by Looking Back: Historical Analogies and Crisis Management,” Public Administration 82, no. 1, (Jan 2004): 191-210.
George, Alexander, and Andrew Bennet. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences: How to Do Case Studies. Massachusetts, Ma: MIT Press, 2005.
George, Alexander, and Erick Stern. “Harnessing Conflict in Foreign Policy Making: From Devil’s to Multiple Advocacy,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 32, no. 3 (May 2002): 484-508.
Jordan, Jennifer, Niro Sivanathan, and Adam Galinsky. “Something to Lose and Nothing to Gain: The Role of Stress in Interactive Effect of Power and Stability on Risk Taking.” Administrative Science Quarterly 56, no. 4, (June 2003): 530-558.
Maitlis, Sally, and Hakan Ozcelik. “Toxic Decision Processes: A Study of Emotion and Organizational Decision Making.” Organization Science 15, no. 4, (Dec 2004): 275-393.
Taylor, Andrew, and John Rourke. “Historical Analogies in the Congressional Foreign Policy Process.” The Journal of Politics 57, no. 2, (May 1995): 460-468.
1 Robert Baron, “So Right it’s Wrong: Groupthink and the Ubiquitous Nature of Polarized Group,” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 37, no. 1 (July 2005): 236.
2 Annika Brandstrom, Fredrik Bynander and Paul Hart, “Governing by Looking Back: Historical Analogies and Crisis Management,” Public Administration 82, no. 1, (Jan 2004): 203.
3 Arjen Boin and Paul Hart, “Public Leadership in Times of Crisis: Mission Impossible?” Public Administration Review 63, no. 5, (May 2003): 549.
4 Jennifer Jordan, Niro Sivanathan, and Adam Galinsky, “Something to Lose and Nothing to Gain: The Role of Stress in Interactive Effect of Power and Stability on Risk Taking,” Administrative Science Quarterly 56, no. 4, (June 2003): 540.
5 Alexander George and Erick Stern, “Harnessing Conflict in Foreign Policy Making: From Devil’s to Multiple Advocacy,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 32, no. 3 (May 2002): 491.
6 Sally Maitlis and Hakan Ozcelik, “Toxic Decision Processes: A Study of Emotion and Organizational Decision Making,” Organization Science 15, no. 4, (Dec 2004): 281.
7 Andrew Taylor and John Rourke, “Historical Analogies in the Congressional Foreign Policy Process,” The Journal of Politics 57, no. 2, (May 1995): 466.
8 Alexander George and Andrew Bennet, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences: How to Do Case Studies (Massachusetts, Ma: MIT Press, 2005), 79.
9 Alexander George and Andrew Bennet, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences: How to Do Case Studies (Massachusetts, Ma: MIT Press, 2005), 79.
Pearl Harbor Attack Descriptive Essay
Pearl Harbor is located at Hawaii in the United States of America. This was a military base of the US military forces during the Second World War. Japan was very keen on conquering the larger Asian region, having successfully suppressed China. It had entered into an alliance with Germany and Italy.
This alliance formed the central power that would fight the allied forces led by Britain. This country was one of the strongest nations during the Second World War and its leaders were keen on asserting their control in Asian region.
The United States of America had taken a low profile in the war at the beginning. It preferred supplying both weapons and food to both sides. This stabilized it economically, which would later help it in strengthening its military. Japan was weary of the US and wanted to suppress it as it was the only threat to Japan’s conquest.
The German soldiers convinced Japan that Britain and France were under control. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republicans was still recovering from the German attack. The only threat was the United States of America (Rottman 45).
Tension between the two countries started building up in early 1940s. Both countries were suspicious of each other. The US was keenly monitoring the rate at which Japan was arming itself. Japan was also aware that the US was heavily armed.
Japan therefore decided to attack the US for one main reason, which was to offer the US a devastating blow that would completely discourage it from going to war. They expected that after the attack, the US either would be too weak to join the war or would be scared. This would enable their advancement to other Asian countries since there could not be any threat from major powers.
In 25 November 1941, Japan decided to launch its offensive. It attacked the US military base at Pearl Harbor. This was one of the US main military bases located in Hawaii. This resulted to death of over 2400 Americans and wounded about 1300 people. Several ships were also destroyed and the harbor was damaged, though not to a large extent.
The US had expected such an occurrence but had not predicted this kind of damage. The damage would have been worse but it was poorly planned. Furthermore, the military strength of the US forces was under-estimated by the Japanese senior commanders. It did not take much to repair the ships and get them back to the sea.
The United States of American responded to this attack very swiftly. It was convinced that Japan was an enemy that could no longer be assumed. They could no longer watch this war from the fence but had to join it actively. They declared war on Japan. This immediate cause forced America to join the Second World War officially.
This reaction was expected by German and Italy, which responded immediately by declaring war on the US. However, Japan did not expect this eventuality. They expected the US to be scared meaning that it could not be in a position to join the war.
The United States of America entered the war for two major reasons. One of it was to save its friendly nations such as Britain and France, which were under siege. In addition, it had to react to the attack on its military base. Although the US helped in suppressing the all-powerful Germany, its main target was Japan.
Rottman, Gordon. World War 2 Pacific Island Guide. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. Print.
Pearl Harbor History Annotated Bibliography
Originally known as Wai Momi, Pearl of Harbor doubles as the home for the United States Navy base and the US Pacific Fleet in contemporary times. The history of Pearl of Harbor is long; however, some events that happened here evoke sad memories of a sad past. The most important event that took place here is the attack of the American Pacific Fleet by Japan in 1941.
Many American warships berthed in Pearl Harbor on different occasions but the activities around this place went unnoticed just like in any other lagoon harbor around the world. Nevertheless, the events of Sunday December 7, 1941 opened up Pearl Harbor to the world. The attack did not happen overnight; no, it was a culmination of a long-standing feud between the US and Japan.
Seemingly, the attack was the only feasible way out of the tension that was developing between America and Japan day after the other. This library project focuses on the ill-fated Japanese attack that occurred at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Before the attack, the Imperial Japanese Navy was planning to attack the British and the Dutch armies in South East Asia; consequently, because the Japanese Navy feared the American army would get involved in protecting the Britain, they decided to attack the American navy first before proceeding with their mission (Peattie & Evans 64).
Therefore, the Japanese army embarked on intense training, which Barnhart describes as training for war founded on decisive battle philosophy that sought to destroy all battleships involved or at least the maximum number possible (23). The events that preceded the December 7 attack indicated an impending war whose time had come. According to Takeo, the relationship between Japan and America was tense and each knew war would be the ultimate eventuality (45).
The United States of America had continually opposed Japan’s extension into Asia and especially into China. The imminent tensions surfaced in 1940 following Japan’s invasion of Indochina after which the US retaliated by stopping gasoline and airplane export to Japan. In 1941, President Roosevelt deepened the tensions by moving the Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Hawaii coupled with the subsequent establishment of military exercises in the Philippines; a move seen as an attempt to deter Japan’s interest in Fareast.
America was increasingly becoming Japan’s obstacle in her exploits to control greater parts of Far East; finally, Japan decided that, attack was the best defense; as a result, the Japan Navy planned to strike the US Pacific Fleet located at the Pearl Harbor. Nevertheless, this was going to be a high stake gamble, which called for serious preparations.
The Japanese Navy took their time to prepare for the attack. The preparation part of it entailed formulating objectives of the attack, a subject that has drawn deep controversies in the recent past. Nevertheless, the chief objective was to destroy as many as possible American warships to cripple the Pacific Fleet’s involvement in any defense strategy towards shielding the Britain in Far East should Japan strike (Willmott 76).
The cause of the attack notwithstanding, Japan was determined to strike the American Pacific Fleet and she never relented on this pursuit. On November 26, 1941, six aircraft carriers left Japan for Hawaii as the battle day drew near. On the other hand, fleet submarines left for Oahu to wait for the day of attack (Hixson 46). The attack strategy entailed two phases, the primary wave aimed at grounding all major military establishments on the Pearl Harbor, and the secondary wave aimed at destroying the remains of the primary wave.
Just before the attack, two aircrafts went ahead to survey Oahu and identify the constitution and position of the American Pacific Fleet. Japan then declared war on the US by sending message that, any peace negotiations were unwelcome and that Japan would announce her next course of action after few days (Donald & Dillon 79). Unfortunately, due to its bulkiness, the message delayed and only managed to reach Washington a day after the war (French 6).
Then the attack came; the first wave of attack encompassed 183 warplanes attacking Oahu followed by the second wave, comprised of 171 warplanes among other war machines including battleships. The primary wave was divided into three groups each attacking from a different frontier while the secondary wave boasted the same number of groups. The groups launched their attacks simultaneously, a show of how to some extent, the attacks were organized.
Calvocoressi, Guy, and Pritchard posit that, among the important war machineries grounded in this attack were, “Helena the light cruiser, Shaw the destroyer, Curtis the seaplane tender, and Oglala the minelayer among others” (73). According to Higham and Harris, about four Japanese warplanes stalled in the middle of the attack possibly due to a technical hitch (97).
The attack lasted for one and half-hours leaving behind “2,386 Americans dead…1139 wounded, eighteen ships sunk, and five battleships grounded” (Toland 9). At this point, the Pearl Harbor was grounded. Fortunately, the American Pacific Fleet retaliated in time to prevent any attempt to launch a third wave of attack.
By the time, the Japanese Navy launched its second wave of attack; the American side had recollected itself and responded appropriately. In the retaliation, the American side managed to destroy Japan’s 414 aircrafts, killing 55 Japanese soldiers (Levine 132). After the attack, salvage efforts started led by Captain Homer Wallin and managed to re-float several ships even though it took almost six months to clear the first ship of debris and water. Conroy and Harry observe that, it took over one year to complete the salvage work (60).
One day after the attack, the then USA president, Roosevelt called for formal resolution of war against Japan, something that the Congress approved within one hour (Raymer 19). Following the America’s declaration of war against Japan, Germany and Italy announced war against the US and this heralded the subsequent birth of World War II.
Were it not for the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack, the mention of ‘Pearl Harbor’ would go unnoticed by many people in the contemporary America. However, the events of the morning of December 7, 1941 left many Americans puzzled by what seemingly incapable Japan would do. No one would have imagined Japan attacking the USA; nevertheless, to the surprise of many, she did. Japan wanted to guard her growing interests in the Far East at any cost and not even the apparently powerful America would stand in her way.
To prove this, Japan sniffed America’s invisible hand in defending the Britain in the Far East and she resolved to destroy the master before destroying the servant. Unfortunately, the contrivers of this attack were shallowly informed; consequently, they laid down weak strategies doomed to fail, and they did fail indeed. After the attack, the US recollected herself, declared war against Japan, and later entered into World War II without relenting. Pearl Harbor became known, courtesy of this attack.
Barnhart, M. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919-1941. London: Cornell University Press, 1987
Calvocoressi, P, Guy W., and Pritchard J. The Penguin History of the Second World War. London: Penguin Group, 2001.
Conroy, H., and Harry W. Pearl Harbor Reexamined: Prologue to the Pacific War. USA: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.
Donald, G., and Dillon K. Eds. The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans. VA: Brassey’s, 1999.
French, H. “Pearl Harbor Truly a Sneak Attack, Papers Show”. The New York Times 9 December 1999. Print.
Higham, R., and Harris S. Why Air Forces Fail: The Anatomy of Defeat. USA: University Press of Kentucky, 2006.
Hixson, W. The American Experience in World War II: The United States and the Road to war in Europe. London: Routledge, 2003.
Levine, E. A Fence Away from Freedom: Japanese Americans and World War II. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Son, 1995.
Peattie, M, and Evans D. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in The Imperial Japanese Navy. USA: Naval Institute Press, 1997.
Raymer, E. Descent into Darkness. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1996.
Takeo, I. Demystifying Pearl Harbor: A New Perspective from Japan. Japan: I-House Press, 2010.
Toland, J. Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1986.
Willmott, P. The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies, February to June 1942. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1983.
Why Did the Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor? Research Paper
Despite the great industrialization of the Japan, it has never had any natural resources such as petroleum and Ores. Therefore, it had always depended on importation of ores and petroleum in order to supply its industries with the needed raw materials. Before 1939, the United States of America was Japan’s major supply of ores and petroleum. Nevertheless, the situation changed when Japan continued its hostility towards China.
In an effort to stop the hostility of Japan towards China, the president of United States of America president Roosevelt and the Secretary of States Cordell Hull exerted pressure on Japan. When Japan refused to yield up to their demand, the United States of America stopped supplying Japan with the raw materials that were needed to run their industries.
Japan’s refusal to heed to the demand of the American government was highly attributed to the fact that Japan was not willing to give up the control of the Manchuria region in China that acted as a very strategic location, where it could get unlimited supply of raw materials for its industries as well as a strategic market for its manufactured products. Japan had always coveted the rich resources that were present in British and Dutch colonies of Southeast Asia.
Thus, with the shutdown of U.S.A. supply, Japan increasingly looked southwards for the supply of raw materials for its industries. Japan considered the U.S. as its only hindrance in its effort of obtaining raw materials from the Southeast and especially its naval base at Pearl Harbor (U.S. Army Center for Military History par. 2-4)
The United States of America Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor was the only existing power that could negate Japan’s navy. From a long time association of Americans and Japanese as they transacted business along the Pacific, the Japanese knew that the American had established a very strong naval base at Pearl Harbor.
Therefore, they knew that by bombing the Pearl Harbor which held Americans naval force, they will be able to completely destroy the American military force in Pacific region. Subsequently, the bombing of the Pearl Harbor surely enabled the Japanese to completely cripple down any American immediate retaliation effort.
The Japanese also understood that the American military bases at Philippines could also interfere with their effective communications between Japan home Island and the East Indies. Therefore, after bombing the Pearl Harbor, Japan proceeded with an immediate attack of the American military bases that were located in Philippines in order to negate any immediate Americans retaliation force (Answers. Com par. 3).
Every oil tanker that was heading to Japan had to pass through the Pearl Harbor that was heavily manned by the American troops. Consequently, the Japanese did not have another option, but to attack the Pearl Harbor in order to weaken the U.S. fleet that was based there.
The Japanese organized a surprise attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor in order neutralize the American fleet at the Harbor. Consecutively, Japan had planned to destroy American central pacific bases at Guam and Wake Island as well as those located in Philippines. Japan believed that by crippling the American naval power at Pearl Harbor, Japan will be better placed to conquer Malaya, Singapore, Burma as well as Dutch East Indies.
Through this process, Japan had anticipated to establish a defensive ring around its conquered areas by fortifying island in the south and Central Pacific. The attack of the Pearl Harbor was meant to convince the Americans to participate in World War II, which Japan anticipated was a strategic move that will force America to accept a negotiation of peace in the Pacific region (Christie 85).
The Pearl Harbor was preferred as the best Japanese striking spot because of its strategic location. The Japanese had other options where they had planned to strike the Americans. San Francisco as well as the large costal cities were among the other options that Japan had anticipated to strike.
They opted for Pearl Harbor due to its proximity to Japan than other alternatives they had considered. Those Islands that comprised of Philippines and Pearl Harbor were located 8,000 miles from the American west cost, but only 200 miles away from Japan. Therefore, Japan troops had had considered that they had lesser distance to travel compared to the American troops. Japan knew that the closer they came to American coasts, the higher their risks of being detected was.
They also realized that they could not attack Americans from the mainland because they had to pass the Hawaii on their way back which will make the Americans retaliation force catch up with them. Therefore, by Japan considering all those factors, they opted for the Pearl Harbor as the most strategic location for striking.
Japan had anticipated that by striking the U.S Pacific Fleet that opposed its conquest of the South East Asia and the Pacific Island, they would be successful to conquer all the territory they had desired to conquer. They believed that even if the American will be able to rebuild their Fleet back, they will not be in a position to dislodge the Japanese from their conquered territories.
America had established an international movement to isolate Japan economically in order to force it to withdraw its control over Manchuria in China. Subsequently, the USA had already taken some appropriate measures by cutting off credit to Japan that was tailored to make Japan economically unstable to afford to purchase petroleum which was a vital resource for its industries and military. Japan petroleum mainly originated from USA, Dutch East Indies and Burma with the last two being British colonies.
Japan knew that by destroying the USA naval forces in the Pacific region, Japan navy will then be the strongest in the pacific region which will help Japan to overcome the economical consequences of the USA ultimatum. By defeating the USA navy, Japan had anticipated to conquer the Dutch East Indies as well as Burma and control the oil that was produced there in order to use it in their industries and military.
The striking of the Pearl Harbor was as anticipated by Japan. Japan was successful in crippling the American Fleet. Consecutively, Japan was successful in defeating the Dutch East Indies and Burma. The British navy under the instructions from Churchill tried to intervene and contain the Japan naval, but was not successful to fight the Japan strong navy. Therefore, Japan eventually succeeded to control all the oil producing areas in Southeast Asia (Marshall 216).
In addition, Japan opted to attack the Pearl Harbor because they believed that since America was a nation that was comprised of diverse races of people that Americans could not act as a united singular force. This was a mistake for the Japan, because when Japan continued with their attacks on US navy and Air forces in order to extend their territory to include China; the United States of America was successful in negating Japan’s efforts and thus defeated Japan when it bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki towns in Japan that led Japan to surrender (Rosenberg par. 3).
Answers. Com. “Why did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor?” 2011.
Christie, Clive.Southeast Asia in the twentieth century. New York: Tauris Publishers.
Marshall, Jonathan. To Have and Have Not: Southeast Asian Raw Materials and Source of Pacific War. California: University of California Press, 1995
Rosenberg, Jennifer. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 2011.
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Pearl Harbor and 9/11: Intelligence Failure Essay
Some of the most dreadful incidents in the US are easy to pinpoint. Such cases include the death of President John Kennedy, the Pearl Harbor attack, and the 9/11 terrorist assault. In particular, the Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 may be viewed as the most traumatic events, considering the tension they caused in the entire US. Remarkably, many studies have continuously compared the two events pointing that they share many similarities. The most prominent claim, which forms the basis of the discussion in this paper, is that both events were a case of intelligence failure. Indeed, the cases of intelligence failure reoccur with disappointing regularity.
Subsequently, a committee is formed to identify the faults and/or recommend how they can be averted. Both traumatic events led to the formation of a body to investigate of the shortfalls. Based on the findings of the bodies and the ongoing discussion among Americans concerning the similarities, the ensuing discourse compares the events of 7 December and 11 September. The initial section will briefly describe the facts of the incidents. Subsequently, it will offer a comparison of the intelligence failure in both cases with a substantial consideration of the intelligence process. The discussion will conclude that the events were more different, rather than similar as many people suggest.
Facts of 9/11 and the Pearl Harbor Attack
The Pearl Harbor Incident
The attacks of the Pearl Harbor began during late 1941. About 350 Japanese planes struck the US Pacific Fleet based in Pearl Harbor and the neighboring airfields. The synchronized attack lasted for about two hours, leaving appalling results. About 2,400 Americans died while 1000 others suffered injuries. Close to 10 battleships were dented while more than 160 American planes were damaged. The Japanese people only lost about 30 aircrafts and five submarines. About 185 Japanese soldiers were also killed while others were injured. Evidently, Americans lost in the attack. Traditionally, the expected ratio of an aggressor against a defender should be three to one. At the close of 1941, the ratio was nothing close to the normal ratio. One Japanese casualty accounted for every twenty Americans deaths or injuries. The scenario was not only disheartening but also unforeseen.
Americans were devastated. Four investigative bodies were established to examine the probable causes of the attack and/or recommend the way forward. Justice Owen J. Roberts led the first panel. He was serving as the Supreme Court Associate Justice. The panel also comprised retired Army Generals and Navy admirals. After conducting its investigation, the Roberts Commission concluded that top Army and Navy officials in Hawaii should have been held accountable for the traumatic events that occurred in 7 December. Subsequently, according to Blewett (2015, p. 86), the Navy and Army who were in charge of the Hawaii jurisdiction were relieved of their duties.
After the Roberts Commission completed the assignment, the Army Pearl Harbor Board was instituted under the leadership of the Secretary of War, as well as Secretary of the Navy, to examine information concerning the calamity. The panel performed its duty for three months, collecting data from 151 witnesses. Its investigations were far much overstretched compared to the Roberts Commission. Soon after, Senator Alben W. Barkley led a Joint Committee in analyzing the consequences and factors that caused the Japanese people to attack America (Cole 2010, p. 8).
The committee, which comprised members of different parties, condemned the performance of national defense structure as being responsible for the distressing impact of the Pearl Harbor assault. Indeed, the subsequent investigations that were conducted after the Roberts Commission mainly due to the congressional dissatisfaction with the findings of the presidents initiated the establishment of a panel to recheck the matter (Markham 2005, p. 217).
Cole (2010, p. 14) asserts that the findings of the investigating panel constantly implied that the US should have foreseen a potential attack from Japan. The apprehensive relationship between the US and Japan began when the US confronted the Philippines back in 1898. The Japanese government considered the American action an assault on Japan. The situation was further exacerbated when America pushed Japan to opt for a warship ratio that they had disliked in 1922. Japan did not welcome this diplomatic triumph. Instead, it created a hostile relationship between the two governments. However, American intelligence had sources that spied the Japanese military prowess. Hence, the US had no need to fear.
Meanwhile, Japan was constantly disturbed by on its conquests. It sought to take actions to cripple the Americans. Attacking America’s principle war instrument, namely the US Pacific Fleet, and/or defending any counter attacks appeared as the most viable option to remove America from the Japanese territories in East Asia. Conversely, the US did not conceive that such an attack could occur since it underestimated Japanese potential (Markham 2005, p. 219). However, consuls, shipmasters, and other relevant officials were reporting on Japanese forces moving southwards. Despite receiving information on Japan’s potential, the US government only viewed such an attack as irrational, especially because it (the US) was a superpower. Therefore, the notion that the Pearl Harbor was an intelligence failure is defensible. This claim will become clearer in the subsequent sections of this paper.
The 9/11 Attack
According to Perrow (2005, p. 99), the 9/11 assault comprised a sequence of four synchronized extremists attacks that were perpetuated by the Al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist movement. The attackers directed their assault on key figurative American landmarks. About 20 Al-Qaeda extremists seized four airplanes headed to California and directed them to specific buildings in the US, including Pentagon, North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, and in Pennsylvania. The results of the attack were tragic. About 2,996 lives were lost and property worth $10 billion demolished. In total, the cost of damage was $3 trillion. Several police officers and firefighters died in the process of rescuing the victims. The attack destabilized the American economy, particularly the Lower Manhattan area where it affected citizens from more than ninety nations (Blewett 2015, p. 86).
Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, initially refuted any involvement in the attack but later accepted responsibility. He asserted that the assault was a response to the US constant funding of Israel and other non-Islamic regimes in Muslim-dominated countries. Khalid Sheikh Mohamed did the investigations in 1996 before bin Laden authorized him (Mohamed) to continue with the idea in 1999. Under the leadership of bin Laden, the terrorist movement identified jihadists who were best qualified to perform the attack (Marrin 2011, p. 182).
Accomplishing the task relied highly on the capability of the attackers to get American visas and successfully go through the US Immigration Checkers. Moreover, they sought to live in America unnoticed to perfect the plan. Consequently, the hijackers acquired the necessary documents, entered the country, and adopted a normal life of the inhabitants. For instance, in preparing the September 11, the perpetrators even took flight training in American schools. The hijackers acquired the skills that could help them to operate the planes (Lowenthal 2014, p. 20).
The situation led to the reorganization of the government, legislation of new policies, and the formation of panels to investigate the assault. The Department of Homeland Security was established to devise mechanisms for preventing terrorist activities in the US. Nonetheless, suspicions also rose among citizens who questioned how the government could fail to detect such an attack (Marrin 2011, p. 184). The Joint Inquiry was formed to respond to such doubts. However, the citizens did not welcome the findings. Markham (2005, p. 219) asserts that the 9/11 Commission had to go through many setbacks before submitting its reports. Reports such as the 9/11 have shown that the US had the capability to predict the occurrence of the Al-Qaeda-driven incident. The intelligence failure in 9/11 reminded most Americans of the Pearl Harbor and probably triggered the popular assertion that the attacks share many things. The subsequent section will examine the intelligence failure of these two traumatic national disasters in the American history.
According to Blewett (2015, p. 87), there are several similarities between the Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks. Both are claimed to have occurred because of intelligence failure. To determine the validity of this claim, consideration has been made on whether there was sufficient information to point to the probability of occurrence of an attack and/or whether the attacks would have been curtailed by proper analysis and dissemination of the information. It is also important to understand the role played by American intelligence bureaucracy concerning the inability to stop the attacks. In December 1941, the Pearl Harbor attack occurred in Hawaii. The strategic intelligence was aware that an attack on the US was likely to occur.
Admiral Kimmel and General Short of the Navy and Army respectively were tasked with preparing for war with Japan in Hawaii in 1941. The war was caused by the role that the US was playing in trying to quell Japanese aggression in Asia. An official message of preparation for war was disseminated from the superiors in Washington, including Admiral Harold R. Stark and General George Marshall. The information was released in November 1941 warning of an impending and probable attack over the following few days because of the failure of their negotiations with Japan and Japan’s acts of aggression.
In the September 11 attacks, the strategic intelligence was also aware of the probability of an attack occurring on the US soil. The Al-Qaeda had attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, the Kenyan and Tanzanian US embassies in 1998, and Yemen in 2000. These acts were indicators to the intelligence offices of the likelihood of the US being the target of a terrorist attack (Lowenthal 2014, p. 31).
Strategic intelligence was aware of the probability of Hawaii being the target of an attack during the December 7 attacks. After the two officers, Kimmel and Short had taken office, they received official reports of the possibility of a surprise attack commencing Japanese hostilities. The attack was probably going to be on the Fleet or Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. The report also gave information that the most likely means of attack would be air bombing or air torpedo, which would require aircrafts as carriers. There was also intelligence information to the US on the probability of the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Following the Islamic extremists attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, it became apparent to the US intelligence that it was probable for it to be a target of attack. On the other hand, the Pentagon is the control and command center of the US Armed Forces. For this reason, it was a very probable target. Information was available proving that the attack on a US target was imminent before the Pearl Harbor assault. The information was disseminated from Washington on November 27, 1941. It mentioned the possible target areas and the means of attack, as well as the timeline, which was within a few days from the time of the notice (Blewett 2015, p. 87).
Conversely, although there was information showing the probability of an attack occurring, there was none to indicate the imminence of the US being attacked before the 9/11 attacks. There was no information to indicate the specific location of either the Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 attacks. Decrypted messages from the Japanese diplomatic agencies indicated that there would be an attack on the US soil on 7 December 1941.
However, the information was not of any help to the officers because the intelligence indicated that the most probable targets of attack would be their forces in Guam or Philippines. Although there was the lack of intelligence, the sinking of a submarine at 6.40am at the Pearl Harbor should have acted as intelligence or a tactical warning that would have given the intelligence team one and a quarter hours’ notice that would have made a difference in how the attack played out. There was no information that indicated to the US intelligence that the Pentagon or World Trade Center was going to be attacked by the Al-Qaeda in the immediate future (Marrin 2011, p. 185).
Before both the Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks, there was intelligence on the methods of attack that were deemed most probable in the event of an attack. Both of them were predicted to be carrier airstrikes or commercial airliners. In 1924, after his Asia tour, Brigadier General Bill Mitchell indicated that Hawaii was likely to be attacked by a carrier airstrike. Additionally, in 1930, Naval War College conducted war games, which indicated that a carrier attack was most probable (Perrow 2005, p. 101). The message that was given from Washington on 27 November 1941 also indicated that an airstrike was the most probable means of hitting in the impending attacks.
Before the 9/11 attacks, intelligence experts conjectured for over ten years that a commercial airliner would be used by terrorists as a flying weapon to attack the US. 1n 1993, a report by Marvin Cetron indicated that airplanes posed a threat of being used for bombing. According to the report, an airstrike would make it possible for the US White House and Pentagon to be hit concurrently. The officers who were tasked with preventing the Hawaii attack had more information to examine as compared to those who were in operation during the 9/11 attacks (Lowenthal 2014, p. 32).
In both attacks, there was no information to indicate that the Japanese or the Al-Qaeda would use airliners or carriers. There was no certainty, but only information of probability. The US Navy was aware of Japan’s intimidating carrier capacity. However, the Navy failed to know about Japanese policies that allowed carriers’ autonomy of operation from the rest of the surface ships. The Navy was also oblivious of the planned Japanese airstrike on the US Fleet based in Hawaii. As for the 9/11 attacks, despite the speculation by Marvin Cetron of an airstrike as a means of attack on the US, the counterterrorism unit of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) considered an airborne suicide bombing one of the many probable means of attack on the US. However, the US intelligence had no knowledge by concerning Al-Qaeda’s plot to hijack a commercial airliner for the purpose of aerial bombing (Lowenthal 2014, p. 33).
Before the Pearl Harbor attack, the US Navy was aware of the Japanese capability to conduct an air attack on Hawaii. Information available to intelligence agencies indicated the probability of the attacks on Hawaii being airstrikes. They were also aware that Japan was well armed and that it was capable of unleashing an attack. They were also aware that Japan preferred surprise attacks and that the US no longer had a track of the Japanese carriers. Conversely, before the 9/11 attacks, the US did not have information that the Al-Qaeda had the capacity to unleash an airstrike on Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was aware that Al-Qaeda had used high explosives on previous occasions to bomb the US targets. However, the agency did not have information that the Al-Qaeda had the capacity to operate an airstrike. Although it was aware that the Al-Qaeda could hijack commercial planes, it did not imagine that the terrorist group had the expertise to fly the plane independently and convert it into an aerial bomb (Lowenthal 2014, p. 34).
Contrary to the case of the 9/11 attack, there was the tactical intelligence of an attack on the Pearl Harbor. In December 1941, the USS Ward sank a submarine at the Pearl Harbor entrance. This event alone would have given the US a tactical advantage of seventy-five minutes. Additionally, the Army sensor discovered an increased number of aircraft approaching Oahu. This discovery was made early in the morning. It would have been an indicator of the predicted Japanese attack. However, the officers in charge dismissed the signs, speculating on the significance of the occurrences. It was only after the first bomb was released that they realized that the attack was occurring. For the 9/11 attacks, the first plane struck the World Trade Center at some few minutes to 9 a.m., although the case was misreported by media as an accident (Marrin 2011, p. 185). Nevertheless, fifteen minutes later, the second plane hit the south tower. The nature of the attack was then realized.
The above situation brings up the issue of indications and warnings, which may be more apparent in cases of war as compared to terrorism. Terrorism comes mostly with the element of surprise and less need for large numbers of people, thus making it harder to detect. Indications and warnings had been present during the December 7 attacks, including the encrypted diplomatic messages and the sinking of the submarine, as well as the increase in the number of the aircraft in the army’s radar. However, the officers dismissed the warnings. There is a possibility that the US would have found indications and warnings for the 9/11 attacks, had there not been a great underestimation of the capacity of the Al-Qaeda to attack (Marrin 2011, p. 186).
Both the December 7 and September 11 attacks are examples of intelligence failure. However, a difference is evident in the circumstances that surrounded them. The former had more information about the attack as compared to the latter. Therefore, it is important to scrutinize the difference in the cause of intelligence failure in the two cases. In the Pearl Harbor attack, the responsibility of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) was to collect information that would have protected Hawaii from the attacks. Only the Navy and Army had the intelligence services to gather such information.
Given the impending threat posed to Hawaii and Guam, ONI had the responsibility to keep track of Japanese aircraft, ships, ordinance, and any of the Japanese policies that would be a threat to the US. Because ONI did not have spies in Tokyo, it used an American Naval attaché who gathered information from print media and other public information sources. Linguistic and cultural barriers made it even harder for the body to collect information (Cole 2010, p. 3). Therefore, the US intelligence remained in the dark about the attack. As for the 9/11, it is argued that if the US had missed several opportunities, and that had it had been more skillful in considering the threat posed by Al-Qaeda, the plot would have been uncovered (Blewett 2015, p. 88).
The world is quickly transforming and becoming more hostile. Any slight mistake from the security department may have significant consequences. Intelligence practitioners should consider all information they receive with much gravity. Otherwise, any laxity may lead to tragic events such as those of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks. While most individuals believe that 7 December and September 11 have a lot in common, the two had obvious differences. As a matter of intelligence failure, the nature of the two catastrophes was disparate. While Hawaii Army and Navy officials had adequate facts to anticipate the occurrence of the Pearl Harbor attack, FBI did not have a proper intelligence to avert the attack.
Blewett, D 2015, ‘Surprise Attack: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to Benghazi’, Library Journal, vol. 140, no. 15, pp. 85-92.
Cole, L 2010, ‘Special National Investigative Commissions: Essential Powers and Procedures (Some Lessons from the Pearl Harbor, Warren Commission, and 9/11 Commission Investigations)’, McGeorge Law Review, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 1-61.
Lowenthal, M 2014, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, SAGE Publications, New Delhi.
Markham, I 2005, ‘The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11’, Conversations in Religion & Theology, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 217-236.
Marrin, S 2011, ‘The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks: A Failure of Policy Not Strategic Intelligence Analysis’, Intelligence & National Security, vol. 26, no. 3, pp.182-202.
Perrow, C 2005, ‘A Symposium on the 9/11 Commission Report’, Contemporary Sociology, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 99-107.
Pearl Harbor Attack: Paranoia and Conspiracy Essay
Conspiracy theories are hypotheses that represent a sequence of socially significant events, some historical phenomenon, or the course of history in general as a result of a conspiracy organized by a group of people that manage this process in personal, group, or other interests. The theory of global conspiracy excites the minds of millions of people all over the world from ancient times. People believe in the power of the alien or the collusion of doctors, covering thus their fears, inaction, and hope for the future.
According to a conspiracy theory related to the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt was informed of the impending attack and had not warned military commanders in Hawaii in order to involve the country in World War II while the majority of Americans and, in particular, members of Congress were against entering the war in Europe (King 2012). It is argued that Roosevelt had been warned by the authorities of Great Britain, Australia, Peru, Korea, and the Soviet Union. However, the President did nothing to minimize the US government losses. In this connection, the core issue under discussion is why people believe in the above theory and even support it.
First, in order to analyze the question in-depth, it seems essential to point several crucial moments of this story. December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft carrier crept to the Hawaiian Islands in the strike distance and hit at 7:55 AM (King 2012). Also, several planes carrying bombs, torpedoes, and depth bombs suddenly attacked the US Atlantic Fleet. The results were disruptive: 343 aircraft were destroyed, 2, 459 soldiers and civilians were killed, and 1, 282 people were injured. Within twenty-four hours after the attack, the United States declared war against Japan.
The conspiracy theory supporters consider that the US government was aware of the preparation of aggression. However, it should be noted that the vast majority of historians do not share a similar suspicion. Therefore, plenty of Americans have heard of this theory in the form of an open question. Most conspiracy theory arguments came from the Day of Deceit book by Robert Stinnett that was published in 2001. The book contains an innuendo over the previous 59 years.
Perhaps, the most suspicious is the fact of the absence of all three US aircraft carriers in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor during the attack. It is logical to assume that knowing about the possible attack, the President should bring the most valuable ships. The events that occurred a few hours before are less known to the public. At 6:42 AM, the four hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the midget submarine was discovered by the Japanese Navy (Stinnett 63).
Further, at 7:02, Opana Point, fleet post radar, found the approach of the Japanese aircraft. It was reported to Kermit Tyler, a commander of the post, who took the station operators for breakfast. This inaction is discussed with great suspicion by supporters of conspiracy theories.
Then, ten days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kimmel was ordered to deploy ships in the defensive formation. During the Japanese aviation attack, US ships were in Pearl Harbor, the sailors slept, and the planes are not dispersed, making them an easy target (Stinnett 72). Also, combined with the fact that the Americans deciphered Japanese diplomatic code called Purple, had some progress in breaking the JN-25 military code, and have access to the Japanese intelligence service, conspiracy theorists consider these events as allowing Japan attacking the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
It should be emphasized that many other authors do not agree with Stinnett and, in particular, Henry Clausen, who published Pearl Harbor: the final conclusions in 1992. In 1944, the US Secretary of War ordered Clausen, a lawyer, to conduct an independent investigation of the events preceding the tragedy of Pearl Harbor (Clausen 25). The report was declassified before the date of publication of the book. Clausen found plenty of flaws, but nothing to talk about cold-bloodedly planned conspiracy. Roosevelt knew no more than the others. Historians and conspiracy theorists found the only one consensus: Admiral Kimmel was made a scapegoat for the tragedy at Pearl Harbor as almost everything that happened at Pearl Harbor was the result of his orders.
Let us discuss the factors that make people believe in the mentioned conspiracy theory. Sociologists and psychologists have found that conspiracy theories arise after the occurrence of alarm events: acts of terrorism, technological and natural disasters, the death of the famous figures of politics, or economic crises. Although it is impossible to uniquely reject or accept the conspiracy theory, many of them describe the actually existing or existed events. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that these conspirators are so coordinated and accurate. The development of the world is not a one-way process as there is plenty of factors and trends, and sometimes all it occurs deliberately and controllably. However, conspiratologists collect only the necessary arguments discarding those that contradict them.
One of the key causes of conspiracy theories is the secrecy inherent in the political and public activities. While this area of privacy of security services exists, there is the audience that will always have a reason to question the official version of some significant events. There are a number of factors, but probably one of the most significant in this case is that, paradoxically, this conspiracy theory gives people a sense of control (Kenrick par. 7).
A study of psychological phenomena revealed the following features: it is psychologically easier for a person to explain the events in bad faith or the will of individuals as well as their negative traits, not taking into account objective factors of the environment—natural, economic, social, or political. People hate randomness as they are afraid of disorder that can destroy the course of their lives. Speaking as a mechanism against the fear, it turns out that it is much easier to believe in conspiracy. When people have someone to blame, then it is not just a coincidence. Belief in this theory pushes people to control their lives better, explaining the surrounding events.
At the heart of this conspiracy theory, there is a need or a motive to believe in this theory, and it is a psychological trait of thinking that is different from the one based on the evidence. The most difficult thing related to conspiracy theories is that “they’re usually based on farfetched claims that are nearly impossible to disprove, or prove” (Shrira par. 3). In other words, the conspiracy theory is not susceptible to the evidence. If the theory rejects the evidence or gets another interpretation, it is called an airtight argument. First of all, any unusual event will be accompanied by a conspiracy theory. Whatever happens tomorrow, this will be linked to the conspiracy theory.
In this connection, it is crucial to the point that this conspiracy theory meets human needs. Stress, tension, and emotions caused by alarming and frightening events affect the productivity and lead to the formation of the individual needs, a person seeks to satisfy including:
- The need for security;
- The need for group support;
- The need to restore the emotional balance;
- The need for a rational explanation of the ongoing situation;
- The need to place their experiences;
- The need to be heard.
Another reason for believing in this conspiracy theory is stress. Stressful situations impair the ability to think analytically. If people experience a stressful event in their life, they are more prone to a certain type of thinking. Namely, they tend to recognize certain patterns and events which do not exist. Therefore, stressful events can sometimes help to strengthen conspiracy thinking. Thus, the theory itself is a response to the crisis that has happened and arose in connection with the experience.
However, the continuous support of the theory is the intention to meet the above needs. Kenrick believes that “The human brain is designed for conspiracy theories” (par. 2). The human brain is a complicated mechanism that reacts according to evolutionary peculiarities. In particular, the ancestors of modern people had to worry about safety and response to any threats immediately. Likewise, people are prone to believe in strange, mysterious, and frightening events, even if there is no truthful evidence.
In its turn, the media also contributes to the expansion of this conspiracy theory. For example, in his article posted in The Telegraph, Goddard states that the attack was not a surprise as the US Navy was aware of it. He notes that “The information, contained in a declassified memorandum from the Office of Naval Intelligence, adds to the proof that Washington dismissed red flags signaling that mass bloodshed was looming, and the war was imminent” history is primarily driven by randomness 12 (Goddard para. 3).
This proves the fact that controversies around Pearl Harbor are never to stop as the topic is always among the most disputed ones. No matter how many journalists conduct investigations related to conspiracy theories, supporters are not to become fewer. Another media source tries to explain why people tend to believe in the mentioned theory from the perspectives of psychology. Zimmerman points out that “The American people reeled with a mind staggering mixture of surprise, awe, mystification, grief, humiliation, and, above all, cataclysmic fury” (par. 1). In other words, media might play both a positive and negative role in the conspiracy theory expansion.
Why do people believe in it? The conspiracy theory of an attack at Pearl Harbor creates the illusion of global manipulation. At the same time, it gives meaning to everything that happened as well as a sense of control. Even if the control in the hands of the villains, it is still better than to acknowledge that history is primarily driven by randomness. Another reason is that this theory of conspiracy is to simplify everything. Despite the apparent complexity, it gives an explanation that can be easily understood by people. The real reasons might be too complicated, too numerous for a clear explanation, or might even be incomprehensible to anyone.
Clausen, Henry C. Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement. New York, NY: Crown, 2001. Print.
Goddard, Jacqui. “Pearl Harbour Memo Shows US Warned of Japanese Attack.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 2011. Web.
Kenrick, Douglas. “Why the Human Brain Is Designed to Distrust.” Psychology Today. N.p. 2011. Web.
King, Jamie. Conspiracy Theories: A Guide to the World’s Most Intriguing Mysteries. Chichester, UK: Summersdale, 2015. Print.
Shrira, Ilan. “Paranoia and the Roots of Conspiracy Theories.” Psychology Today. N.p.. 2008. Web.
Stinnett, Robert B. Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor. New York, NY: Free, 2001. Print.
Zimmerman, Dwight. “Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Theories Live On.” Defense Media Network. N.p. 2011. Web.