Pearl Harbor Incidence-A Historical Event of 77 Solid Years

Pearl Harbor Incidence-A Historical Event of 77 Solid Years

December 10, 2018 0 By gospel

Pearl Harbor Incidence: A Historical Event of 77 Solid Years

Pearl Harbor…The Pearl Harbor Was U.S. Naval Base On Oahu Island, Hawaii, Where The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service Launched A Surprise Attack Against The United States Naval Base, Hawaii Territory on 7 December 1941. Remembering Pearl Harbor Attack Brings To Mind The Incidence That Occurred Between Japan And The United States. In The History Of America The Incidence Is Still As If It Was Yesterday; Still Glaring Even After 77 Solid Years So. This Article Will Focus On The Entire Scope of The Pearl Harbor Experience.

Pearl Harbor Incidence-A Historical Event of 77 Solid Years

Where Is Pearl Harbor Located?

Pearl Harbor is a lagoon harbor on the island of OahuHawaii, west of Honolulu. It has been long visited by the Naval fleet of the United States before it was acquired from the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. with the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is now a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The U.S. government first obtained exclusive use of the inlet and the right to maintain a repair and coaling station for ships here in 1887. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941, was the immediate cause of the United States’ entry into World War II

Preliminary Of The War

The United States had disengaged all economic relations with Japan by mid-1941 and was at the same time providing material and financial help to China. Japan had been at loggerhead with China since 1937, and the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 secured that the Soviets were no longer a threat to the Japanese on the Asian mainland. The Japanese were tactical and strategic about weakening U.S. Naval strength, so they believed that once the U.S. Pacific Fleet was neutralized, all of Southeast Asia would be open for conquest.

However, American foreign policy in the Pacific had more to do with the U.S. support for China in the late 1930s, and Japan’s aggression against China therefore necessarily would bring Japan into serious conflict with the United States. As early as 1931, the government of Tokyo had stretched its tentacles of control over Manchuria the Chinese province, and the Japanese had a concrete hold on the region with the creation of the puppet state of Manchukuo the following year. A clash at the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing on July 7, 1937, hinted the dawn of open arms struggle between Japan and the United Front of Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communist Party. In response, the United States government extended its first loan to China in 1938.

Pearl Harbor Looking Southwest On 30 October, 1941

Pearl Harbor Looking Southwest On 30 October 1941

More so, in July 1939 the U.S. made a declaration of bringing to an end the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of 1911 with Japan. Starting in the summer of 1940, the U.S. began to barricade the export to Japan of materials that were useful in war. Between June 1940 and the day of the crisis of December 1941, there was an upsurged tension constantly mounted between the belligerents. In July 1941, the Japanese had already occupied all of Indochina and had covenanted an alliance with the Axis powers (Germany and Italy). At this time, the U.S. government cut off or disengaged all commercial and financial relations with Japan. Japanese assets were brought to a standstill, and an embargo was placed on shipments to Japan of petroleum and other crucial war materials needed to sustain them. Militarists were steadily gaining dominion in the Tokyo government; they bitterly kicked against U.S. aid to China, which by this time had been fired up. They saw in the German invasion of the Soviet Union an unrivaled or unopposed opportunity to go after a policy of aggression (war tendencies) in the Far East without danger of an attack upon their rear by the forces of the Red Army (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). In spite that, negotiations looking forward to finding some kind of understanding between the two belligerents (the United States and Japan) happened in the duration the autumn of 1941, and it became extremely visible by the end of November that no agreement or compromise was attainable.

Moreover, Japan, despite their readiness to take action, continued to negotiate with the United States up to the D-day of the Pearl Harbor attack, the government of Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki made a final decision on war. Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the commander-in-chief of Japan’s Combined Fleet, had meticulously organized the attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet with great care. Once the U.S. fleet was out disabled, the way for the unhindered Japanese conquest of all of Southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago would be paved. The order for the assault was given on November 5, 1941, and on November 16 the task force began its assignation in the Kuril Islands. Commanders were allocated instructions that the fleet might be recalled or retrieved, however, in case of a favorable result of the response of the negotiations in Washington, D.C. On November 26, Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi led a fleet including 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 11 destroyers to a point some 275 miles (440 km) north of Hawaii. From there about 360 planes in total were launched.


The U.S. Pacific Fleet had been situated at Pearl Harbor since April 1940. To add to this, nearly 100 naval vessels, 8 battleships inclusive, were substantial military and air forces. As the tension mounted, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter C. Short, who was also in command at Pearl Harbor, were warned of the outcome and the possibility of war, specifically on October 16 and also on November 24 and 27. The notification of November 27, to Kimmel, began thus; “This dispatch is to be considered a war warning,” went further to say that “negotiations have ceased,” and directed the admiral to “execute an appropriate defensive deployment.” Kimmel also was given orders to “undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary.” The communication of the same day to Short stated that “hostile action is possible at any moment” and, like its naval counterpart, urged “measures of reconnaissance.”


In response to the several warnings, the strategies taken by the army and navy commanders were inadequate. Short ordered an alert against sabotage and concentrated most of his fighter planes at the base on Wheeler Field in an effort to avoid damage to them. He also allocated orders to operate five of the mobile radar sets that had been configured on the island from the hour of 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM, were considered to be the most dangerous period. And as such, Radar training, however, was in a far-from-advanced stage.

Furthermore, Admiral Kimmel, despite the fact that his intelligence had not been able to hit the right spot of substantial elements in the Japanese fleet—especially the first-line ships in carrier divisions 1 and 2—did not extend his reconnaissance activities to the northwest, the logical point for an attack. He fast-forwarded the whole fleet (except that part which was at sea) in the harbor and granted a part of his personnel to go on shore leave. Neither of these officers suspected that the base at Pearl Harbor would itself be subjected or vulnerable to attack. Nor, for that matter, is there any signal that their superiors in Washington D.C. were in any way conscious or alert of the coming danger. In the 10 days amidst the war warning of November 27 and the Japanese attack itself, no additional action was taken by Washington.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero-An Imperial Japanese Navy

Mitsubishi A6M Zero-An Imperial Japanese Navy

To be sure, in the early hours of Sunday on December 7, Washington had knowledge of the fact that the Japanese ambassadors had been told to ask for an interview with the secretary of state at 1:00 PM (7:30 AM Pearl Harbor time). This was a lucid indication that war was in anticipation or at the corner. The message took some time to be decoded, and it was not in the hands of the chief of naval operations until about 10:30. It was delivered to the War Department between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. Gen. George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, was out horseback riding and did not see the dispatch until he arrived at his office about 11:15 AM. The chief of naval operations, Adm. Harold Stark, even then did not think that the communication called for any additional instructions to Kimmel. However, Marshall decided to send a new warning and gave orders to the military command to have a dialogue with the navy. He did not make any call on the telephone, fearing that his words might be obstructed, and instead resorted to sending his dispatch by telegram. There was a mix-up or confusion in communication, and because of that, the warning did not reach Hawaii until after the attack had begun. It is of a necessity to observe that it had not been filed until noon, only an hour before the Japanese planes unleashed on the base.

At Pearl Harbor itself, there were incidents that if properly interpreted, would have given a snippet information concerning the warning. Four hours before the decisive moment (taking a stand), a Japanese submarine was seen by the minesweeper, USS Condor. About two and a half hours later, the commander of the destroyer USS Ward sent a message saying that he “had attacked, fired upon, and unleashed depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area” near Pearl Harbor. While Kimmel waited patiently for confirmation and approval of this report, the Japanese opened hostilities. In these same morning hours, U.S. Army Pvt. George Elliott, practicing on the radar set after its normal closing time, noticed a gigantic flight of planes on the screen. When he telephoned his lieutenant, he was told to ignore the observation or take it lightly, as a flight of B-17 bombers from the United States was expected at that time. Once again an opportunity was missed.

The Attack On Pearl Harbor

On November 26, 1941, the Japanese Striking Force (task force) of six aircraft carriers—AkagiKagaSōryūHiryūShōkaku, and Zuikaku—left Hittokapu Bay on Kasatka (currently Iterup) Island in the Kurile Islands, during the course of the journey, to a position northwest of Hawaii, with the intention to launch its 408 aircraft to attack Pearl Harbor: 360 for the two attack waves and 48 on defensive combat air patrol (CAP), with nine fighters from the first wave inclusive.

The first wave was to be the primary attack, while the second wave was to combat carriers as its first objective and cruisers as its second, with battleships as the third target. The first wave carried or had most of the ammunition to attack capital ships, mainly specially adapted Type 91 aerial torpedoes which were built by default to act as an anti-roll mechanism and a rudder extension that allowed them to take action effectively in shallow waters. The aircrews were commanded to select targets with the highest value ( which were battleships and aircraft carriers) or if these were not in place, any other high-value ships (cruisers and destroyers). Dive bombers in the First Wave were to attack or combat ground targets. Fighters were ordered to attack repeatedly and consistently, and destroy as many parked aircraft as possible to make sure they did not get into the air to interrupt the bombers, especially in the first wave. When the fighters’ fuel started to finish or reduced they were to refuel at the aircraft carriers and get back to the combat scene. Fighters who were to serve CAP duties where needed, and of importance, especially over U.S. airfields.

Before commencement of the attack, two reconnaissance aircraft launched from cruisers Chikuma and Tone were sent to scout or carry out a survey over Oahu and Maui and report on U.S. fleet composition and location. Reconnaissance aircraft flights risked sending signals to the U.S. and were not necessary or important at the moment. U.S. fleet composition and preparedness information in Pearl Harbor were already known due to the reports of the Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa. A report of the absence of the U.S. fleet in Lahaina anchorage off Maui was received from the fleet submarine I-72. Another four planes spying and gathering information patrolled the area between the Japanese carrier force (the Kidō Butai) and Niihau, to detect any counterattack or counterforce strategy.

Pearl Harbor Attack Eating Deep

The first Japanese dive-bomber was seen over Pearl Harbor at 7:55 AM (local time). It was part and parcel of the first wave of nearly 200 aircraft, including torpedo planes, bombers, and fighters. Within a quarter of an hour, the various airfields at the base were brought under savage attack. Due to Short’s anti-sabotage measures, the U.S. military aircraft were packed tightly and knitted closely together at the Naval Air Station on Ford Island and cropping Wheeler and Hickam fields, and many were damaged on the ground by Japanese repeated attacks. At Wheeler Field, in particular, the destruction was dreadful. Out of the 126 planes on the ground, 42 were completely destroyed, 41 were wrecked, and only 43 remainders were found fit for service. Only 6 U.S. planes got into the air to drove a counterforce strategy on the attackers of this first assault. In summation, more than 180 aircraft were destroyed.

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At the same time, a massive action was taken against Kimmel’s fleet. The ships were anchored in the harbor made perfect targets for the Japanese bombers, and, because it was Sunday morning, they were not fully manned; that is no human crew. Most of the wreckage done to the battleships was inflicted in the first 30 minutes of the assault. The battleship USS Arizona flared up with a very great explosion. Spread throughout with bombs and torpedoes, the USS West Virginia settled on an even capsized on the bottom of the harbor. The USS Oklahoma, thrust by four torpedoes in the space of five minutes, rolled completely over, with its bottom and propeller rising above the waters of the harbor. The USS California, the flagship of the Pacific Battle Force, was torpedoed and commanded abandoned as it slowly and gradually sank in shallow water. The target ship USS Utah also was sunk. Hardly a vessel escaped destruction. The anti-aircraft crews on the various vessels were fairly prompt or timely in carrying out action, and army personnel fired with what they had, but the force of the attack was not seriously blunted.

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Following the First Wave, the Second Wave of the attack began at exactly 8:50 AM. Was less successful than the first, but it nonetheless caused heavy damage. The battleship USS Nevada had sustained a torpedo hit in the cause of the first wave, but its position or standing at the end of Battleship Row permitted it greater freedom of action than the other moored capital ships. It was an attempt moving through the water when the second wave hit. It was struck by seven or eight bombs and was grounded or sunk at the head of the channel. The battleship USS Pennsylvania was set blown up by bombs, and the two destroyers moored near it shredded to wrecks. The destroyer USS Shaw was divided in two by a great violent shattering. Shortly after 9:00 AM the Japanese backed off.

Downes and Cassin of Pennsylvania Heavily Damaged

Downes and Cassin of Pennsylvania Heavily Damaged

Japan’s Upper Hand in The War and U.S. Limited Military Strenght

No one could doubt the visibility the great success Japanese had gained in the war with the United States. Arizona and Oklahoma were damaged with great loss of life, and six other battleships suffered differing degrees of damage. Three cruisers, three destroyers, and other vessels were also destroyed. U.S. military casualties totaled more than 3,400, including more than 2,300 killed. Heavy damage was caused on both army and navy aircraft on the ground. The Japanese lost from 29 to 60 planes, five midget submarines, and as such, one or two fleet submarines, and fewer than 100 men. The Japanese task force fell back from the arena of battle without being attacked.

Further Insight

Furthermore, there was, however, one alleviating feature to the tragedy. The outcome of the dispositions made by Kimmel, two U.S. aircraft carriers were not seen or verified in the harbor. The USS Enterprise, under Adm. William F. Halsey, was on a quest to strengthen the Wake Island garrison with marine planes and aviators. The USS Lexington was embarking on a similar mission to ferry marine dive-bombers to Midway. These operations also turned out to mean that seven heavy cruisers and a division of destroyers were at sea. The Enterprise was planned to return to Pearl Harbor on December 6 but was waylayed by weather. The USS Saratoga, a third carrier was embarking a fresh complement of aircraft in San Diego on the dawn of the attack.

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Consequently, the Pearl Harbor invasion severely paralyzed U.S. naval and air capabilities in the Pacific. However, of the eight battleships, all but the Arizona and Oklahoma were eventually repaired and restored to service, and the Japanese failed to put an end or destroy the important oil storage facilities on the island. The “date which will live in infamy,” as U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt termed it, brought together the U.S. public and flushed away any earlier assistance for neutrality sake. On December 8 the Congress declared war on Japan with a single demur vote. And as such, Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana, also voted against U.S. participation in World War I.

The Outcome of The Pearl Harbor Attack

The attack began at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 GMT). The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including torpedo bombers, dive bombers,  level, and fighters) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were destroyed, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later revived, and six were brought back to service and went on to combat in the war. The Japanese also sank and destroyed three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and also one minelayer. One hundred and eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; two thousand four hundred and three (2,403) Americans were killed and one thousand one hundred and seventy-eight (1,178) others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, and also the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section), were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured. However, at the decisive Japanese victory; the United States declared war on the Japanese Empire and entered World War II on the side of the Allied Forces: Great Britain and China. And Nazi Germany declared a war also on the United States. This made the United States break their policy of Isolationism in the 1920s after WW1, which sort to disengage or have a very limited affiliation with the world affairs, thereby imposing high import tariffs-taxes. And this triggered U.S. refusal to participate in the League of Nations. The result or outcome of this attack was the involvement of U.S. in WW2.


The Pearl Harbor incidence was a devastating event in the history of the United States naval force. Initially, the Japanese attack had several major aims. First, its intention was to mar important American fleet units, thereby disallowing the Pacific Fleet from coming in between with Japanese conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaya and to enable Japan to conquer and be in control of Southeast Asia without intrusion from any external force. Another factor was that America was protecting her interests in Southeast Asia which her major target was China. Now America became a threat to their (Japanese) plans. Japan thought that the best way to deter the U.S. from Southeast Asia was to give a surprise attack on U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.