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80 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the tragedy that catapulted the United States into global hegemony

U.S.A.80 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,...

On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on a US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, at 7:48 a.m., 353 Japanese naval aircraft from six aircraft carriers attacked Pearl Harbor, the base of the US Pacific Fleet in the Hawaiian Islands, without warning. During the next seven hours, Japanese Naval Air Forces conducted coordinated attacks against American, British and Dutch positions in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. All Western possessions fell, in some cases even without resistance.

The attack on Pearl Harbor lasted 90 minutes. Of the eight battleships, the main target of the Japanese, along with aircraft carriers (which were not at the base at the time of the attack), four were sunk, although all were later repaired and returned to active service. Ten other smaller ships were sunk or damaged. The Japanese also attacked Hickam Airport, in which about 200 American aircraft were destroyed. Overall, the Japanese action left a balance of 2,400 casualties on the North American side., half of them sailors who were killed when the battleship exploded at the Arizona’s ammunition depot, and more than 1000 were wounded. Japan lost 64 men and 29 aircraft.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt got the news When ordering your stamp album, Elected for the third time in a row in 1940, he remained in power for nine years. The next day he addressed both houses of Congress with a speech that would go down in history: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date that will remain in disrepute, the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Air Force. And the naval ships of the Empire of Japan … “

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Did the United States know that the Japanese Empire would attack its bases in the Pacific? The most serious investigation suggests it is, but the secrecy with which Tokyo kept plans until the last minute prevented Washington from knowing where and when the coup would take place. All US military stations in the Far East were put on alert when the US government convinced itself that Tokyo was not interested in a diplomatic solution to the conflict facing them – the Japanese invasion of China. Pearl Harbor was an unlikely target 4000 miles from Japan, which meant that the attackers had to move a large fleet across the open sea for several days and were not detected.

employed by the admiral isoruku yamamoto, Chief of the Joint Fleet of the Japanese Empire, The attack was one of the most complex and risky operations in military history., Its success was also a result of the surprise of an action considered unfair, as the attack was carried out before Tokyo officially announced the break-up of talks with Washington. However, the virtuosity of the strategists, the rapport of sailors and pilots, and images of American ships engulfed in flames and sunk in Pearl Bay barely managed to hide what the attack failed to achieve. The pumps did not have the necessary facilities like fuel depots, workshops and dry docks; Worse yet, none of the three North American aircraft carriers were at the base, something that would cost the Japanese as these ships would play a fundamental role in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, which led to the Imperial advance in mid-1942. was stopped. and changed the course of the war.

phoenix, attack day
phoenix, attack day

Pearl Harbor was the climax of half a century of Japanese expansion into the Far East, with the conquest of Western possessions in the Southeast Pacific. Its symbolic impact was enormous, not just in Japan. Defeats on the United States (Philippines), Holland (Indonesia) and Great Britain (Singapore, Malaysia) confirmed to many nationalists in the colonies that the West was not invincible. And that, like Japan, the peoples of Asia could shake the white man’s yoke, which helped to reinforce the notion of the historical development of the Japanese Empire as a successful synthesis of tradition and modernity.

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Attack in the United States fueled A mass frenzy, feeding on prevailing racial prejudices, raised opinion against the “yellow” threat and led to the detention of thousands of Japanese immigrants and their families. At the same time, it launched an unprecedented economic and military mobilization that profoundly changed society, giving the final push to the reactivation that laid the foundation for post-war prosperity. Thus, along with the decision Hitler By declaring war on the United States the day after the attack, Pearl Harbor removed the last hurdle for Washington to put its vast resources into service of the global concept of war that would form the basis of the post-1945 Pax Americana. Will Work.

(Photo: Department of the Navy/Handout via Reuters)
(Photo: Department of the Navy/Handout via Reuters)

One of the final scenes of the classic film Tora, Tora, Tora (1970) recreates the moment the Imperial General Staff received news of the attack. Hearing the success of the operation, all the officers jumped with joy, except yamamoto, With a hoarse voice and sad expression, the admiral interrupts his enthusiastic subordinates with a stern warning: “I fear all we have done is wake up a sleeping giant.”

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