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Pearl Harbor, the Beginning of the End of the Rising Sun

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Pearl Harbor, the Beginning of the End of the Rising Sun

As I flew in from the north of Oahu, the sunburst broke through the clouds off the horizon of the ocean in front of us. I couldn't help to think to myself what a beautiful site for us to see. The gods must be looking upon us. Letting us know of a successful and glorious mission. It took all of about 2 hours to fly our 360 planes that consisted of dive and high level bombers, fighters and torpedo planes the 230 miles to the harbor of pearl. It was 8:05 when my bomb pierced its target. The bomb had hit the forward powder magazine of the USS Arizona. The mighty explosion split the great ship in half, taking only nine minutes for her to sink (A Summary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, 2012).

Now that we are out of the box looking in, this is what a Japanese pilot might have felt as he flew his plane on that haunting yet unforgettable mission to that bay at Pearl; for he was on his way of creating history from the destruction of an entire fleet in anchor. This Japanese warrior and his culture of war would not know the consequences of his emperor's actions; for it would only unite an entire country in a fit of rage from this horrific and unprovoked act initiated by the rising sun nation of Japan. This battle would not only be the beginning of WWII for the United States, but it would be the beginning of the end of a military force in Japan. It was this mission and Japan's cultural importance of war that would lead to the consequence of these pilots on that eventful day in December, for this mission eventually would only bring fire and a vast amount of immense pain and suffering upon their own people. The once fearless strength and courage of the Japanese warrior who would not face defeat upon their own eyes would be brought to their knees in the disgrace of surrender upon the deck of the USS Missouri, the very ship that was bombed at Pearl and considered a victory.

Events that Contributed to War

We must ask ourselves first what lead up to the attack at Pearl. It began with a series of events. War between Japan and the United States had been a possibility that both nations had planned for since the late 1920s, though real tension did not begin until 1931 with the invasion of Manchuria by Japan. Over the next decade, Japan expanded slowly into China, leading to all-out war between the two in 1937. In 1940 Japan invaded French Indochina in an effort to embargo all imports into China, including war supplies purchased from the U.S. This move forced the United States to embargo all oil exports that was feeding the Imperial Japanese Navy. Japans leaders estimate that it had less than two years of oil reserves remaining. Japan was compelled to launch existing plans to seize oil resources in the Dutch East Indies.

The Philippine islands, at this time were an American territory and it was also a Japanese target. The Japanese military concluded that an invasion of the Philippines would provoke an American military response. Rather than seize and conquer the islands, and wait for the inevitable US counterattack, Japan's military leaders decided on a carefully planned secret Pearl Harbor attack that could totally wipe out the U.S. Pacific Fleet and they assumed this would wipe-out any hopes of defending the American interest within the islands.

Tensions between Japan and the prominent Western countries to include the United States, France, Britain, and the Netherlands increased drastically as Japanese leaders and military advisors exerted increasing influence over government policy, adopting creation of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as part of Japan's alleged "divine right" to unify Asia under Emperor Hirohito's rule. (The effort to establish the Imperial Way had begun with the Second Sino-Japanese War) All this tension was threatening already-established American, French, British, and Dutch colonies in Asia.

Over the course of the 1930s, Japan's increasingly expansion of imperialism would bring renewed conflict with its neighbors, Russia and China. In March 1933, Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in response to international condemnation of its conquest of Manchuria (Imperial Rescript to Withdraw from League of Nations) A second full-scale war between Japan and China began with the Marco Polo Bridge incident in July 1937.

Japan's 1937 attack on China was condemned by the U.S. and several members of the League of Nations including Britain, France, Australia, and the Netherlands. Japanese barbaric violence and atrocities served to further complicate relations with the rest of the world. These states had economic and territorial interests, or formal colonies, in East and Southeast Asia; they were increasingly alarmed at Japan's new military power and its willingness to use it, which threatened their control in Asia. In July 1939, the U.S. terminated its 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. These efforts failed to deter Japan from continuing its war in China, or from signing the Tripartite Pact in 1940 with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, officially forming the Axis Powers.

Japan would take advantage of Hitler's war in Europe to advance its ambitions in the Far East. The Tripartite Pact guaranteed assistance if a allied was attacked by any country not already involved in their conflicts. This tacitly and indirectly meant the U.S. By joining it, Japan simultaneously gained political power, and it sent the unmistakable message of any U.S. military intervention would risk war on both fronts of its shores. The Roosevelt administration would not be deterred. Believing the American way of life as we knew it would be threatened if Europe and the Far East fell. The United States committed to help the British and Chinese through loans of money and military aide, and pledged sufficient continuing aid to ensure their survival. Thus, the United States slowly became a nation preparing for war. (Parkes)

Understanding the True Meaning

Yesterday, December 7 1941-"A Date Which Will Live in Infamy" is a quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Speech the day after Pearl Harbor (A Date Which Will Live In Infamy, 2012). It is a phrase that most of us have heard in the history books or the movies. However I believe, I won't really understand the true meaning until I see the memorial of the Arizona for the first time. It is there that 1102 men lie entombed in the broken hull of the great ship ("USS Arizona Memorial:", 2012). The ship has come to rest at the bottom of the bay just off the Beach of Ford Island.

Most of us probably have different meanings for what we believe as respect that



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