|About the Book|
The road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria, which until then had been part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimatelyMoreThe road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria, which until then had been part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China. On 12 December during that year Japanese naval aircraft attacked and sank the river gunboat USS Panay. In 1940, the Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance, and, in the following year, occupied all of Indochina.The United States, which had important political and economic interests in East Asia, was alarmed by these Japanese moves. The U.S. increased military and financial aid to China, embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific, and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan.Because Japan was poor in natural resources, its government viewed these steps, especially the embargo on oil as a threat to the nations survival. Japans leaders responded by resolving to seize the resource-rich territories of Southeast Asia, even though that move would certainly result in war with the United States.The problem with the plan was the danger posed by the U.S. Pacific Fleet which had relocated to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese fleet, devised a plan to immobilize the U.S. fleet at the outset of the war with a surprise attack.The key elements in Yamamotos plans were meticulous preparation, the achievement of surprise, and the use of aircraft carriers and naval aviation on an unprecedented scale.The Japanese success was overwhelming, but it was not complete. They failed to damage any American aircraft carriers, which by a stroke of luck, had been absent from the harbor. They neglected to damage the shoreside facilities at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, which played an important role in the Allied victory in World War II. American technological skill raised and repaired all but three of the ships sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor (USS Arizona (BB-39) considered too badly damaged to be salvaged, USS Oklahoma (BB-37) raised and considered too old to be worth repairing, and the obsolete USS Utah (AG-16) considered not worth the effort). Most importantly, the shock and anger caused by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor united a divided nation and was translated into a wholehearted commitment to victory in World War II.Read the accounts of more than 20 American Navy soldiers that happened to be on the ships in Pearl Harbour that very night and dive deep into American history.