Pearl Harbor

Ryen Ross


November 26, 1941- A Japanese task force labeled "the Striking Force" had deported northern Japan to head to a position northwest of Hawaii, intending to launch it's 408 aircraft to attack Pearl Harbor. 360 for the two attack waves and 48 on defensive combat air patrol, including nine fighters from the first wave. The first wave was to be the primary attack, while the second wave was to attack carriers as first objective and cruisers as second one, afterward second wave was to attack battleships.

Anticipating The War

The attack on Pearl Harbor was intended to neutralize the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and to protect Japan's advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, where it sought access to natural resources such as oil and rubber. War between Japan and the United States had been a possibility of which each nation had been aware since the 1920s, though tensions did not begin to grow seriously Japan's 1931 invasion of Manchuria Over the next decade, Japan continued to expand into China, leading all-out war between those countries in 1937. Japan spent effort trying to isolate China and achieve sufficient resource independence to attain victory on the mainland. The "Southern Operation" was designed to assist these efforts.


The attack had several major aims. First, it was intended to destroy important American fleet units, thereby preventing the Pacific Fleet from interfering with Japanese conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaya. Second, it was hoped to buy time for Japan to strengthen its position and increase its naval strength before shipbuilding authorized by the 1940 Vinson-Walsh Act took away any chance of victory. Finally, it was meant to deliver a severe blow to American confidence, one which would discourage Americans from committing to a war extending into the western Pacific Ocean and Dutch East Indies. To maximize the effect on morale, battleships were chosen as the main targets, since they were the prestige ships of any navy at the time. The overall intention was to enable Japan to conquer Southeast Asia without interference.

Japanese Declaration of War

The attack had took place before any formal declaration of war was made by Japan, but this wasn't Admiral Yamamoto's intention. He originally demanded that the attack should not begin until thirty minutes after Japan had informed the United States that peace negotiations were at an end. The Japanese tried to uphold the conventions of war while still reaching surprise, but the attack began before the notice was delivered. Tokyo transmitted the 5,000 word notification in two blocks to Japanese Embassy in Washington, but arranging the message took too long for the Japanese ambassador to deliver it in time.

American casualties and damages

Ninety minutes after it began, the attack was over, as 2,008 sailors were killed and 710 others were wounded; 218 soldiers and airmen were killed and 364 others were wounded; 109 marines were killed and 69 others were wounded; and 68 civilians were killed and 35 others were wounded. In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 others were wounded during the attack. Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships. All of the Americans killed or wounded during the attack were non-combatants, given there was no state of war when the attack took place.