Pearl Harbor

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Date Submitted: 03/30/2013 11:10 AM

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In Large part to their very successful attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were able to achieve early stunning success in the Pacific. This, however, did not translate to a quick decisive victory for a number of reasons. First, the three aircraft carriers that were part of the Pacific Fleet at the time were not docked at Pearl Harbor during the attack resulting in the USA maintaining mobile air superiority capabilities. Second, the Japanese grossly underestimated the United States resolve. They believed they were a divine race racially and spiritually superior, whereas the Americans where soft and lacked unity. The last and most important reason why a Japanese defeat was inevitable was the superior production capacity of the USA. From 1942 to 1944 the USA produced 1,469,000 Rifles, carbines, machine pistols and machine guns compared to 2,303,000 by the Japanese. It was a war that the Japanese could not win.

At 0758 on December 7, 1941 one of the most famous USA radio messages was sent over the military airwaves in Oahu Hawaii, “AIR RAID, PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT DRILL.” One of the most daring surprise attacks in history was under way. The attack left 2,403 Americans dead, another 1178 wounded, and hundreds of planes and a large portion of the Pacific Fleet damaged or destroyed. With not much of a USA Pacific Fleet to stand in their way, the Japanese had a flurry of military successes and quickly controlled most of the Pacific Ocean. At the peak of their expansion they controlled from the Attu islands in the north down to Midway, around Tarawa, New Guinea and up to Sumatra. The American war machine was just coming to life and the Japanese success would be short lived.

As tensions increased between the United States and Japan in November of 1941, Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Husband E. Kimmel moved to sure up USA military positions at Wake and Midway. The Aircraft Carrier Enterprise was sent with aircraft to strengthen their position at Wake on the 28th of...