Pearl Harbor Attack

Blue Dunwoody


Copyright 2018 by Blue Dunwoody

  Honorable Mention--2018 General Nonfiction 

Photo of Japanese plane dropping a torpedo.

USS Arizona Sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II. Photo by Public Domain.

The​ ​attack​ ​on​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​was​ ​a​ ​surprise​ ​to​ ​all​ ​of​ ​America,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​surprise​ ​to​ ​Japan​ ​that​ ​it was​ ​successful.​ ​Kenneth​ ​T.​ ​Jackson​ ​of​ ​The​ ​Gilder​ ​Lehrman​ ​Institute​ ​of​ ​American​ ​History​ ​claims, "Admiral​ ​Yamamoto​ ​had​ ​every​ ​reason​ ​to​ ​be​ ​proud.​ ​He​ ​had​ ​only​ ​two​ ​reasons​ ​for​ ​immediate​ ​concern.​ ​First, the​ ​three​ ​large​ ​American​ ​aircraft​ ​carriers​ ​attached​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Pacific​ ​Fleet​ ​were​ ​not​ ​in​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​but​ ​were at​ ​sea​ ​on​ ​a​ ​practice​ ​mission,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Japanese​ ​aviators​ ​could​ ​not​ ​find​ ​them."​ ​The​ ​article​ ​writes​ ​several ships​ ​were​ ​terminated,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​crewmen​ ​accompanying​ ​them.​ 

​The​ ​United​ ​States​ ​protested​ ​against Japan’s​ ​decisions​ ​towards​ ​China,​ ​so​ ​Japan​ ​saw​ ​them​ ​as​ ​a​ ​threat​ ​and​ ​decided​ ​on​ ​war​ ​with​ ​America.​ ​The attack​ ​on​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​was​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​strategy​ ​of​ ​conquest​ ​in​ ​the​ ​western​ ​Pacific.​ ​Ultimately,​ ​Japan’s​ ​only hope​ ​of​ ​success​ ​was​ ​to​ ​a​ ​quick​ ​and​ ​decisive​ ​victory,​ ​thus​ ​the​ ​origins​ ​of​ ​the​ ​surprise​ ​attack.​ ​By​ ​the beginning​ ​of​ ​1942,​ ​there​ ​was​ ​no​ ​retreating​ ​without​ ​a​ ​fatal​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​honor​ ​and​ ​bravery​ ​to​ ​America​ ​and​ ​its citizens.

The​ ​commotion​ ​between​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​nations​ ​began​ ​in​ ​1931.​ ​Japanese​ ​army​ ​extremists,​ ​in​ ​defiance of​ ​government​ ​policy,​ ​invaded​ ​the​ ​northernmost​ ​Chinese​ ​province​ ​of​ ​Manchuria.​ ​As​ ​a​ ​result,​ ​Americans protested​ ​against​ ​Japan’s​ ​attack,​ ​but​ ​Japan​ ​ignored​ ​the​ ​protests.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​summer​ ​of​ ​1937,​ ​Japan​ ​launched​ ​a full​ ​attack​ ​on​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​China.​ ​The​ ​United​ ​States​ ​was​ ​not​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​use​ ​military​ ​force​ ​to​ ​halt​ ​Japanese expansion,​ ​nor​ ​was​ ​any​ ​other​ ​nation​ ​protesting​ ​against​ ​Japan’s​ ​acts.

The​ ​United​ ​States​ ​applied​ ​both​ ​diplomatic​ ​and​ ​economic​ ​pressures​ ​to​ ​try​ ​to​ ​resolve​ ​the Sino-Japanese​ ​conflict.​ ​Therefore,​ ​the​ ​Japanese​ ​government​ ​ended​ ​up​ ​seeing​ ​America​ ​as​ ​a​ ​threat​ ​to​ ​their national​ ​security.​ ​While​ ​the​ ​nations​ ​we​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​settle​ ​the​ ​disputes,​ ​Japan​ ​decided​ ​on​ ​war.​ ​The​ ​author states​ ​the​ ​attack​ ​on​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​was​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​strategy​ ​of​ ​conquest​ ​in​ ​the​ ​western​ ​Pacific.​ ​The​ ​objective was​ ​to​ ​prevent​ ​the​ ​Pacific​ ​Fleet​ ​from​ ​advancing​ ​so​ ​The​ ​United​ ​States​ ​would​ ​not​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​interfere​ ​with invasion​ ​plans.​ ​Japan​ ​attacked​ ​quickly​ ​with​ ​all​ ​forces​ ​in​ ​their​ ​power.

On​ ​November​ ​26,​ ​the​ ​Japanese​ ​attack​ ​fleet​ ​sent​ ​33​ ​warships​ ​and​ ​auxiliary​ ​craft​ ​from​ ​northern Japan​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Hawaiian​ ​islands.​ ​By​ ​December​ ​7,​ ​the​ ​ships​ ​had​ ​reached​ ​their​ ​destination,​ ​230​ ​miles​ ​north​ ​of Oahu.​ ​At​ ​6​ ​a.m.​ ​the​ ​first​ ​wave​ ​of​ ​bombers​ ​and​ ​torpedoes​ ​took​ ​off.​ ​The​ ​night​ ​before​ ​December​ ​7,​ ​five​ ​mini-submarines​ ​stood​ ​10​ ​miles​ ​outside​ ​the​ ​entrance​ ​to​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor.​ ​The​ ​mini-submarines​ ​carried​ ​two crewman​ ​and​ ​two​ ​torpedoes,​ ​each.​ ​They​ ​had​ ​to​ ​enter​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​before​ ​the​ ​airstrike,​ ​remain​ ​submerged until​ ​the​ ​attack​ ​got​ ​underway,​ ​and​ ​then​ ​cause​ ​as​ ​much​ ​damage​ ​as​ ​possible.

Seven​ ​of​ ​the​ ​fleet’s​ ​nine​ ​battleships​ ​were​ ​tied​ ​up​ ​along​ ​Battleship​ ​Row,​ ​on​ ​the​ ​southeast​ ​side​ ​of Ford​ ​Island.​ ​Naval​ ​aircraft​ ​were​ ​lined​ ​up​ ​at​ ​Ford​ ​Island​ ​and​ ​Kaneohe​ ​Bay​ ​Naval​ ​Air​ ​Stations,​ ​and​ ​Marine aircraft​ ​at​ ​Ewa​ ​Marine​ ​Corps​ ​Air​ ​Station.​ ​At​ ​Hickam,​ ​Wheeler​ ​and​ ​Bellows​ ​airfields,​ ​aircraft​ ​of​ ​the​ ​U.S. Army​ ​Air​ ​Corps,​ ​were​ ​set​ ​in​ ​groups​ ​as​ a ​defense​ ​against​ ​possible​ ​attacks.​ ​At​ ​6:40​ ​a.m.,​ ​the​ ​crew​ ​of​ ​the destroyer​ ​USS​ ​Ward​ ​noticed​ ​the​ ​conning​ ​tower​ ​of​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​mini​-submarines​ ​heading​ ​towards​ ​the entrance​ ​of​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor.​ ​The​ ​Ward​ ​sank​ ​the​ ​submarine​ ​with​ ​depth​ ​charges​ ​and​ ​gunfire.​ ​Shortly​ ​after​ ​they sunk​ ​the​ ​submarine,​ ​they​ ​radioed​ ​the​ ​situation​ ​to​ ​headquarters.

A​ ​little​ ​before​ ​7​ ​a.m.,​ ​the​ ​radar​ ​station​ ​at​ ​Opana​ ​Point​ ​picked​ ​up​ ​a​ ​signal​ ​indicating​ ​a​ ​large​ ​flight of​ ​planes​ ​approaching​ ​from​ ​the​ ​north.​ ​These​ ​were​ ​thought​ ​to​ ​be​ ​either​ ​aircraft​ ​flying​ ​in​ ​from​ ​the​ ​carrier Enterprise​ ​or​ ​an​ ​anticipated​ ​flight​ ​of​ ​B-17s​ ​from​ ​the​ ​mainland​ ​so​ ​no​ ​action​ ​was​ ​taken.​ ​The​ ​first​ ​wave​ ​of Japanese​ ​aircraft​ ​arrived​ ​over​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​before​ ​7:55​ ​a.m.​ ​The​ ​Japanese​ ​leader,​ ​Commander​ ​Mitsuo Fuchida,​ ​sent​ ​coded​ ​messages​ ​telling​ ​the​ ​fleet​ ​that​ ​the​ ​attack​ ​had​ ​begun,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​successfully​ ​surprised the​ ​Americans.

At​ ​approximately​ ​8:10​ ​a.m.​ ​the​ ​USS​ ​Arizona​ ​had​ ​exploded,​ ​hit​ ​by​ ​a​ ​1,760​-pound​-armor-piercing shell.​ ​This​ ​bomb​ ​slammed​ ​through​ ​the​ ​ship’s​ ​deck​ ​suddenly,​ ​launching​ ​her​ ​forward.​ ​When​ ​the​ ​ship​ ​sank, 1,177​ ​crew​ ​members​ ​went​ ​down​ ​with​ ​it.​ ​The​ ​USS​ ​Oklahoma,​ ​after​ ​it​ ​was​ ​hit​ ​by​ ​several​ ​torpedoes,​ ​rolled over​ ​and​ ​trapped​ ​over​ ​400​ ​men​ ​inside.​ ​The​ ​USS​ ​Utah,​ ​converted​ ​to​ ​a​ ​training​ ​ship,​ ​capsized​ ​with​ ​more than​ ​50​ ​crew​ ​members.​ ​Many​ ​other​ ​ships​ ​were​ ​damaged​ ​and​ ​destroyed in the​ ​attack.​ ​The​ ​USS Nevada​ ​attempted​ ​to​ ​escape​ ​any​ ​further​ ​attacks but​ ​was​ ​hit​ ​several​ ​times.

Japan​ ​also​ ​attacked​ ​military​ ​establishments​ ​on​ ​the​ ​island​ ​of​ ​Oahu.​ ​Hundreds​ ​of​ ​planes​ ​were destroyed​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ground​ ​and​ ​hundreds​ ​of​ ​men​ ​killed​ ​or​ ​wounded.​ ​Several​ ​airfields​ ​and​ ​air​ ​stations suffered​ ​damage.​ ​Clearly,​ ​Americans​ ​shortly​ ​fired​ ​back,​ ​although​ ​many​ ​shells​ ​had​ ​been​ ​fused​ ​and​ ​fell​ ​on Honolulu.​ ​Honolulu​ ​residents​ ​assumed​ ​these​ ​strikes​ ​to​ ​be​ ​Japanese.

At​ ​8:40, the second​ ​wave​ ​of​ ​Japanese​ ​planes​ ​followed​ ​the​ ​first​ ​wave.​ ​The​ ​objective​ ​was​ ​to​ ​finish​ ​off Pearl​ ​Harbor.​ ​This​ ​attack​ ​destroyed​ ​the​ ​remaining​ ​Naval​ ​ships​ ​at the shore.​ ​The​ ​Japanese​ ​also​ ​attacked Hickam​ ​and​ ​Kaneohe​ ​airfields,​ ​causing​ ​heavy​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​life.

Army​ ​Air​ ​Corps​ ​pilots​ ​managed​ ​to​ ​take​ ​off​ ​in​ ​a​ ​few​ ​fighters​ ​and​ ​may​ ​have​ ​shot​ ​down​ ​12​ ​enemy planes.​ ​At​ ​10​ ​a.m.,​ ​the​ ​second​ ​wave​ ​of​ ​attacking​ ​planes​ ​withdrew​ ​to​ ​the​ ​north​ ​and​ ​the​ ​assault​ ​was​ ​over. The​ ​Japanese​ ​lost​ ​29​ ​planes​ ​and​ ​five​ ​miniature​ ​submarines.​ ​More​ ​importantly,​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​was​ ​still functional​ ​after​ ​the​ ​Japanese​ ​hit.

After​ ​Japan​ ​attacked​ ​America,​ ​The​ ​United​ ​States’​ ​citizens​ ​were​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​back.​ ​America was​ ​in​ ​dispute​ ​about​ ​joining​ ​the​ ​war​ ​of​ ​China,​ ​Japan,​ ​and​ ​their​ ​allies.​ ​The​ ​author​ ​reports​ ​after​ ​the​ ​tragic event​ ​that​ ​occurred​ ​at​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor,​ ​America​ ​was​ ​more​ ​united​ ​than​ ​ever.​ ​President​ ​Franklin​ ​D.​ ​Roosevelt addressed​ ​the​ ​situation,​ ​“No​ ​matter​ ​how​ ​long​ ​it​ ​takes​ ​us​ ​to​ ​overcome​ ​this​ ​attack,​ ​the​ ​American​ ​people​ ​in their​ ​moral​ ​strength​ ​will​ ​win​ ​the​ ​absolute​ ​victory.”​ ​The​ ​nation​ ​was​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​join​ ​World​ ​War​ ​II.

Japan​ ​began​ ​World​ ​War​ ​II​ ​with​ ​plans​ ​to​ ​conquer​ ​China.​ ​The​ ​United​ ​States​ ​attempted​ ​to​ ​halt​ ​the invasion,​ ​which​ ​led​ ​to​ ​Japan​ ​seeing​ ​America​ ​as​ ​a​ ​threat.​ ​Japan​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​surprise attack​ ​Pearl​ ​Harbor​ ​on​ ​the​ ​fateful​ ​day​ ​of​ ​December​ ​7,​ ​1941.​ ​Many​ ​naval​ ​ships​ ​were​ ​terminated​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as 2,403​ ​men​ ​serving​​ ​our​ ​country.​ ​America​ ​was​ ​successfully​ ​surprised but​ ​did​ ​not​ ​hesitate​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​back almost​ ​instantly.

My name is Blue Dunwoody. I am a 14 year old female. I have been told I am an excellent writer, so I figured I’d send my work to some professionals and see what they have to say. I hope by doing this I can improve my writing skills.

Contact Blue

 (Unless you type the author's name
in the
subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher