The Pearl Harbor Attack


Battleship USS Missouri sinking during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor (December 07, 1941). Starting from 1868 Japan underwent a process of social, cultural, economical and military modernization (Meiji Modernization) aimed at strengthening its economy and miliraty. The Meiji Modernization turned Japan in the only non-western world power and a major force in Eastern Asia but, having been carried out to protect it against western colonial powers and internal rebellions, it also marked the birth of Japanese militarism and nationalism and handed over the nation to a military establishment which supported expansionism overseas as a solution to the overpopulation and the lack of raw materials of the Japanese home islands, and the need of export markets for their industrial production. In 1895 and 1910 Japan invaded Taiwan and Korea, thus acquiring full agricultural self-sufficiency. In 1914 it joined the Allied Powers in their fight against Germany, thus gaining German holdings in China and in the Pacific (Marshall, Mariana, Solomon and Caroline Islands and Jiaozhou Bay) in 1918. The more and more aggressive foreign politics of Japan corresponded to the diffusion, among the whole population, of an ethical code based on the beliefs that the Emperor was a god to be obeyed and worshiped, that the Japanese people was a master race fated to rule the world, that everybody were to devote their lives to the establishment of a worldwide Japanese Empire, that defeat and surrender were dishonorable, and that cruelty and mercilessness were expressions of strength. In September 1931, Japan took advantage of the difficult situation of China - torn by a civil war broke out in 1912 - and invaded Manchuria to obtain its iron and coal resources. On July 07, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army assaulted China and captured the cities of Beijing and Tianjin (July 29), Shanghai (October 09) and Nanjing (December 13), and almost the whole costal area of China (end of 1938). After the occupation of Nanjing, Japanese troops under the command of prince Yasuhiko Asaka perpetrated every sort of atrocities against civilians and prisoners of war: the countless cases of rape, brutality, torture and massacre occurred during the first six weeks of occupation caused the death of at least 300000 persons. On September 27, 1940, under the guide of Prime Minister Funimaro Konoe, the Empire of the Rising Sun signed the Dreimächtepakt with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, a political and military alliance aimed at "eine neue Ordnung der Dinge zu Schaffen und aufrechtzuerhalten" in their respective spheres of influence. At the same time Japan invaded French Indochina without a declaration of war - an act which forced the United States to place an embargo on oil against Japan. Instead of withdrawing from Indochina, Japan decided to attacking British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies to gain the control of their rubber and oil. To prevent the US Fleet from interfere with military actions in the Pacific, a plan of attack of the United States naval base of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, conceived by admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was executed on December 07, 1941, without a declaration of war. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese planes in two waves. All eight US Navy battleships were severely damaged. Three cruisers, three destroyers, and 188 aircraft were destroyed. None of America's aircraft carriers were at Pearl Harbor when the attack took place. 2402 soldiers and 57 civilians died. On December 08 the United Stated of America and the British Empire declared war on the Empire of Japan. On December 11 Germany and Italy, in force of the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the United States. On December 08 Japan simultaneously attacked the overseas territories of the British Empire, the Netherlands, and the United States. Thailand fell on December 21, Wake Island was captured on December 23 and the Crown Colony of Hong Kong surrendered on December 25. The sinking of the warships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse (December 10) lead to the collapse of British Malaya and the conquest of Singapore (February 15, 1942). Burma and the Dutch East Indies were invaded in January, 1942 and their occupation was completed on March 08, 1942. The Philippines, after a five-months resistance, surrendered on May 08, 1942. Japan now controlled more than 1 million square miles of Asian territories with minimal losses, and threatened India, Australia and the West Coast of the United States of America.

- transcript of all speeches

1941/12/07 - Announcement of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor (Bill Slater on MBC)
1941/12/07 - Announcement of the Japanese Attacks on Pearl Harbor and Manila (Albert Warner on CBS)
1941/12/07 - On the Bombing of Manila (Bert Silan on NBC)
1941/12/07 - On the Attack on Honolulu (Unidentified Speaker on KGU)
1941/12/07 - On the Japanese Attacks in the Pacific (Alvard Liddell on BBC)
1941/12/07 - Broadcast to the Nation (Eleanor Roosevelt on NBC)
1941/12/08 - The United States of America Declares War on the Japanese Empire (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
1941/12/08 - Speech on the War with Japan (Winston Churchill)
1941/12/10 - On the War with Japan (John Daly on CBS)
1941/12/11 - Germany Declares War on the United States of America (Adolf Hitler)
1941/12/23 - On the Fall of Wake Island (Unidentified Speaker on NBC)
1941/12/24 - Christmas Broadcast (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
1941/12/24 - Christmas Broadcast to the Children of France (Charles de Gaulle)
1941/12/30 - Address to the Canadian Parliament (Winston Churchill)
1942/01/06 - Address on the State of the Union (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
1942/01/15 - On the Japanese Invasion of the Dutch East Indies (Unidentified Speaker on EIAR)
1942/02/15 - Broadcast on the State of the War (Winston Churchill)
1942/04/02 - Deutsche Hörer (Thomas Mann on BBC)
1942/04/28 - A Call for Sacrifice (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
1942/05/07 - Order of Surrender of US Troops at Corregidor (Jonathan Wainwright on DZRH)

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