by Gerald Boerner

  

“For every advance that the Japanese have made since they started their frenzied career of conquest, they have had to pay a very heavy toll in warships, in transports, in planes, and in men. They are feeling the effects of those losses.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

“A brilliant man would find a way not to fight a war.”
— Admiral Yamamoto

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
— Admiral Yamamoto

“We won a great tactical victory at Pearl Harbor and thereby lost the war.”
— Admiral Hara Tadaichi

“We, as a nation, cannot wait for the Pearl Harbor of the information age. We must increase our vigilance to tackle this problem before we are hit with a surprise attack.”
— Fred Thompson

“We’re in greater danger today than we were the day after Pearl Harbor. Our military is absolutely incapable of defending this country.”
— Ronald Reagan

“That bloodless dismissal made the human tragedy and physical mayhem on the Gulf Coast seem like a bureaucratic mistake, … It was similar to saying the Pearl Harbor attack should not have been investigated and nobody disciplined for failures until World War II was won.”
— Robert Novac

“By the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, public opinion polls showed that over 80 percent of the American public was opposed to entering another European war. It took the dramatic event of the attack on Pearl Harbor to shift public opinion overwhelmingly to suppor our entry into the war. The public was unaware of the evidence that we now have that Roosevelt provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor and actually withheld information from the military commanders stationed there, which if furnished to them, would have probably prevented the attack.”
— John Denson, in A Century of War: Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt

  

Pearl Harbor: The Aftermath of the Attack

Pennsylvania-cassin-downes In the wake of the attack, 16 Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, 53 Silver Crosses, four Navy and Marine Corps Medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, four Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, and three Bronze Stars were awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor.

In Europe, Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy subsequently declared war on the United States immediately after they began operations against a fellow Axis member, with Hitler stating in a delivered speech:

The fact that the Japanese Government, which has been negotiating for years with this man [Franklin D. Roosevelt], has at last become tired of being mocked by him in such an unworthy way, fills us all, the German people, and all other decent people in the world, with deep satisfaction … Germany and Italy have been finally compelled, in view of this, and in loyalty to the Tripartite Pact, to carry on the struggle against the U.S.A. and England jointly and side by side with Japan for the defense and thus for the maintenance of the liberty and independence of their nations and empires … As a consequence of the further extension of President Roosevelt’s policy, which is aimed at unrestricted world domination and dictatorship, the U.S.A. together with England have not hesitated from using any means to dispute the rights of the German, Italian and Japanese nations to the basis of their natural existence … Not only because we are the ally of Japan, but also because Germany and Italy have enough insight and strength to comprehend that, in these historic times, the existence or non-existence of the nations, is being decided perhaps forever.

Though the attack inflicted large-scale destruction on US vessels and aircraft, it did not affect Pearl Harbor’s fuel storage, maintenance, submarine, and intelligence facilities.

Prince of Wales Battleship The attack was an initial shock to all the Allies in the Pacific Theater. Further losses compounded the alarming setback. Three days later, the Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk off the coast of Malaya, causing British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later to recollect "In all the war I never received a more direct shock. As I turned and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American capital ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor who were hastening back to California. Over this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme and we everywhere were weak and naked".

Uss_enterprise_cv6 Fortunately for the United States, the American aircraft carriers were untouched by the Japanese attack, otherwise the Pacific Fleet’s ability to conduct offensive operations would have been crippled for a year or so (given no diversions from the Atlantic Fleet). As it was, the elimination of the battleships left the U.S. Navy with no choice but rely on its aircraft carriers and submarines — the very weapons with which the U.S. Navy halted and eventually reversed the Japanese advance. Five of the eight battleships were repaired and returned to service, but their slow speed limited their deployment, serving mainly in shore bombardment roles. A major flaw of Japanese strategic thinking was a belief the ultimate Pacific battle would be fought by battleships, in keeping with the doctrine of Captain Alfred Mahan. As a result, Yamamoto (and his successors) hoarded battleships for a "decisive battle" that never happened.

Ultimately, targets not on Genda’s list, such as the submarine base and the old headquarters building, proved more important than any battleship. It was submarines that immobilized the Imperial Japanese Navy’s heavy ships and brought Japan’s economy to a standstill by crippling the transportation of oil and raw materials. Also, the basement of the Old Administration Building was the home of the cryptanalytic unit which contributed significantly to the Midway ambush and the Submarine Force’s success.

One further consequence of the attacks on Pearl Harbor was that Japanese American residents and citizens were relocated to Japanese American internment camps. Within hours of the attack, hundreds of Japanese American leaders were rounded up and brought to high-security camps. Later, over 110,000 Japanese Americans, including United States citizens, were removed from their homes and transferred to internment camps.

Strategic implications

AkagiDeckApril42Admiral Hara Tadaichi summed up the Japanese result by saying, "We won a great tactical victory at Pearl Harbor and thereby lost the war." While the attack accomplished its intended objective, it turned out to be largely unnecessary. Unbeknownst to Yamamoto, who conceived the original plan, the U.S. Navy had decided as far back as 1935 to abandon ‘charging’ across the Pacific towards the Philippines in response to an outbreak of war (in keeping with the evolution of Plan Orange). The U.S. instead adopted "Plan Dog" in 1940, which emphasized keeping the IJN out of the eastern Pacific and away from the shipping lanes to Australia while the U.S. concentrated on defeating Nazi Germany. Robert Leckie observed Roosevelt wisely suppressed some details of the disaster rather than risk a panic, only publishing them after the American counterattack had begun at Guadalcanal in August 1942.

The Pacific War

Pacific Island Hoping Map The Pacific War was the part of World War II—and preceding conflicts—that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in the Far East. The war began as a conflict between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China on July 7, 1937, but by December 1941, became part of the greater World War II, and lasted until August 14, 1945. The Pacific War saw the Allied powers against the Empire of Japan, the latter aided by Thailand and to lesser extent by its Axis allies Germany and Italy. The most decisive actions took place after the Empire of Japan attacked various countries, most notably the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the United States’ Territory of Hawaii. The Pacific War culminated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, resulting in Victory over Japan Day and the end of World War II on August 15, 1945. The Surrender of Japan occurred aboard the battleship USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

  

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Pearl Harbor Attack that can be found at…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Harbor_Attack

War in the Pacific that can be found at…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_War