According to the United States Navy website, Naval Station Pearl Harbor is one of its busiest harbor. It annually completes around 65,000 boat runs and transports 2.4 million passengers to and from Ford Island. Besides this, essential counseling, training, spouse employment, and family enhancement programs are also provided to over 55,000 people each year, by the Naval Station's Family Service Center (NSFSC). This Naval Station also has its own police and security force, and is responsible for DOD firefighters in 13 island-wide stations.
The attack on Pearl Harbor is still considered to be one of the defining moments in American history. It was an attempt by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) to deter the United States from interfering with Japan's plan of war against Britain and Netherlands. On 26th November, 1941, six aircraft carriers namely Soryu, Kaga, Hiryu, Zaikatu, Akagi and Shokaku left the ports of Japan, with over 420 planes loaded with explosives, under the able command of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. Their sole purpose was to execute a surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor in order to cause maximum damage to the American naval base.
Reasons Why Japan Attacked
There are many reasons which prompted Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the president of United States at that time, had banned almost all kinds of export goods to Japan. The prime reason behind this ban was Japan's expansion in the Indo-China region, which provoked major powers into action. The United States, Netherlands, and Britain collectively withdrew their support from Japan, which led to a loss of more than 90% of its oil supply. Japan could only look forward to gain influence in the South East Asian region in order to make up for the losses. But it wasn't possible without confronting America. Besides that, the US also had the greatest Naval Force and Japan wanted to neutralize American naval power in the Pacific. Japan never wanted America to get involved in the World War, so it was an attempt to dishearten the American navy and prove superiority of Japan.
The raid was carried out in two waves in order to cause maximum damage to the naval base. At 7:55 a.m. on 7th December 1941, the first attack with 183 planes was launched north of Oʻahu, Hawaii. It consisted of dive bombers, fighters, high level bombers and torpedo planes, and was soon followed by the second wave of 167 planes, almost an hour later.The American soldiers, who were not ready for the attack, initially took the raid as some kind of drill, until the planes maneuvered into attack formations at low altitude over Merry Point. However, even when it was announced that there has been attack, almost all the ammunition lockers were still locked and aircraft were parked in the open to deter sabotage. A sudden attack didn't give any time to the soldiers, but still, many American military personnel responded effectively during the battle. A third wave was also planned but not executed as the Japanese army didn't further want to risk their fighter planes.
After the two waves of attack, the Japanese aircraft damaged 188 US aircraft, eight Navy battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers. The death toll reached almost 2,403, with half of them due to the explosion on the battleship, USS Arizona. It was hit with an armor-piercing bomb, which somehow was able to explode in the ammunition compartment, causing a lot of damage. The explosion tore the ship into two halves, sinking it within seconds. As the American army was unprepared, the scathe caused to the Japanese navy was very small as compared to the US navy. By the end of two raids, only 29 Japanese aircraft out of 350 were destroyed.
After Effects of the Bombing
After the attack, the United States immediately tried to deal with the actual damage done to the military and its forces. It was America's dislike towards the Axis Powers and their goals along with the attack, which brought America into World War II. However, considering the losses, it was not able to play any significant role in the Pacific war for the next few months. This was indeed a strategic victory for Japan as it continued to expand in South-East Asia, without any interference from the American side until they got nuked.