Why The U.S. Entered WWII

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December 7th is still remembered as the date which will live in infamy. Photo by Ryan Aagard

December 7th is still remembered as the date which will live in infamy. Photo by Ryan Aagard

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor, a United States Naval Base on the island of Oahu in Honolulu, Hawaii was attacked by Japan. After this attack, the United States declared war and entered World War II.

Visiting Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii is a solemn experience. Many of the same feelings are present at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, tensions had been high between the United States and Japan. Pearlharbor.org reports that the United States had put an embargo on exports of important materials like steel, aviation fuel, and scrap iron to Japan as a result to the Japanese taking over French Indonesia.

In 1941, Japan invaded southern Indochina. Pearlharbor.org states that as a result of this, “The U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands froze Japanese assets. This prevented Japan from buying oil, which would, in time, cripple its army and make its navy and air force completely useless. “

Japan attacked the United States because of the embargo placed on exports to them and the freezing of their assets. Pearl Harbor was taken by surprise on the morning of Sunday December 7, 1941. Pearlharbor.org says that, “In two waves of terror lasting two long hours, they killed or wounded over 3,500 Americans and sank or badly damaged 18 ships – including all 8 battleships of the Pacific Fleet – and over 350 destroyed or damaged aircraft.”

The Hawaiian island of Oahu is a very beautiful place. At Pearl Harbor, oil can be seen on the surface of the water due to the leaking sunken ships. A memorial, museum, and other tributes to the fallen are at Pearl Harbor.

Japan surrendered to the United States on September 2, 1945 after two atomic bombs were dropped on the country causing extensive damage. Today, Japan and the United States are on good terms. An article from New York Times they reports, ““Japan is one of our closest allies, and the U.S.-Japan alliance is the central foundation for our regional security and so much of what we do in the Pacific region,” Mr. Obama told reporters when they were allowed briefly into the Oval Office during a meeting with Mr. Abe.”” Mr. Abe is the current Prime Minister of Japan.

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