At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor In Hawaii.
Anxious to maintain their military and economic power in the region the Japanese planned to cripple the U.S. fleet which would then allow them to attack the Philippines and Indo-China without opposition and acquire the raw materials they needed to maintain their position.
Several ships were sunk or damaged, the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.
The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress, which declared war against Japan, and the United States officially entered World War II. The Japanese had no idea they were awakening a sleeping giant. December 7th, 1941 truly was a date which would live in infamy.
James Bradley, whose father was one of those who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, has studied the war and the reason Japan attacked us in the first place.
In a secret presidential cable to Tokyo, in July 1905, Roosevelt approved the Japanese annexation of Korea and agreed to an “understanding or alliance” among Japan, the United States and Britain “as if the United States were under treaty obligations.” The “as if” was key: Congress was much less interested in North Asia than Roosevelt was, so he came to his agreement with Japan in secret, an unconstitutional act.
Bradley’s op-ed in the New York Times is an excellent read for anyone who wants to know the real reason that Japan decided to attack us the way they did.
Take a moment today to remember all of those who died on that December morning in 1941.