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10. 6 The Pearl Harbor Incident - the US entry into the War

Since June 1940 tension had been mounting between America and Japan. The Axis Powers: Germany and Italy made strides into Europe while Japan had military interests in East Asia. As the Japanese army marched into China and then into Vietnam, the U.S. grew increasingly uncomfortable. In retaliation, the U.S. clamped a trade embargo (including one regarding oil-shipment) on Japan in July 1941. Besides, all Japanese assets in the U.S. were frozen.

Meanwhile, negotiations between secretary of State, Hull and the Japanese envoys were on in Washington. The embargo on oil and the freezing of all Japanese assets embittered Japan. The Japanese government, under General Tojo made a last attempt to come to some agreement. On November 5th Japan offered a plan to solve the crisis, but American secretary of state, Hull rejected the plan.


In another Japanese offer, Japan promised to make no fresh moves in S. E. Asia and the South Pacific. Moreover, it also offered to bring her forces back to North Vietnam and to give up Vietnam totally after the war. The U.S. refused the new plan, as it did not want to give Japan a free hand in China. Later when news reached the U.S. that Japan was planning to invade Thailand, the President sent an appeal to the Japanese emperor on December 6, urging him to withdraw Japanese troops from Indo-China.

Japan did not respond to the appeal. Instead it attacked the Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The surprise attack led to 2,403 casualties, the destruction of a large number of battleships and crippling the airforce. Shocked, the Congress declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Overnight the entire American nation was united in its determination to fight the axis power. The American entry in the Second World War went in favor of Britain and her Allies. The war ended with the surrender of Germany in May, 1945. Japan did not surrender until August 1945. when the U.S. dropped the first atom bombs on Japan, devastating the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Realizing that it could not put up a fight against further atomic attacks, it surrendered on August 14, 1945.

[Next Page]


Table of Contents

10.0 - Chronology of Major Events
10.1 - America Before The Outbrake Of The Second World War
10.2 - German Expansion
10.3 - The US And The War
10.4 - Departure From Neutrality
10.5 - The Land Lease Act
10.6 - The Pearl Harbour Incident
10.7 - Impact Of The War
10.8 - US Diplomacy During The War
10.9 - Conference At Dumberton Oaks
10.10 - The Yalta Conference
10.11 - Points To Remember

Chapter 11





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