First World War in Asia and USA referat





First World War in Asia and USA

THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR FOR JAPAN AND USA The attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into World War II. The attack had significant and far-reaching political effects on the United States, changing the minds of many who had been philosophically opposed to war or who had taken a passive stance towards the war in Europe. The increasing diplomatic confrontations and economic sanctions against Japan by the United States and others, compounded by Japan's undeclared war in China and the weakening of European control in Asian colonies, precipitated the war in the Pacific. The Japanese felt that the time was opportune to conquer British, American, French, Chinese, and Dutch territories in Southeast Asia. This belief pushed militaristic factions in Japan to provoke war with the United States. Fearing that the United States Pacific Fleet would pose a formidable obstacle to Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia, Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, visualized a bold attack on the Pacific Fleet while it lay at anchor at Pearl Harbor. Such a surprise strategical attack, bold and daring in its execution, would, he believed, secure the Pacific. THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR The attack on Pearl Harbor was the culmination of a decade of deteriorating relations between Japan and the United States over the status of China and the security of Southeast Asia. This breakdown began in 1931 when Japanese army extremists, in defiance of government policy, invaded and overran the northern-most Chinese province of Manchuria. Japan ignored American protests, and in the summer of 1937 launched a full-scale attack on the rest of China. Although alarmed by this action, neither the United States nor any other nation with interests in the Far East was willing to use military force to halt Japanese expansion. Over the next three years, war broke out in Europe and Japan joined Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in the Axis Alliance. The United States applied both diplomatic and economic pressures to try to resolve the Sino-Japanese conflict. The Japanese government viewed these measures, especially an embargo on oil, as threats to their national security. By the summer of 1941, both countries had taken positions from which they could not retreat without a serious loss of national prestige. Although both governments continued to negotiate their differences, Japan had already decided on war. The attack on Pearl Harbor was part of a grand strategy of conquest in the western Pacific. The objective was to immobilize the Pacific Fleet so that the United States could not interfere with invasion plans. The principal architect of the attack was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet. Though personally opposed to war with America, Yamamoto knew that Japan's only hope of success in such a war was to achieve quick and decisive victory. If there were a prolonged conflict, America's superior economic and industrial power would likely tip the scales in her favor. On November 26, the Japanese attack fleet of 33 warships and auxiliary craft, including 6 aircraft carriers, sailed from northern Japan for the Hawaiian Islands. It followed a route that took it far to the north of the normal shipping lanes. By early morning, December 7, 1941, the ships had reached their launch position, 230 miles north of Oahu. At 6 a.m., the first wave of fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes took off. The night before, some 10 miles outside the entrance to Pearl Harbor, five midget submarines carrying two crewmen and two torpedoes each were launched from larger 'mother' subs. Their mission: enter Pearl Harbor before the air strike, remain submerged until the attack got underway, then cause as much damage as possible. Meanwhile at Pearl Harbor, the 130 vessels of the U.S. Pacific Fleet lay calm and serene. Seven of the fleet's nine battleships were tied up along 'Battleship Row' on the southeast shore of Ford Island. Naval aircraft were lined up at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Stations, and Marine aircraft at Ewa Marine Corps Air Station. At Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows airfields, aircraft of the U.S. Army Air Corps were parked in groups as defense against possible saboteurs. At 6:40 a.m., the crew of the destroyer USS Ward spotted the conning tower of one of the midget subs headed for the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The Ward sank the sub with depth charges and gunfire, then radioed the information to headquarters. Before 7 a.m. the radar station at Opana Point picked up a signal indicating a large flight of planes approaching from the north. These were thought to be either aircraft flying in from the carrier Enterprise or an anticipated flight of B-17s from the mainland, so no action was taken. The first wave of Japanese aircraft arrived over their target areas shortly before 7:55 a.m. Their leader, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, sent the coded messages 'To, To, To' and 'Tora, Tora, Tora,' telling the fleet that the attack had begun and that surprise had been achieved. At approximately 8:10, the USS Arizona exploded, hit by a 1,760-pound armor-piercing shell that slammed through her deck and ignited her forward ammunition magazine. In less than nine minutes, she sank with 1,177 of her crew. The USS Oklahoma, hit by several torpedoes, rolled over, trapping more than 400 men inside. The USS California and USS West Virginia sank at their moorings, while the USS Utah, converted to a training ship, capsized with more than 50 of her crew. The USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania, and USS Tennessee all suffered significant damage. The USS Nevada attempted to run out to sea but took several hits and had to be run aground to avoid sinking and blocking the harbor entrance. While the attack on Pearl Harbor intensified, other military installations on Oahu were hit. Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows airfields, Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station, and Schofield Barracks suffered varying degrees of damage, with hundreds of planes destroyed on the ground and hundreds of men killed or wounded. After about five minutes, American anti-aircraft fire began to register hits, although many of the shells that had been improperly fused fell on Honolulu, where residents assumed them to be Japanese bombs. After a lull, at 8:40 a.m. the second wave of attacking planes focused on continuing the destruction inside the harbor, destroying the USS Shaw, Sotoyomo, a dry dock, and heavily damaging the Nevada, forcing her aground. The Japanese also attacked Hickam and Kaneohe airfields, causing heavy loss of life and reducing American ability to retaliate. Army Air Corps pilots managed to take off in a few fighters and may have shot down 12 enemy planes. At 10 a.m. the second wave of attacking planes withdrew to the north, and the assault was over. The Japanese lost 29 planes and five midget submarines, one of which was captured when it ran aground off Bellows Field. The attack was a great, but not total, success. Although the U.S. Pacific Fleet was shattered, its aircraft carriers (not in port at the time of the attack) were still afloat and Pearl Harbor was surprisingly intact. The shipyards, fuel storage areas, and submarine base suffered no more than slight damage. More importantly, the American people, previously divided over the issue of U.S. involvement in World War II, rallied together with a total commitment to victory over Japan and her Axis partners. World War II Bombing THE ATTACK OF HIRSHIMA During World War II, Hiroshima was a city of considerable military importance. It contained the 2nd Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops. To quote a Japanese report, 'Probably more than a thousand times since the beginning of the war did the Hiroshima citizens see off with cries of 'Banzai' the troops leaving from the harbor.' The bomb exploded over Hiroshima at 8:15 on the morning of August 6 1945. About an hour previously, the Japanese early warning radar net had detected the approach of some American aircraft headed for the southern part of Japan. The alert had been given and radio broadcasting stopped in many cities, among them Hiroshima. The planes approached the coast at a very high altitude. At nearly 8:00 A.M., the radar operator in Hiroshima determined that the number of planes coming in was very small - probably not more than three - and the air raid alert was lifted. The normal radio broadcast warning was given to the people that it might be advisable to go to shelter if B-29´s were actually sighted, but no raid was expected beyond some sort of reconnaissance. At 8:16 A.M., the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb called 'Little Boy' over the central part of the city and the bomb exploded with a blast equivalent to 12,000 tons of TNT, killing 80,000 outright. THE ATTACK OF NAGASAKI This very industry would eventually make it a target in World War II. At 11:02 am on August 9, 1945, the American B-29 Superfortress 'Bockscar,' in search of the shipyards, instead spotted the Mitsubishi Arms Works through a break in the clouds. On this target, it dropped the nuclear bomb Fat Man, the second nuclear weapon to be detonated over Japan (see Hiroshima (city) for an account of the first). Even though the 'Fat Man' missed by over a mile and a half, it still leveled nearly half the city. 75,000 of Nagasaki's 240,000 residents were killed, followed by the death of at least as many from resulting sickness and injury. However another report issues a different residental number, speaking of Nagasaki's population which dropped in one split-second from 422,000 to 383,000, thus 39,000 were killed, over 25,000 were injured. If taken into account those who died from radioactive materials causing cancer, the total number of casualties is to be believed at least 100,000 killed residents. (Estimates from physicists who have studied each atomic explosion state that the bomb that was used had utilized only 1/10th of 1 percent of their respective explosive capabilities.) The city was rebuilt after the war, albeit dramatically changed, as any city would be after such colossal damage. New temples were built, and new churches as well, since the Christian presence never died out and even increased dramatically in numbers after the war. Some of the rubble was left as a memorial, like the one-legged torii gate and a stone arch near ground zero. New structures were also raised as memorials, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki remains first and foremost a port city, supporting a rich shipping industry and setting a strong example of perseverance and peace.















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