The Impact of the Attack on Pearl Harbor Research Paper

November 5, 2021 by Essay Writer


Towards the end of the 1930s, Japan had managed to expand its military influence in the Pacific. This nation was also pessimistic that the United States’ entry into the ongoing global upheaval could affect its hegemonic position. In order to prevent this possible outcome, Japan designed a powerful plan to cripple the United States’ army and make it impossible for it to engage in war. This strategy led to the infamous Pearl Harbor attack that claimed the lives of over 2,400 people. This historical event would have long-term impacts that would eventually change the world forever.

The Impacts of the Pearl Harbor Attack

Toland indicates that the Pearl Harbor attack compelled the U.S. government to investigate an attempt to understand the issues surrounding this event (31). The report led to the dismissal of different commanders who had failed to offer adequate protection. The short-term impact of this attack was that the government designed several camps on the country’s mainland. The purpose of such encampments was to confine all people who had Japanese descent. The same treatment was also used to punish Italians and Germans in the country.

Many historians have indicated that this attack informed the United States’ decision to declare war against Japan (Bode and Heo 135). Since this surprise assault led to the destruction of eight battleships and around 200 planes, the Japanese believed that America had a crippled navy that could not sustain the ongoing war. Fortunately, the country managed to join the Allies to deal with the challenges facing the world. Within a short duration, most of the battleships damaged after the attack were repaired and launched to engage in different battles.

The wave of militarism that had existed after the end of the 19th century forced many countries to form and sign treaties. Such pacts were crucial due to the existing rivalry in Europe and beyond. The Tripartite Pact that had been signed by Germany, Japan, and Italy explained why the United States attracted new enemies. America’s declaration of war against the state of Japan forced the Axis to be against it (Nagata et al. 361). Consequently, America was forced to join the ongoing wars in Europe and Asia. With the country focusing on the reality of the Pearl Harbor attack, it was quite clear that there was a need to join the Allies (Russia, France, and Britain) and make the world safe again.

America’s entry into the war was critical since it sealed the fate of the Second World War and the future of the world. By the year 1940, the Allies were finding it hard to deal with the challenges and problems experienced in Europe. Toland indicates that the Germans were unstoppable and unpredictable during the time (73). They boasted of competent engineers and professionals who produced superior and sophisticated machines such as warplanes, submarines, and missiles. The infamous “enigma codes” used by the Germans were hard to monitor and crack (Bode and Heo 139). These aspects had made it impossible for the Allies to deal with the German problem in Europe.

The United States’ decision to retaliate after the Pearl Harbor attack sealed the Allies’ victory in Europe. This was the case because the war was not being fought on American soil (Bode and Heo 141). Consequently, the country’s citizens and professionals offered adequate materials and resources that turned the tables in Europe. Domestic workers in American produced different foodstuffs and commodities that met the needs of many soldiers in Europe and Asia. The country’s army was also equipped with superior resources and weapons. This means that the Americans provided essential assistance that made it easier for the Allies to emerge victoriously.

Toland goes further to acknowledge that the Pearl Harbor attack should be outlined as the most important event that made the United States a global superpower (64). The country’s engagement in Second World War proved to the world that a new order had emerged. The Japanese and Germans eventually realized that they had engaged a superior nation that possessed adequate resources and expertise.

Another consequence of this attack that cannot be taken lightly is the invention of the atomic bomb. In 1945, Japan surrendered after the Americans dropped two weapons in Japan’s Nagasaki and Hiroshima cities With these bombs claiming the lives of over one hundred thousand people and others perishing after several months, the world acknowledged that the nuclear age had come (Nagata et al. 362). These explosive devices marked the end of the Second World War. However, America realized that it had attracted a new enemy (Russia) after 1945. This rivalry would result in the infamous Cold War that transformed the nature of international relations.


Although Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor can be described as a small event, historians have admitted that it forced the United States to join the war in Europe. This decision would result in the defeat of Japan and Germany in 1945. The country would also emerge victoriously and develop the world’s first nuclear weapon. These subsequent events led to the Cold War, thereby changing global relations forever.

Works Cited

Bode, Ingvild, and Seunghoon E. Heo. “World War II Narratives in Contemporary Germany and Japan: How University Students Understand their Past.” International Studies Perspectives, vol. 18, no. 2, 2017, pp. 131-154.

Nagata, Donna K., et al. “Processing Cultural Trauma: Intergenerational Effects of the Japanese American Incarceration.” Journal of Social Issues: A Journal of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Studies, vol. 71, no. 2, 2015, pp. 356-370.

Toland, John. Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014.

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