Essay Example on Japan's Blunder: Attack on Peral Harbor & Atomic Missiles

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1331 Words
Date:  2023-03-12

The decision by Japan to attack Peral Harbor was a blunder that caused the usage of atomic missiles on two towns in Japan. The greatest mistake was on the 2nd of July 1942, where Japan decide to attack Southern Indochina. The decision to strike was because of the started confrontation in which many leaders from Japan were presented with no alternative but to move forward with the invasion because America was formulating to surround Japan. The surrounding of Japan by the United States was to expurgate off its provisions of oil and prevent the trade from the ocean which was critical to the imperial power of Japan. The attack was a surprise assault on the harbor to counteract the navy of Americans in the pacific to give Japan enough tie for victory consolidation in Asia. There was poor calculation by Japan on the effect of the surprise invasion on the will of America and the ability to gush the force of the military in short order. The paper discusses the lack of evidence on Japan planning an attack on Pearl Harbor.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The decision to attack Peral harbor as a surprise attack was from the decision to invade southern Indochina made in July 1941 at an imperial conference (Gompert, Binnendijk, & Lin, 2014). The Japanese considered the move like a start to any movement move to the south. The decision indicated that Japan would not attack the Soviet Union even after pressure from Germany to do so. Japan decided to take control of Indochina militarily. Hideki Tojo, the minister of war, assumed that Japan could achieve an efficient operation in the south by wearing down China and withstand a long battle with Britain and America. Tokyo did not take any critical assessment of the probability of total embargo imposition by the United States. Franklin D. Roosevelt met with the Japanese ambassador to the United States Nomura to try and attempt to derail the incursion of Japan into southern Indochina. He said that an oil embargo could be avoided id the neutralization of Indochina without the total occupation of Japan. France backed Japan's invasion into Indochina giving Japan the motivation to disregard the warning of Roosevelt.

The United States responded by freezing the financial assets of the Japanese in America with a postponement in the oil embargo. Japan tried to reach a compromise with the United States. They proposed a deal to Roosevelt that the occupation of Japan in China will stop after a victory in the war and the United States to convince the Nationalist leader of the Chines Chiang Kai-shek to enter into negotiation. Also, America would allow Japan to have access to the oil from Dutch in the Indies which was rejected by Roosevelt because it was unconstructive. In August of 1941, Roosevelt's earlier decision was implemented by Acheson and took measures to execute what was an oil embargo on the Japanese through the cancelation of the ability of Japan to pay for the oil, which was supported by Roosevelt (Gompert et al., 2014). Approximately 80% of Japan oil came from the United States, and the levy would pinch into the two-year reserve of oil in Japan (Gompert et al., 2014). The United States initiated the encouragement of Dutch Indies oil companies not to cooperate with Japan. The overall effect of the sanctions extensively affected the economy of Japan.

The better part of 1941 entailed efforts to manage the downward spiral followed up in Washington with around 40 meetings between Nomura and Secretary of the State Cordell Hull (Gompert et al, 2014). America broke the diplomatic code and understood the instruction by Nomura in advance. The intelligence made Nomura seem deceptive making Hull suspicious of the motives of Tokyo. The official position by Washington hardened and during the midyear, America demanded that Japan abandons Indochina and China and give up any exclusive freedoms. The motives of Roosevelt are thus questioned in the second half of 1941. The argument is the bulldozed Tokyo by providing them no alternative but to invade by initiating war with Japan as a means of attacking Germany.

The mistake of attacking Peral Harbor was not the final decision, but a means to avoid entrapment with no choices. The choices by Japan could be founded on nonmilitary means of getting resources to the south and evade sanctions. However, the Japanese did not check their record to explain their predicament. The basis of their decision was intuition, obedience, acquiescence, and conformity. The leadership of Japan did not want to comply with the pressure from the United States. The culture of making decisions in Japan was centered on the military, and the solutions to the groups seem to be related to the military. Their thinking was that by seizing the oil filed in the East Indies of Dutch will solve the oil embargo but were prevented by the United States.

The Japanese navy had refrained from war, but after the imposition of the oil embargo and occupation of Indochina, their principles shifted. Osami Nagano who was the navy chief of staff, argued that the inevitable war with the United States should be started while the supply of oil was still available. The official plans for the operations began in July 1941 for a combined attack on Indies and the Philippines which was a U.S (Gompert et al, 2014). Protectorate with a considerable number of U.S. forces. Assault in the Philippines would cause a war with America. The attack on Pearl Harbor was designed to neutralize the American Navy which was then the only force that could stop such an offense to the south, but these were the contingency plans. With the certainty of the war, the military of Japan carries our major drills with aircraft simulating an attack on Pearl Harbor. Follow up negotiations failed due to the fixed demands of the Japanese.

Concerning the main topic, there was no evidence to show that Japan had plans to attack Pearl Harbor. Before the war, talks were on-going when the aircraft transporters sailed with instructions not to strike in case the negotiations were successful. The talks made no progress, and the fleet hit even before the declaration of war due to the ignorance of Yamamoto. The decision to attack Pearl Harbor was based on the army generals who had flawed information through do-or-die spirit, a pull toward groupthink, urge to conform, arrogance, extreme nationalism and a prism of militarism. It affected their ability for critical and objective analysis.

The attack on the harbor was based on the consensus agreement from all sources even the logical naval forces. The pressure on their economy and oil reserves developed their idea to attack the harbor to prove their strength to the Americans. Pearl Harbor was the hot spot to get oil to be added to its reserves and influence the United States to lift the sanctions (Gompert et al, 2014). The Japanese recognized the higher economic strength of the United States and its domination in most countries and thought that they would be dominated by the Americans too. Japan came up with the surprise assault decision on Pearl Harbor was based on debilitating blow on the Americans to remove capability for at least a year or more to consolidate their victories in Asia. It was a flawed decision basing on their theory of military conquest.


Conclusively, the error in the model of Japanese realism leading to Pearl Harbor was centered on their inconsideration of the United States. Although their leaders had access to clear evidence contradicting their assertion, their arrogance blinded them from it. The presumption of Yamamoto not to wait for the declaration of war also lead to the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, America should have been logical in its approach with Japan rather than boxing them to a point where they had to lash out.


Gompert, D. C., Binnendijk, H., & Lin, B. (2014). Japan's Attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941. In Blinders, Blunders, and Wars: What America and China Can Learn. Retrieved from

Cite this page

Essay Example on Japan's Blunder: Attack on Peral Harbor & Atomic Missiles. (2023, Mar 12). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism