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Essay on The Attack on Pearl Harbor Shapes American History

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The Attack on Pearl Harbor Shapes American History


“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy . . .” These famous lines were spoken the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave this speech to the U.S. Congress on December 8, 1941. Many criticized the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but the decision to attack America was wisely made. The Americans were going to enter the war sooner or later, and on the allies’ side. The attack on Pearl Harbor would hurt the United States’ strongest defense and kill many Americans. This was the first terrorist attack on the United States, by another country, which came as a total shock to many people.

One of the people who is rumored to have known about the attack was the president. President Roosevelt knew the attack against Pearl Harbor had to have been planned for a while, because of the distance, the organization, and telegrams that had been coming in. Japan was too far for the attack to be an accident or a spur of the moment type plan. The attack was well organized and the Japanese were prepared. The continental United States was receiving telegrams warning them that there would be an attack. Unfortunately, people in Hawaii were not warned; they were living their normal lives, doing things they were accustomed to doing such as going to parties, writing letters home, and just doing things that a man stationed in Hawaii would do. Many men wrote letters home to their girlfriend or parents or kept a journal. The following letter is an example. Doctor Paul E. Spangler wrote it:

"With my Pearl Harbor plates on I had the right of way and I was out there in nothing flat. ...I hurried up to the Surgery and already the casualties were p...


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...ear of 1941. (53.19% for the former and 51.06% for the latter.) The percentage of people quizzed that didn’t know Pearl Harbor had been attacked from the air and sea was 48.94%. A low score of 31.91% people polled didn’t know that some Americans had known that a Japanese attack against the United States was going to take place. Also, 6.38% more people knew one of the ships damaged, compared to what day the attack to place. Only 46.81% of people polled know that Pearl Harbor is found on the island of Oahu.

Today, if you ever visit the island of Oahu, you can go to the Arizona memorial. It has all the names of the men who died, and you can still see the Arizona underwater. Even today, oil bubbles up from the watery entombment of hundreds of men, making sure that we never forget Pearl Harbor and to make sure we are always prepared for every battle we might face.



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