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Posted on Sunday, October 29 - 2006

" The Gathering Storm : On 7 December 1941, the Japanese surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor destroyed a large portion of the U.S. Pacific fleet and thrust the United States into the Second World War. Following a moving speech by President Franklin D Roosevelt, Congres..."

The Gathering Storm : On 7 December 1941, the Japanese surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor destroyed a large portion of the U.S. Pacific fleet and thrust the United States into the Second World War. Following a moving speech by President Franklin D Roosevelt, Congress declared war on Japan the following day. Roosevelt stated that the "United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of Japan." However, was the "date which will live in infamy" really a surprise attack, or were some high level American and British officials, possibly even Roosevelt and Churchill, aware of Japanese intentions well in advance?The attack came on the heels of the Japanese government's decision, under Premier Hideki Tojo, that the United States would take an active role in the Pacific theater in the event that Japan attacked Southeast Asia.

With the dramatic decrease in the amount of American oil and other raw materials being shipped to the Japanese, they realized that the only way to maintain the integrity of the Japanese military machine would be to assimilate the natural resources of Southeast Asia into the empire. Therefore, war with America was inevitable and unavoidable. With this in mind, the Japanese began negotiations with the United States while simultaneously preparing invasion plans of the American Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and British Malaya. One major component of these invasion plans was to neutralize the greatest threat to Japanese operations, the American Pacific fleet. With the presence of such a formidable opponent, which had established its home base at Pearl Harbor in May 1940, the Japanese realized that it would be difficult to subjugate Southeast Asia. If the majority of the fleet was eliminated in one massive assault, not only would they be able to conquer these territories, but they would also be able to fortify them as well. The attack on Pearl Harbor was devised by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in- chief of the Combined Japanese Fleet...

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