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The Pearl Harbor Attack 7 December 1941 Related Resources Ships Present at Pearl Harbor 0800 7 December 1941 Action Reports for commands and ships at Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor Attack message Cryptologic Histories relating to the Pearl Harbor Attack Related Web Sites on the Pearl Harbor Attack The road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two nations apart In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria which until then had been part of China In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China In 1940 the Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance and in the following year occupied all of Indochina The United States which had important political and economic interests in East Asia was alarmed by these Japanese moves The US increased military and financial aid to China embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan Because Japan was poor in natural resources its government viewed these steps especially the embargo on oil as a threat to the nations survival Japans leaders responded by resolving to seize the resource-rich territories of Southeast Asia even though that move would certainly result in war with the United States The problem with the plan was the danger posed by the US Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto commander of the Japanese fleet devised a plan to immobilize the US fleet at the outset of the war with a surprise attack The key elements in Yamamotos plans were meticulous preparation the achievement of surprise and the use of aircraft carriers and naval aviation on an unprecedented scale In the
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