3 Reasons Why Did Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?


Why Did The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?

Short Answer:

1. First Reason: Japanese Wanted To Became The Only Ruler of The Pacific.

They Wanted To Control The Entire Region & Extract Its Natural Resources For The Mainland. The United States of America Was The Only And Biggest Obstacle On Their Way. 

2. Second Reason: Pearl Harbor Was The Easiest Target To Attack. The United States Mainland Was Located Far Away From Pearl Harbor.

Japanese Were Well Aware That The US Forces Wouldn’t Be Able To Reach Pearl Harbor Immediately.

3. Third Reason: Japan Wanted To Build A Big Empire Similar To The British & French. To Fulfill This Imperialist Ambition, They Started Invading Other Neighboring Countries.

The USA Was Trying To Prevent Japanese Expansion Via Economic Sanctions. Because of The Economic Sanctions, Their Economy Suffered From Terrible Crisis. They Wanted To Take Revenge On The United States.

Learn Everything In-Depth In The Following.

There were three reasons why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in the USA.

The attack took place on the 7th of December 1941 and the location was Oahu, Hawaii territory.

The day was Sunday morning. The invasion was an airstrike from the Japanese side on the United States’ main navy base in the Pacific.

After this incident, the United States of America formally declared war on the Empire of Japan and entered WW2.

Now, let’s see which are the three reasons for the cruel sudden airstrike.

Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor

3 Reasons Why The Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor

1. Japanese Wanted To Became The Empire of The Entire Pacific

Primarily, Japan imported oil and other natural resources from the United States of America.

The US contributed more than 50 percent of Japan’s natural resources imports.

But for a few years, Japan had been facing some shortages of oil and other natural resources.

Due to Japan’s aggressive policy towards China and other Asian nations, in 1938, the United States imposed some heavy economic sanctions on them.

The economic sanctions led the Japanese economy to fall into a Great Depression.

Japanese were well aware that the Pacific Ocean was the hub of minerals and other raw materials, which could feed their hunger. 

Therefore they always wanted to be the only king in the entire pacific region.

Let me tell you that the Empire of Japan already controlled a large area of the Pacific Ocean, but even after all this, they wanted no competition there.

In 1939, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to move the US Navy base from California to the South Pacific, in Pearl Harbor.

His main motive was to show the strength of the United States Navy.

America’s this decision made the Japanese emperor quite angry because they were trying to challenge his imperialist ambition.

They had been planning the attack on Pearl Harbor for months.

Japanese leaders thought, that if they would be able to destroy the USA’s navy base in Pearl Harbor, then the USA would not be able to fight back easily.

They hoped, taking advantage of this opportunity, they would be able to convince the US government to a peace negotiation.

Later it proved wrong to them. Because as they hoped, they failed to do core damage to the United States Navy.

However, casualties were massive on the US side.

Later, the action of Japan proved not only wrong for themselves but also for the entire Central power nations (including Germany and Italy).

Because after this incident, the United States of America directly entered World War 2 and began involving in the conflicts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

So, Japan’s motive to become the empire of the pacific was the first reason for that sudden attack.

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Why Did The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
Why Did The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor

2. Pearl Harbor Was The Easiest Target To Attack

Pearl Harbor was the easiest target for the Japanese attack.


The distance from Japan’s mainland to Pearl Harbor was 6,189.47 kilometers and from the USA’s mainland, it was 3218.69 kilometers.

Due to the long distance from both sides, where on one hand the USA did never imagine that Japan would attack them.

In the same way, Japan also estimated that the USA would not be able to send military support immediately from the mainland.

In the end, Japan’s estimation proved correct.

Due to America not being alert and prepared, the Japanese executed the invasion easily.

In history, many people call it one of the worst intelligence failures of the United States.

Although, after this attack, American intelligence become quite cautious and the result was seen during the battle of Midway.

3. The USA Was Trying To Prevent Japanese Expansion Via Economic Pressure

Japan wanted to build an empire, similar to the British and French. But there was a problem, Japan had no natural resources on its mainland.

On top of that, during the great economic depression of 1929, Japan’s economy almost crashed.

To get rid of that economic depression, they started invading neighboring countries with the ambition to exploit resources.

One of the main among them was China.

In 1931, the Japanese attacked and occupied China’s Manchuria.

After invading Manchuria, they drove out all the Chinese soldiers from there.

Even they resigned from the League of Nations membership after the incident.

Seeing the Japanese aggression, the United States started imposing some strong economic sanctions against them.

Even, the USA’s started supporting Chinese authority by providing military and economic relief.

Such hostile conduct from the American side was strongly dissatisfying Japanese leaders.

Political analysts already realized that the US and Japan were going to fight a war soon.

Finally, as they thought, the same thing happened in 1941.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States of America formally declared war on the Japanese Empire and directly entered World War 2.



So, these were the three main causes that provoked Japan to invade Pearl Harbor Island.

I hope you have got your answer.

If you still need any other help regarding this World War II event, then please let me know in the comments.


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