Why Did Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?


Why Did The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?

There were three reasons why did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor Island of 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 USA’s navy base.

Short Answer:

  • Japanese Wanted To Became The Only Ruler of The Pacific.
  • Pearl Harbor Was The Easiest Target To Attack.
  • The USA Was Trying To Prevent Japanese Expansion Via Economic Sanctions.

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.

Why Did The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor, world war 2

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 their natural resources’ imports.

But for a few years, Japan had been facing some shortage problems with oil and other natural resources.

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

For this reason, their economy also crashed down into Great Depression.

Japanese knew very well 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.

Let me tell you that the Empire of Japan already controlled a large area of the Pacific ocean, but even after all these, 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 power of the United States navy.

America’s this decision made the Japanese empire quite angry.

They had been planning the attack on Pearl Harbour 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, using 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 damages to the United States navy.

However, casualties were massive on the US side.

Later, this act 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 it was almost certain the victory of the Allied nations.

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 reason is,

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 think 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

During the great economic depression of 1929, Japan’s economy almost crashed.

To get rid of that economic depression, Japan started invading its neighboring countries. 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 this aggression of Japan, America started to impose strong economic sanctions against them.

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

Such hostile conduct from the American side was strongly dissatisfying the 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 Harbour Island.

I hope you have got your answer.

If you still need any other help regarding this World War 2 event, then please let me know in the comments.


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