The attack of the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was one of the best military surprises in the history of war.
Under Admiral Yamomato, the Japanese Navy delivered a stunning blow to the United States. The brilliant, two
wave attack, utterly surprised the Americans. Over 2,000 American sailors were killed in this onslaught, as well as
109 marines, and 218 soldiers 1. By looking at what Japan did preceding the attack one can see how the American
troops should have been better prepared for such an attack.
The Japanese started their military increase in 1937, when Emperor Hirohito reigned, and they took over
China 2. Their increase continued in 1939, when they tuned South to take over Hainan on February 10. Gordon
Prange states a reason for Japan conquering small areas as well: "In March of the same year Japan laid claim to the
Spratlys-coral islands offering potential havens for planes and small naval craft, located on a beautiful navigational
fix between Saigon and North Borneo, Manila, and Singapore 3."
When France fell in 1940, Japan put troops in Northern French Indochina, this was their stepping stone to further
advancement southward. In 1941, Japan got ready to expand into Southeast Asia. These areas included Malaya, the
Philippines, the Netherlands, and the East 4.
"The United States had to consider Japan in the context of its Axis Alliance, for aid and concessions to
Tokyo in effect, meant aid and concessions for Berlin and Rome .5" Japan had a long list of grievances against the
United States, the foremost being the recognition of the Chiang Kai-Shek regime and the nonrecognition of
Manchuko.6 The U.S. Military in Asia was a constant annoyance to Japan. They felt that all Allied forces in Asia
must be removed.7
By the beginning of July 1940, Washington placed...