The expansion of the US Navy authorized in June 1940 threatened the predominance of the Japanese Navy in the Pacific Ocean. In response Japanís military leaders sought to preempt the American response by striking first at the US Navy base of Pearl Harbor.
On December 7, 1941, a little before 8:00 am, Japanese forces bombed the Americanís fleet base at Pearl Harbor. The attack left 18 warships sunk or damaged, including 5 battleships, 188 planes were destroyed. Luckily the US carriers were elsewhere that particular day. The raid killed two thousand four hundred three American troops.
Perhaps the most murderous hit, and unluckiest of all, was the armor piercing bomb that struck the battleship Arizona near its number two turret. 8:10 am, the bomb crashed through the deck and proceeded into the fuel tank. Fire flared for about seven seconds before reaching 1.7 lbs of explosives. The Arizona leaped into the air and settled almost split in two. More than one thousand of itís crew were instantly killed in the explosion.
The Japanese made an immense gamble on December 7, 1941, but they didnít have a long range plan nor did they judge the consequence of their surprise attack.By Molly "The Donkey" Sparkman