The World Wars

The World Wars  |  Alliances Led to a Great War  |  20th Century Warfare
America Enters World War II  |  A Kid's Perspective
Harry Truman's Decision  |  Important Links

 

America enters World War II

    On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States military base on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor. The four-hour attack was devastating. Approximately 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,300 wounded. President Franklin Roosevelt described December 7 as "a day that will live in infamy."

    The United States defeated Japan in a deadly war lasting almost four years. America lost 291,557 soldiers in the war, but Japan lost about 1,200,000. After the war, the United States occupied Japan and controlled everything that happened there. 

     Why would Japan attack the powerful United States? In December 1941, it looked as though Germany might defeat the allied forces in Europe. America would not allow Hitler to control a large portion of the world and would soon enter the war. Japan was allied with Germany and would be forced to fight America. Also, if Hitler did win, Japan wanted to seize China and the rest of East Asia. 

     Japan has few natural resources of their own, but they had a great army and navy. They seized northeast China and much of Southeast Asia prior to the war. The United States seemed likely to attack the Japanese in order to support the other Asian nations. 

     The Japanese felt that war with the United States was coming anyway, so a sneak attack would give them a head start on the Americans. Japan destroyed the U.S. naval fleet in the Pacific Ocean, but they unified the American people. 

     Americans had not felt strongly about a war fought far away and had little interest in joining the conflict. Many Americans were "isolationists," they wanted to be isolated from the world's problems. Hitler could destroy Europe so long as he remained on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything. 

     America's factories began operating like never before. Workers worked double shifts to create war materials. As young men went to war, many American women entered the workforce for the first time. American entertainers and sports heroes joined the effort. Japan had not counted on Americans pulling together as they had for the war effort. 

     After the war, America was acknowledged as the world's strongest military power. The women who helped the war effort began to demand a voice in American society. 

The World Wars in the Electronic Passport

A Kid's Perspective on World War

The World Wars  |  Alliances Led to a Great War  |  20th Century Warfare
America Enters World War II  |  A Kid's Perspective
Harry Truman's Decision  |  Important Links

 

To cite this page:
Dowling, Mike., "The Electronic Passport to World War II," available from /706-ww2.html; Internet; updated Tuesday, July 1, 2014

©2009, Mike Dowling. All rights reserved.