* They wanted to continue their expansion within Asia but the United States had placed an extremely restrictive embargo on Japan in the hopes of curbing Japan’s aggression * Rather than giving in to U. S. demands, the Japanese decided to launch a surprise attack against the United States in an attempt to destroy the United States’ naval power even before an official announcement of war was given * The morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began. At 6:00 a. m. the Japanese aircraft carriers began launching their planes amid rough sea * The American Navy was completely unaware that an attack was imminent * Attacking the U. S. aircraft on Oahu was an essential component of the Japanese attack plan * The Japanese were believed that in destroying a large portion of the U. S. airplanes, then they could proceed unhindered in the skies above Pearl Harbor. Plus, a counter-attack against the Japanese attack force would be much more unlikely * By 9:45 a. m. , just less than two hours after the attack had begun, the Japanese planes left Pearl Harbor and headed back to their aircraft carriers.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was over * The death toll among Americans was quite high. A total of 2,335 servicemen were killed and 1,143 were wounded. Sixty-eight civilians were also killed and 35 were wounded * At 12:30 p. m. on the day following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave an address to Congress in which he declared that December 7, 1941 was “a date that will live in infamy. ” * At the end of the speech, Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan, officially bringing the United States into World War II