On this day, 69 years ago, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Such an attack was labeled, and continues to be today, as an unprovoked attack which immediately brought the United States into the Second World War. The United States committed troops to the Pacific and also to Europe and Northern Africa, where war had been raging for over two years.
What is often omitted from the history books, conveniently enough, is that the United States had previously provoked Japan multiple times. Protesting their actions in Manchuria, the American government ceased oil shipments to Japan, froze Japanese bank assets, and blocked Japanese Naval movement in the Pacific Ocean through its ports in the Philippines. Japan, who imported practically all of her oil, was placed in the situation of either confronting the Americans or face complete starvation and stagnation at home. This is not to state that the actions of the Japan Imperial Forces were justified, solely that they were not “unprovoked” and “surprising” as the dictators of propaganda truth have claimed in years since.
The justification of a “surprise” Japanese attack upon American forces (as Hawaii was not yet a state at the state), allowed President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to commit troops to both the Pacific and to Europe, where Churchill and Stalin were desperately pleading for Allied support after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
This action, therefore, not only carried America into conflict with Japan, but also created the political capital FDR needed to commit troops to a “foreign war” he had previously promised to stay away from: The Second Great War in Europe.
This war, carrying on for over fours years for the Americans and six years for the rest of Europe, was the single most destructive action ever committed in the history of life on this planet. Over seventy million lives were wasted at the hands of war-pruned economies and aggressive armies. Millions of acres of buildings and land were blown to bits in a matter of days and weeks, completely destroying ancient infrastructure which had symbolized the progress of Western civilization over thousands of years.
Two atomic bombs were unleashed on innocent civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, killing over two hundred thousand people in a flash of light. The city of Dresden was firebombed by Allied planes for three straight days in the last few months of the war, killing close to three hundred thousand innocent Germans in a town far from any viable military target.
This ‘total war’ scenario condemns this brutal conflict as one of mutual guilt and inhumanity, with all who participated in conflict further adding to the ‘total’ deterioration of the human race. Death, disaster, and destruction, at the hands of a few military commanders and political leaders, should make all conscious human beings aware of the danger of centralized force and authority.
Therefore, the sacrifices and atrocities of the Second World War should be reiterated and reemphasized for each subsequent generation. If the the brutish and immoral actions of war can be recognized in the context of the Second World War, then there is hope that peace shall forever be favored, and state-justified destruction of human beings may be cast to the dustbins of history.