Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor Plunged US Into War With Axis Power


Japan’s unexpected attacks on Pearl Harbor deeply shocked American society and its policymakers. The loss of lives as a result of the attack was horrific, with nearly 2400 people dying in the assault. This attack marked the turning point in American history. It galvanized the American people into supporting aggressive military force against the responsible parties. In this reaction, therefore, the US swiftly waged an all-out war against Japan and its Axis allies, Italy and Germany. The US also pursued aggressive policies that were far-reaching in the months and years following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most impeccable was that the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the US into the protracted World War II. This paper discusses: how the US recovered from this attack to play a decisive role in the Allies victory; three military actions and their contribution to the defeat of the axis power; the United States relationship today with the nations that were known as the axis power; and why that relationship changed including the effects of globalization.

How America Recovered from Pearl Harbor Attack to Pay A Decisive Role in Allies Victory

Pearl Harbor attacked forced the US into mainstream World War II, a battle that concerned core security interests for the US. The war also symbolized competing visions for the future of the world. During that period, Japan and its allies were expanding their hegemony in their respective regions and beyond. Had these nations succeeded, they would have caused a major shift in the world power influence, a scenario that would have been detrimental to the US. In fact, the axis power had proven capability of flexing its dominance over the globe. For instance, Germany had the second biggest world economy, Japan was the fifth and Italy the sixth. These nations had modernized well-drilled militaries that had conquered territories by the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. For these reasons, these nations posed a major strategic danger to US interests (O’ Hara, 2007).

United States relationship today with the nations that were known as the axis power

After WW II, relations between the US and Japan were defined. Through the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security signed in 1951, the US incorporated Japan into its global strategies to be a dominant power in the cold war era. In effect, Japan committed itself to military, diplomatic, and economic dependence on the US. Japan permitted the US to build military bases on her soil and maintain control over Okinawa. From then, Japan acted as a member of the US and allies camp, abiding by the US lead on critical foreign policy issues. In return, the US protected Japan from external aggression; however, Japan also developed her military forces for her defense and to support US forces in regional conflicts. The US also aided Japan in economic revival by creating an international trade regime that was liberal and maintaining open markets at home. Today, the US and Japan maintain an unbalanced security alliance, American military bases remain in Japan, and their foreign policy issues differ on many fronts. America exerts global leadership today, while Japan plays a much smaller role than one would expect based on her economic and technological strength (O’ Hara, 2007).

The US and Germany today are compatible allies. American and German societies have a number of commonalities; at the same time differ in ways that offset effects on a partnership of equals. America and Germany are federally organized with a strong focus on democratically anchored liberties enshrined in their constitutions. Immediately after WW II, German institutions were modeled after the US. The two nations represented powerful capitalist economies with similar interests, weight, and links in free trade and foreign investments. Due to globalization, differences exist between the two countries due to the relative power they exercise among their neighbors (Wendy, 2001).

How the US Recovered from Pearl Harbor Attack to Play a Decisive Role in Allies Victory

The attack on Pearl Harbor awakened the US and forced her to declare war on the axis power nations. The US emerged from the Pearl Harbor attack with a raft of effective military strategies that played a significant role in the defeat of allied nations. For instance, it invested heavily in sophisticated radar and ship aircraft systems that were could not be matched by any nation. It rose from the Pearl Harbor disaster to relentlessly destroy Japanese successive parameters of defense. In the Atlantic, the US met the challenge of U-boats and made allied success over Germany and Italy. The victory against the axis power made the US naval power to be insurmountable. The US navy became an awesome symbol of the nation’s power. In fact, the formal documents of Japanese surrender were signed on board the battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945.

The attack on Pearl Harbor forced the US to galvanize its vast industrial capacity to create a comprehensive but flexible navy-marine combat system that was able to control the three zones; air, water, and surface, in which the US operated. America demonstrated its power ability at sea to play a decisive role on a global basis in World War II. The US and British command of the sea kept open the necessary lifelines that allowed the industrial and manpower might of the US to be deployed where required. At the same time, it prevented the passage of enemy armies and their supplies through its sea lanes. The US also deployed effectively and efficiently aircraft as an essential, integral component of her naval power that gave it new flexibility and extended reach. The prospect became the navy’s primary means of power projection.

American Military Actions and their Contribution to the Defeat of the Axis Power

The US authorities took a number of military actions that contributed to the defeat of the Axis Power. The first military action was the strategic deployment of the navy surface action focusing on especially on the pacific region. The US deployed guns and torpedoes of the surface fleet which played a crucial contribution to its victory by playing a decisive role at a critical time in the war. Secondly, the military decision of integrating the navy’s air, amphibious, logistical, submarine, and surface components, solidified the defense power over the axis power. Thirdly, the US used its industrial might to recruit, train and promote outstanding personnel who were efficient. These factors combined were insurmountable (O’ Hara, 2007).


The United States emerged from the Pearl Harbor attack and protracted World War II as the mightiest naval power of all time. The morale in the naval navy was high; it had risen from devastating attack at Pearl Harbor to lead its allies to successive victories over the axis nations.


O’ Hara, V. (2007). The US Navy Against the Axis. Anapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press

Wend, H. (2001). Recovery and Restoration. New York: Greenwood Publishing.