Pearl Harbor: Why and How Japan Attacked the U.S.
Was the entire Pearl Harbor attack America’s “Back Door to War”?
Rear Adm. Robert A. Theobald famously stated that the U.S.’ excessive negotiations and talks with Japan were a ploy to tempt the Japanese to strike first. Theobald believed that the Pacific fleet was more or less like bait to the enemy. And the moment Japan attacked, America believed that it would now have legitimate reasons to strike back. This is commonly referred to as the Back Door to War theory.
Other historians claim that Theobald’s assertions are completely false and unsubstantiated. The U.S. did, in fact, have difficulties with the code-breaking the Japanese messages and that the U.S. was simply caught off guard.
Post World War II and the Current Relationship between the U.S. and Japan
Even after the end of World War II, the country still saw a lot of accusations and counter-accusations coming from high-ranking military officials. It was a very tense situation. The good thing is that America knew when to put their differences aside to face the enemy. However, typical of any democratic society, the issue resurfaced after the War for further investigations and public discourse.
Another thing that is worth noting is that after the curtains were drawn on World War II, Japan and the U.S. for decades worked together to form a very strong economic and political bond. Today, the two nations have reconciled their differences and operate under the spirit of tolerance and respect for human rights.
How is Pearl Harbor like today?
There still exist remnants of the ships that went down. For example, the USS Arizona rests down below Pearl Harbor. It could not be salvaged. Today, the place receives more than one million visitors yearly. There is a memorial dedicated to lives that were lost on that day. These memorials are the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the USS Utah Memorial. In December 2016, there was a historic visit to Pearl Harbor by Shinzo Abe (Japanese Prime Minister). He is so far the only sitting Prime Minister to ever visit Pearl Harbor. In conclusion, we would like to share the following words Shinzo Abe uttered during his historic visit:
We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow, we the people of Japan, have taken.