(Editor’s note: Welcome to Part 2 of the Road of Battlefield V. The Road to BFV: The Allies is a 3 part historical mini-series from the Allied perspective spanning from the years 1940 to 1941. This is the last installment in the Road to BFV, if you liked it and want to see more of these types of articles in the future, please let me know either in the comments or on Twitter. cheers.)
( Part III: 1941.)
The American entry into the Great War came in April 1917, after numerous efforts to keep the nation out of the European war but with the sinking of the Lusitania and the capture of the Zimmerman Telegram by British intelligence alongside the sinking of numerous American merchant ships by German U-Boats in the Atlantic, Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany and the Central Powers.
The American entry into the war greatly impacted the Allied armies fighting in Europe, the Americans helped the British and the French turn back the German Spring Offensive and played a role in the One Hundred Days Offensive at the Argonne Forest which led to the German Empire surrendering in November.
18 years later, the world was on the brink of World War as Germany began to rebuild the German armed forces and re-militarize the Rhineland with Japan pushing into China. Throughout the 1930s, Japan’s aggressive expansionist policies brought the nation into renewed conflict with China and Russia. In March 1933, Japan, much like Germany had done, pulled out of the League of Nations in response to global condemnation of Japan’s conquest of Manchukuo. In 1936, Japan withdrew from the Second London Naval Disarmament Conference because the United States and Britain refused to grant the IJN parity. A year later, a war would break out in China after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.
Japan’s invasion of China was condemned by not only the United States but the rest of the League of Nations with Japanese atrocities serving to further stretch ties with the rest of the world. In 1938, the United States adopted several and successful restrictive trade restrictions with Japan which included terminating its 1911 commercial treaty. These trade restrictions failed with Japan ultimately signing the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and the Axis powers were formed.
Japan would take advantage of Hitler’s war in Europe to further accomplish its goals in the Far East and so the Japanese sent a message to the United States that if there was any military intervention then the United States would risk war not only in the Pacific but in the Atlantic as the Tripartite Pact guaranteed assistance if a country that signed the pact was attacked by a country that was already not involved. The Roosevelt administration would not be swayed and began sending assistance in the form of supplies to the British and the Chinese and pledged to continue to send aid. Thus, as a result, the United States started to move towards war and Roosevelt would begin preparing the country and wouldn’t make the same mistakes as Woodrow Wilson did during the First World War, 24 years prior.
In the months between January and December of 1941, it would be filled with negotiations and a proposal to meet and discuss differences. In November, the situation had changed with the Naidaijin ( Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan.) resigning with Hideki Tōjō replacing him as his successor with Hirohito approving the plan to go to war against the United States and the European powers that held colonies in the Pacific.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor commenced at 7am with the base being attacked by Japanese aircraft in two waves. All eight battle destroyers that were stationed at Pearl Harbor were damaged with the USS Arizona sinking beneath the waves alongside eighty-eight American planes being destroyed with the worst casualty rate that America had endured since the Civil War.
The surprise attack at Pearl Harbor came as a complete surprise and led the nation into the war on the side of the Allied powers. The following day, the United States declared war on Japan with the rest of the Axis powers declaring war on the United States on December 11th. America had entered the Second World War.
The attack at Pearl Harbor rallied the nation and brought the nation into action. Once set up, the United States mobilized and was able to pour massive resources both into the Pacific and Atlantic theaters of war. The Japanese Empire had awakened the sleeping giant.
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