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The Pacific War Before Pearl Harbor


Part 2: Expanding the Occupation

In July 1941, Japan invaded Indochina (now Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The reason was the same: Japan needed more oil and coal, and Indochina had a lot of it.

In response, the United States refused to sell any more oil to Japan. Japan was angered by this. Its leaders also felt threatened by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which routinely did manuevers in the Pacific Ocean, sailing from the base at Pearl Harbor.

The military leaders of Japan decided that if the U.S. would not sell Japan any oil, then Japan would attack the U.S. General Hideki Tojo took over as prime minister, and the decision was made to attack.

Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto had studied at Harvard University in the United States and knew firsthand that the American people would not easily give up. Therefore, he told his fellow commanders, the attack on America must be a crushing blow.

First page > Depression and Aggression > Page 1, 2

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