The Story of the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
When the Japanese invaded China in the 1930s, President Roosevelt committed to keeping the U.S. out of the war unless we were attacked. Were there warning signs that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor?
Timeline Leading up to the Attack
• In 1932, Admiral Yarnell in a Naval exercise with the Army, attacked Pearl Harbor with 152 planes about half an hour before dawn on Sunday which caught the defenders completely by surprise. His tactics were published and became known to the Japanese Navy.
• In 1938, Admiral Ernst King led a successful air strike from the carrier Saratoga against Pearl Harbor.
• In April 1940, the Naval fleet was transferred from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to strengthen support in the Pacific against the Japanese. The Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Richardson, warned Roosevelt of the dangers in so much that he ignored the orders twice to move the fleet. He was eventually replaced with Admiral Kimmel. Kimmel also brought up the same issues with Roosevelt in June 1941.
• In Sept. 1940, the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis treaty was signed and the Japanese joined Germany and Italy against the Allies. The Commander of the Japanese Naval Fleet, Admiral Yamamoto did not want to fight America, but knew there was no way to avoid it. Soon Operation Z became the plan to Attack Pearl Harbor. The plan was to destroy the U.S. Fleet in the hope they would back off and would not become a threat to them.
• In January 1941, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan heard a story during a cocktail party that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor, but the rumor was ignored.
• July 24, the Japanese occupied French Indo-China, because they had the raw material Japan needed for Japan has no natural resources. As a result of this, the U.S. imposed an iron and oil embargo against Japan. Eighty percent of its raw material came from the United States. Japan promised the U.S. that it would not go any farther if they would lift the embargo. While negotiations were taking place, Admiral Yamamoto was told to go ahead with Operation Z.
• August 10, top British agent, code name “Tricycle”, told the FBI of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and that it would be soon. They did not believe it.
• On November 26th, 31 vessels including six carriers were on their way to the attack. That same day, British intelligence had sent word that the Japanese Fleet was steaming toward Hawaii.
• On November 27th, the U.S. told Japan to get out of China or suffer the consequences. Washington orders the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Lexington out of Pearl Harbor.
• On December 2nd, Admiral Yamamoto sent the message to the fleet: “Climb Mount Nitaka”. Mt. Niitaka is the highest mountain in Japan. This signaled them to go ahead with the attack. The Japanese sent the U.S. a 14-page letter breaking off relations, but only 13 pages were sent. President Roosevelt read the message and knew this would mean war. Roosevelt sent a message to Japan saying he was willing to work out the problem, but the message was not given to the emperor for 10 ½ hours. Someone who wanted to go to war had delayed giving it to him. The 14th page was to be sent 30 minutes before the attack.
The carrier Enterprise was supposed to be at Pearl Harbor, but was delayed by a storm. When the 14-page letter was finally sent, it wasn’t delivered until 1 hour after the attack had begun. • At 6:20 am airplanes left the Japanese carriers on their way to Pearl Harbor.
• At 7:00 am radar picked up the planes, but thought they were coming from the Enterprise.
• At 7:55 am during colors, the attack began. Two hours later, the damage had been done and the Japanese fleet was on their way home.
What did the Japanese lose as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor?
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate (head). Psalm 7:16
• The architect of the plan leading the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto, was shot down by American planes.
• The Admiral that commanded the task force later committed suicide.
• All 31 ships that were involved in the attack were destroyed during the war.
How God’s mercy was shown to the Japanese
Mitsuo Fuchida, who was the most experienced pilot in the Japanese Navy, was given command to lead the raid on Pearl Harbor. He was the pilot who radioed the transmission “Tora Tora Tora”, meaning the mission was a success. Tora means tiger.
After the attack, when they returned to the carriers, Fuchida’s plane was full of gunshots. He then learned that he was the only pilot officer of 70 that survived. During the battle of Midway he was in the hospital and stayed on staff for the remainder of the war.
On August 5th, 1945, Fuchida was in Hiroshima attending a weeklong military conference with the Army. It was then that he received a long distance phone call from Navy Headquarters asking him to return to Tokyo. The next day the Atomic Bomb was dropped.
Fuchida was sent with a team back to Hiroshima to report on the damage. Unaware that there were lethal doses of radiation at the site, everybody on the team died except him.
Within two weeks, Japan would surrender. Now with the war over, Fuchida was able to return to his home village and took up farming. Later, while he was in Tokyo, he saw an American passing out tracts. The tract was entitled “I was a prisoner of Japan”, told of a soldier named Jacob Deshazer, who had a deep hatred for the Japanese and wanted revenge for what they did at Pearl Harbor. In the tract, Deshazer, tells about being captured and spending 40 months as a POW in a Japanese camp. After being treated cruelly, his hatred for them almost drove him insane. After 25 months, the prisoners were given a Bible to read. After three weeks of reading, Deshazer accepted Christ as his Savior. His hatred for the Japanese was turned to love and concerned. He resolved that should his country win the war, he would return to Japan and win others to Christ.
Fuchida sensed the peaceful motivation that Deshazer had experienced and knew that was what he was seeking. Since the American found it in the Bible, he decided to get a copy and read it, despite of his traditional Buddhist heritage.
After weeks of reading God’s word, he was moved by Jesus’ prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” At that point, the Commander who lead the aerial attack on Pearl Harbor and was responsible for the thousands of lives that perished, found “the peace that passeth all understanding” with Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
Fuchida became an evangelist preaching the gospel across Japan and the Orient introducing others to the one who changed his life forever. Fuchida died May 30th, 1976. He is now in the arms of the Savior.
Friend, do you have something that is eating away at you? Do you have bitterness that is destroying you and the ones you love?
If you were to die at this moment, where would you spend eternity?
If you were to stand before God and he asked you why should he let you into heaven, what would be your answer?
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13