World War II Begins

        Pearl Harbor, the movie, directed in 2001 by Michael Bay, was based on Japan's attack on the real Pearl Harbor back on December 7, 1941, which led to the beginning of the Second World War. It tells the story of two men who have been best friends since childhood. The friends join the war together, even though the character of Rafe (Ben Affleck) decided to go to Europe to help out in the war since at the time America is not yet at war (Pearl Harbor).

        The attack on Pearl Harbor was a "sneak attack"; therefore the United States did not think that Japan was going to bomb anywhere on American soil. The US thought that Japan would bomb somewhere in Southeast Asia ("World"). Nevertheless, at one point in the movie Captain Thurman (Dan Ackroyd) mentions that he believes Japan is going to attack Pearl Harbor. However, the others involved think there is no way that is going to happen, so they do not take any precautions (Pearl Harbor). As a result of this negligence, in total, 335 servicemen and 68 civilians were killed; 1,178 people were wounded ("World").

        I like how the movie told a little bit of Japan's side of the story. The Japanese felt that there was no other way to protect their economy unless they stopped the United States from taking their oil. The admiral who led the fleet of Japanese fighter pilots to bomb the US was Admiral Yamamato, played by an actor named Mako. It shows Yamamato being asked if they should continue with the plan to bomb the United States. He feels that there is no other way to show the United States the Japanese mean business. When he was told that he is a smart man, Admiral Yamamato replies, "A smart man would find a way not to go to war" (Pearl Harbor). This really shocked me when he said that, considering everything that is going on today. I would think that after all these years America and other countries would be able to find a better way to deal with some of their problems, than going to war.

Works Cited

Pearl Harbor. Dir. Michael Bay. Perfs. Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale. Film. Touchstone Pictures, 2001.

"World War II in Europe: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Sunday, December 7, 1941." The History Place. 30 Apr. 2006 (

Alaina Schroth

Table of Contents