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Pearl Harbor, which is located in Hawaii, was attacked by Japan torpedo and bombing planes in 1941. During that time the United States was at peace with Japan but, after the incident, the president of the US, Franklin Roosevelt, asked Congress to pass a declaration of war. The Congress adopted and passed declaration of war with Japan. That was the entry point of America into the World War II.
That attack was considered to have been totally unexpected as America retained neutrality in the World War II. The local residents and newspapers described how, in several minutes of the assault on the harbor, severe damage was done by bombs and torpedoes, launched by the seven Japanese battleships. Attitude towards Japanese was steadily worsening among the US population in the end of the 1930s as Japan violently attacked China. The Japanese were also involved in sinking the gunboat which belonged to the US Navy. This led to the USA, Britain, Netherlands, and East Indies to reject supplying Japan with oil and steel. The American prohibition of provision certain goods specifically led to major crises in Japan. This is what triggered the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor.
Various books and authors described the attack on Pearl Harbor on one sunny Sunday morning.
In his book, Clarke explains and revisits the lives of Pearl Harbor residents. He describes it as a city in the tropics which appeared to be too picturesque to endure any form of devastation from attacks. The book tells the story of the residents before the attack and of the aftermath. Many Japanese and Americans veterans meet annually to soothe each hour of the assault. The rich landowners, native farmers from Hawaii, government officials and the navy wives also participate in this event. Clarke integrates the events in his book in order to evoke the mood and feelings of Hawaii residents on the attack. He describes Pearl Harbor assault in vivid details, and dissects diverse myths and symbols that have been established around the story.
He applies writing skills to recreate Hawaii before 1941 and the happenings of that fateful Dec 5, as stated in the presented records and accounts of the best historians. He also employs information gained from interviewing the survivors. Clarke (2001) states that no other event in that century has caught America’s attention in the way the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 did. He further states that this was not merely a clear cut event; rather, it was the aerial assault that opened a Pandora’s Box of questions that were not discussed; and the ghosts of these issues still remains among the people.
In his book, Slackman describes the basis of the war as a political and economic development that drew the United States and Japan into conflict. By December 1941, the US government knew of hostility between them and the Japanese. This book describes the relationship between these two countries and the events that led to the war. It ignores the life of people in Pearl Harbor but, instead, focuses on the United States in general. Slackman (1990) states that Japan found itself in the midst of the imperialism as it struggled to establish a modern society in the late 19th century. This made the Japanese suffer in the quest to achieve industrialization. As a result, Japan decided to engage in war by a powerful blow at Pearl Harbor, followed by attacks on American forces in the Philippines and elsewhere. Therefore, Slackman (1990) concentrates less on the Pearl Harbor residents. Instead, he seeks to give the reasons why Japan attacked them.
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The book Pearl Harbor Ghosts by Clarke is different from any other books about that event. Other works concentrate mainly on the events that led to the assault. Clarke decided to highlight the events from another perspective in Pearl Harbor Ghosts. He paid more attention to the development that took place in Honolulu and Hawaii from the time of the attack to the modern days. He has also listed various lessons learnt from the assault.
Therefore, Clarke gives a more detailed view on the attack and the effect it had on the residents of Pearl Harbor than Slackman does. He directly interviewed the victims and witnesses of the bombing, therefore, he had more accurate information regarding the event. He revisits the relationship of Japan and other countries with superpowers and the four-year Pacific war portion of World War II, conducted between the USA and Japan. The book further speculates what would have happened if the Japanese had launched a third airstrike and followed with the invasion of Oahu. The scenarios created in this book give a clear vision of the happenings in that period. The work also describes how the relationships between Japan and US have never fully recovered since those times.
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The impact of that attack is felt by the Americans and Japanese to this day; the relationship has never been the same. More than 70 years after the attack many American survivors still have ill feelings towards the Japanese. The Pearl Harbor ghost still lingers about most of the survivors and spectators of the assault. This has affected the lives of many Americans that still view Japan as the enemy, making the relationship between the two countries complicated.