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Defending Oahu

ocations also readily served as ideal locations from which to launch offensive attacks against the enemy. One serious error committed by U.S. top officials and military leaders was the common notion in Washington and Hawaii that "no serious attack was on Oahu was at all likely if the bulk of the fleet was present in Hawaiian waters."[3] Even so, as tensions between America and Japan heated up prior to 1941, Washington official remained convince that to deter Japanese aggression "the bulk of the Pacific Fleet must remain in the Western Pacific.[4] During the 1930s, the United States would greatly increase both military and naval presence in the region, making Oahu what many thought of as an impregnable fortress.

Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, most of the defense of Oahu was carried out by the U.S. Army. The military's mission in Hawaii, from 1920 to 1941, remained largely unchanged: "to defend Pearl Harbor naval base against damage from naval or aerial bombardment or by enemy sympathizers" and "attack by enemy expedition forces, supported or unsupported by enemy fleets."[5] At the time, Admiral William S. Pye believed a united command was unnecessary for effective defense of Oahu. Pye maintains only "loyalty to the plan by land and sea component commanders" was necessary for successful cooperation and coordination between War and Navy Departments.[6] Ultimately, the lack of a united command would be cited as one factor significant to the failure at Pearl Harbor. Increasing conflict between the Japanese and United States led to efforts to make Pearl Harbor a naval as well as military bastion, especially because of the recognized prowess of the Japanese air and naval forces.

The attack on Pearl Harbor vastly increased the significance of aircraft carriers, both in helping defend Oahu but also as major suppliers of U.S. battle aircraft to the region. With most of the air attack destroyed by Japanese fo...

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Defending Oahu. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:21, April 13, 2024, from