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  • December The 12th

  • 1937 the U.S. Naval Gunboat USS Panay Was Sailing Up the Yangtze River

  • The Panay Was a Flat-Bottomed Vessel Built in Shanghai

  • specifically for operating on the Great River

  • Which at over 3,000 miles long Was the longest in Asia and stretched deep into China

  • Both Great Britain and The United States had Invested Heavily in China for Many Years

  • Exploiting its Resources Including its Greatest of All, it's hard-working and cheaply employed People

  • Indeed many Cities in China, like the capital of Nanking had foreign districts built along the same lines of suburbs in

  • Washington or London

  • However China was not a Unified country and had been in the grips of an ideological power struggle since

  • 1927 fought between the government and the communist party of China

  • Japan also occupied parts of the country but looked to exploit the civil war to gain even more

  • Territory in Manchuria and so in 1931

  • Manufactured a terrorist attack against a Japanese railway line

  • This was then used as a precursor for an invasion which saw China surrender Manchuria to Japan

  • But skirmishes continued until in the summer of 1937, Japan finally launched a full-scale invasion

  • Almost medieval acts of brutality carried out against the Chinese People by Japanese soldiers

  • With looting rape and mass murder being not only Commonplace, but actually encouraged by the Japanese leadership in

  • one shocking incident two Japanese officers held the competition to see who could decapitate

  • 100 People with a Samurai sword The fastest and the incident was well publicized in Japan

  • It's also been remembered as the rape of Nanking

  • With all this happening in China both Britain and the US send their Navies up the Yangtze to protect their respective People's and Property

  • but to remain a Neutral Force in the fighting on land

  • By December 1937 The Japanese were encroaching on Nanking itself Where a large Number of Americans Lived and Worked and

  • So the USS Panay Was instructed to begin evacuating them on December the 11th

  • The Skies were abuzz with Japanese Warplanes and so The Americans Adorned a Vessel with large us flags to distinguish them from chinese Vessels

  • Early The Next morning the British Gunboat HMS Ladybird Was Shelled By Japanese Forces on shore

  • But Managed to escape serious damage

  • Later The USS Panay found itself attracting Unwanted Attention From 12 Japanese Planes and

  • Then Later a Japanese Gunboat

  • despite the large American Flags The Japanese Planes Attacked The American Gunboat and three Nearby tankers with Bombs and machine-gun fire

  • Over 50 Civilians and Crew on Board were wounded and Then Rescued by HMS Lady Bird and

  • HMS Bee as the Panay Sank While three Americans Charles L. Esminger Carl H. Carlson and

  • Edgar G. Hulsebus were Killed in the Attack Along with an Italian reporter

  • They Would be the first Americans to die in battle between the forces of the Imperial Japanese and the United States of America

  • Almost Exactly four Years Before The Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

  • The scope of Japanese Nationalism Was Realized at The Genre Fortress Where from

  • 1936 a Japanese doctor Named Shirō Ishii Began a Series of gruesome Medical Experiments on Human Beings

  • to develop biological and chemical Weapons for the Japanese Army

  • He had Been inspired by research carried out in Europe and had convinced The Japanese emperor to sanctioned Japan's own Research

  • Which he believed Would allow Japan to kill large Numbers of Enemy Forces quickly

  • something The Japanese Needed Desperately if They had plans to face the numerically superior Chinese or Soviet Union

  • When the Fortress Was attacked By resistant Fighters a Year Later he relocated his operation to Pingfang where the now notorious unit

  • 731 was established

  • There Thousands of Chinese Civilians and Later Allied POWs were used in his nightmarish medical Experiments to develop biological

  • and Chemical Weapons as Well As Carry Out Experimental Surgeries

  • Unit 731 also trialed is biological Weapons Against Chinese Populations

  • Men Women Children animals and Even newborn infants were all used By Shirō Ishii's team to carry Out Their research

  • Throughout The 1930s

  • Japanese troops in Manchuria Fought a Series of One-Off Skirmishes with Chinese troops

  • culminating in full-scale War erupting Again on July The 7th 1937

  • After Years Of Fighting One Another The two sides of the Chinese Civil war the

  • Kuomintang and The Communists Called a ceasefire and United Against The Japanese

  • who took the Kuomintang's capital City of Nanking in December 1937

  • The Brutality of Japanese Forces Against The Chinese Coupled with the attacks on the American Vessel USS Panay and US

  • Delegates in Nanking Turned The United States Firmly against Japan

  • But US President Franklin Roosevelt Believed that the US Was more Likely to get embroiled in war in europe Than the far East

  • Thus While he authorized cash Payments to the Chinese to fund Their war efforts against the Japanese and

  • Even Allowed American Pilots to fight for the Chinese air force as Part of The famous Flying Tigers unit

  • He remained more focused on preparing to confront Hitler

  • This Played Into Japan's Hands As They continued Their Expansion into China and Southeast Asia

  • But and the continuing pressure from his Military Commanders

  • Roosevelt did authorize Increasingly Tougher restrictions on trade with Japan in an effort to punish them for their actions in China Beginning in

  • 1938

  • The Japanese Themselves also Viewed War with America as Unlikely and were more Concerned with another conflict Breaking Out with the Soviet Union

  • North of Their Manchurian conquests

  • But The American embargoes did hurt them and caused Alarm in the Japanese leadership

  • nevertheless in September 1940 a Week before Japan Joined The Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy

  • Japanese Troops Entered French Indochina

  • Now Vietnam

  • Escalating What the US and UK saw As a Growing Crisis in Asia at

  • First The Japanese Only Used Indochina as a base for troops in the event of a War with the Soviet Union

  • But When Hitler Invaded the Soviet Union in 1941

  • Japan Occupied The rest of the Country and would continue to do so Until 1945

  • After Japanese Troops Entered French Indochina the US

  • Placed Their Toughest Sanctions Yet on Japan By embargoing Vital Scrap Metal Exports and Borrowing Japanese Ships from using the Panama Canal

  • Tensions Between Both Sides rose Throughout 1941 Leading to a series of negotiations to bring about a Peaceful Solution

  • Birds The Japanese Military especially The Navy Viewed war with the US as inevitable

  • The Japanese had by That time Plans to invade British, Dutch and French possessions Deeper Into Southern Asia as

  • Part of Its Plans Under its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity sphere concept Such as Brunei and The Dutch East Indies

  • But This Expansion Would Leave them vulnerable to attack from the US based in the Philippines Should They decide to interfere

  • Therefore They Began to draw Up plans for a decisive Attack on the US navy in an effort to destroy It before it could mobilize

  • As

  • Early As 1940 The Japanese Began theorizing Plans for an Attack on Hawaii and the Philippines

  • By April 1941 The Japanese Began training for an Attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in

  • What they had dubbed operation Zet Which was the brainchild of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

  • The Pilots trained to attack ships in Pearl Harbor Using air Launch Torpedoes

  • but The problem was that these Weapons tended to dive Deeper Than The shallow Waters of the Harbor allowed

  • The Japanese came Up with a cunning Solution Wooden fins are Forced the torpedo to rise Up immediately after hitting the Water on

  • November 26 1941 The japanese Fleet Set sail For hawaii and a Strict Radio Silence

  • at The time both the US and Washington were still negotiating But Roosevelt's Government had by then Began Demanding Japan

  • Withdrew From China Altogether

  • something Totally Unthinkable to the Japanese leadership

  • The Fleet comprised of six Aircraft Carriers With

  • 359 fighters and Bombers

  • Making It The Most powerful Naval Aviation Force in History at That time on

  • December The 1st Yamamoto Was Informed that War with the Dutch, US, and UK, had Been authorized by the Japanese leadership

  • But Should It Appear That Both Sides were about to reach an amicable solution prior to december the 7th

  • Then He Should authorize to pull the Fleet back and Cancel The Attack

  • Endowed with intelligent photographs of Pearl Harbor Taken By a Japanese Spy aboard a Sightseeing Aircraft

  • Yamamoto made His final preparations on december the 6th and with no sign of a Peaceful Solution

  • The This morning The Aircraft took off from Their Carriers

  • The air Attack Was preceded By a Group of Japanese Midget Submarines That Attempted to sneak into the harbor

  • But One of them Was attacked and Sunk by the destroyer USS

  • Ward, Which fired The first American Shots of The Pacific theater of World War 2

  • This Should Have Alerted The Americans to an Attack but the information did Not Reach The US Admiralty in time

  • Meanwhile an American Radar Station Spotted The Formation of Japanese Aircraft But Was told That It Was a Flight of B-17s

  • arriving From Mainland USA and so no action was taken

  • At Pearl Harbor The Sailors were waking Up and preparing for a routine Sunday with Naval Bands Playing Songs

  • While the Skies Began to fill with Aircraft

  • The Americans were Taken completely By surprise and the Bands were still playing as the first bombs and torpedoes Struck The ships

  • During The Course of the Attack the Japanese Damaged or Sank eight American Battleships

  • Three Cruisers Three Destroyers an Anti-Aircraft Training Ship and a Minelayer a

  • Number of Nearby US Army Airfields were also hit in air raids

  • The Aircraft base There had Been Bunched together on the ground to make It easier to guard them against possible sabotage

  • But all This did Was Increased The damage caused by The bombs as They Landed Amongst them in

  • All the US Lost

  • 2403 service personnel in the Course of the Attack While over a Thousand more Was Seriously Wounded

  • The damage could have Been Greater had Yamamoto Not decided to cancel a follow-up Attack Because They had lost The element of surprise

  • The Japanese Lost 29 Aircraft and five Midget Submarines That Attempted to participate in the Attack

  • All in all 64 Japanese were Killed While one Japanese Navy officer Kazuo Sakamaki Was captured alive

  • After His submarine was Grounded Becoming The first Japanese Prisoner of War Taken by The Americans

  • Crucially However and Almost Purely By Chance The US Navy's Aircraft Carriers were not present at the harbour and thus Survived Unscathed

  • The Next day president Roosevelt met with the us congress to ask them to vote on declaring war on Japan

  • The Vote Was almost Unanimously in favor of war Say For One objection By representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana

  • She told congress as a Woman I cannot Go to war and I refuse to send anyone else

  • In his speech Roosevelt Described december the 7th as a date Which Would live in Infamy

  • Less Than Four Days After Pearl Harbor Was Attacked

  • Adolf Hitler acting on His own Authority and Without Consulting his staff

  • Ordered His government to declare war on the US

  • in support of Japan and in respond to what he viewed as the USA violating its Neutrality By Supporting Britain

  • For The United States Of America The Second World war had begun

  • Admiral Yamamoto predicted That After The opening of Hostilities with the USA

  • Japan Would Have six months with Which to decisively Defeat the US

  • In the pacific to such an Extent that Washington Would have to sue for peace

  • Which would effectively Surrender The Pacific and Asia to Tokyo

  • Phew in Japan Truly Believes that an Invasion of The us Mainland Was a Possibility Given

  • How over stretched Japan Was Already With Its war

  • Which Was primarily aimed at British and Dutch Empire territories with the grand prize being Australia itself

  • The Reason he gave six months Was Because that was how long he predicted it would take

  • For The Mighty US Industrial complex to fully Gear Up for war

  • After Which Japan Could Not hope to match American war production

  • The Japanese Therefore Wasted Little time and Began Their own form of Blitzkrieg in the east

  • Within 24 Hours of The Attack on Pearl Harbor

  • Japanese Troops had Attacked British Forces in Malaya and Hong Kong and

  • American Forces on the Philippines on

  • December The 10th two British Battle Cruisers HMS Prince of Wales and

  • HMS Repulse

  • Sailed to Attack The Japanese but Was sunk By Japanese Aircraft

  • This Attack Finally Convinced The World's Navies

  • That Aircraft Were now displacing surface Vessels as The most powerful Weapons of Naval warfare

  • The Battle for the Philippines saw some of Japan's most Experienced soldiers Pitted Against The numerically Superior

  • Bert's Mixed Bag of Defenders Who Varied from US regular Forces down to police officers and Volunteers

  • The Japanese Quickly overrun them despite the Valiant defense

  • But Pockets of stone American resistance Would continue in the Bataan peninsula

  • Until May the Following Year by Which time these men had become Famously Known as the Battling Bastards of Bataan

  • Ultimately Defeated The American and Filipino Fighters Then Found Themselves facing Horror of The Bataan Death March