December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy, why did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on that day? Did the Japanese believe that they could strike a blow so devastating to the United States of America that the American people would remain in their self-imposed isolation? These questions have been examined for over 60 years; however, there is one question that has been slightly less examined: what happened to the Naval officer in command at Pearl Harbor after, and as a result, of the Japanese attack? This article examines these questions.
In the course of this examination, it will be seen that the factors of nationalism, ethnocentrism, and paternalism played their roles in both societies resulting in war. A war that could not, because of those factors working in different ways in both the United States and Japan , be avoided. Nationalism and ethnocentrism are present in all countries at some level and are demonstrated in some way. In the case of Japan, they were demonstrated through aggressively expanding into China and Indo-China. They also found their place in America. In the United States, they found, along with the third factor paternalism, expression through the spread of Western Culture throughout East Asia. In addition, they were expressed in the idea that no one, especially not the Japanese, could or would attack United States soil. Thus in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor , the American people were looking for people to blame for their unreadiness to meet the Japanese attack. They found two men, one of which was the naval officer in command at Pearl Harbor on that day, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel.