Asia Becomes Involved in World War II

  • During the 1930s, a militaristic Japan invaded and brutalized Manchuria and China as it sought military and economic domination over Asia. The United States refused to recognize Japanese conquests in Asia and imposed an embargo on exports of oil and steel to Japan. Tensions rose, but both countries negotiated to avoid war. 
  • While negotiating with the United States and without any warning, Japan carried out an air attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The attack destroyed much of the American Pacific fleet and killed several thousand Americans. Roosevelt called it “a date that will live in infamy” as he asked Congress to declare war on Japan. 
  • After Pearl Harbor, Hitler honored a pact with Japan and declared war on the United States. The debates over isolationism in the United States were over. World War II was now a true world war, and the United States was fully involved.

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