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World War II
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor



Pearl Harbor
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.9

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    determined, dire, infamy, negotiation, battered, launched, destruction, italy, germany, military, seize, partnership, personnel, fleet, declaration, pacifist
     content words:    United States, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, United States Congress, Every American, Adolph Hitler, Tripartite Pact, World War I., East Indies, Southeast Asia, President Roosevelt


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Pearl Harbor
By Jane Runyon
  

1     "Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." These are the words President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to address the United States Congress on December 8, 1941. Every American within the sound of a radio heard his words. He used the word "infamy." That word refers to someone or something that will be remembered for a very long time. Unfortunately, it will be remembered in a bad way, not a good one. The United States had just suffered a devastating attack on its navy and air force.
 
2     Let's take a look at what led up to this attack. Japan had been at war with China since the mid 1930s. Germany, led by Adolph Hitler, had declared war on Europe in the late 1930s. Germany and Japan had signed a pact that they would not fight each other. Instead, they would help each other when they could. Italy became a member of this partnership when they all signed the Tripartite Pact. The United States had decided to stay out of the conflicts in Europe and Asia. The president and Congress had decided that there had been enough loss of life and material goods during World War I.
 
3     Japan was in dire need of oil and other goods. The small land mass of all its islands was not able to produce the supplies it needed to keep its war efforts alive. The Japanese wanted to take control of the lands they needed to produce these goods. The United States and its European allies had effectively cut off their attempts to seize oil and other minerals in the East Indies and Southeast Asia. President Roosevelt had moved the United States Naval fleet to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1938. He felt that the presence of this fleet in the Pacific would deter Japan from any thoughts of invading the lands they wanted.

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