Pearl Harbor was just the opening move in Japan’s own blitzkrieg.

HIJM Taiho


HIJM Taiho

Pearl Harbor wasn’t a singular event. It was the opening play in a long series of expansive territorial expropriations by the Imperial Japanese Network. It began in December 1926 when Hirohito took power as Emperor. By then Japan was already occupying Manchuria, a rich source of minerals and timber and other lucrative resources. The Japanese Army was also engaged in squashing Chinese nationalism. The Chinese were beginning to chafe at the ever-increasing presence of Japanese military personnel in their cities, and the replevin of Chinese assets by the Japanese outright. Jehoe, Chahar and Hopeh fell under the purview of the Japanese.


In 1933, outright war broke out between organized Chinese nationalists and the Japanese Army now occupying Beijing itself. In 1936, the Japanese Army captured Chaing Kaishek’s capitol city of Nanking, and began billeting Japanese Troops everywhere. Over the next few months, upwards of 350,000 Chinese citizens were murdered, some of them amid scenes of the most despicable grisly cruelty ever perpetrated by a modern army.


On December 7th, Japan struck the US Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor. The next day, Japan attacked Malaya, Burma and the Philippines. Massive naval bombardments and airstrikes followed by infantry invasions shocked the meager attenuated British and French defenders.


Also on December 8th, the Japanese attacked Wake Island and that raid lasted until the 23rd.


On December 9th, Japan occupied Tawara.


On December 10th, 1941, Guam succumbed to Japan.


On January 20th, Japan invaded and occupied Burma.


On January 23rd, 1942, Japan attacked and occupied Rabaul and continued attacks on the Solomon Islands to the East.



On February 7th, Japan attacked Singapore. It fell a week later.


On May 7th Corregidor fell to Japan forces.


It would be another three years before the US and Britain brought Japan to its knees.





Japanese Expansion Map



Source: War in the Pacific, Richard Overy. Osprey Publishing. 2010.




3 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor was just the opening move in Japan’s own blitzkrieg.”

  1. After many studies, I still dont understand after Pearl Harbour, Roosevelts Germany first policy and that the American people went along. Germany yes declared war but Imperial Japan attacked and continued attacking for months. Is it because the U.S was afraid England could not hold out on their own past 1941?

  2. Interesting to see no mention ot the Dutch East-Indies. That is basically where the Japanese wanted ot get all (or most) of their oil from. And tin and rubber of course.
    According to some historians Japan only attacked the Philippenes because it would be in the way if they had conquered the Dutch East-Indies.
    And the Japanese also struck Hong-Kong, Manila and Singapore on, or near, the 8th of December.
    About the Germany first strategy: This was indeed decided quit early after the US entered the war. However, as the Navy was already fully engaged against Japan, and there was not too much to do against the German, they made an exeption for that. And of course, as people are wont to do, the Navy, with a little help from Mac Arthur, made a lot more of this then originally allowed.

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