10 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About World War 2

9. The Pearl Harbor Attack And American-Japanese Relations

20th APRIL: On this day in 1889 Adolf Hitler was born.  1923: A portrait of Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler by Heinrich Hoffmann.
Imperial Japanese Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pearl Harbor is commonly regarded as the turning point for the American involvement in World War 2 and rightfully so. The surprise attack on the American naval base was considered a war crime due to its nature as an unprovoked military action and the lack of a formal warning from the Japanese's end.

However, this was not the first instance of Japanese hostility towards the United States, nor the event that turned American public opinion against the Japanese military. There are three historical incidents that soured diplomatic relations between the two nations: the USS Panay incident, the Allison incident, and the Nanjing Massacre.

The USS Panay incident saw Japanese planes attack the gunboat when it was docked on the Yangtze river in China and saw the deaths of three crew members and injuring 45 others. The Allison incident involved future US diplomat John Moore Allison being struck in the face by a Japanese soldier at a US consul in Nanjing during the Nanjing massacre, a period that saw mass murder and mass rape by the Imperial Japanese forces on Chinese citizens in the region.

These occurrences strained diplomatic relations and the Pearl Harbor attack, destructive in its own right, was the final straw in an increasingly tense global stage.

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