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Q5. How was the USA forced into the Second World War?

Japanese invaded China in 1931 and occupied Manchuria. Again in 1937, the Japanese started another invasion of China. Japan was also one of the three members of the Anti-Comintern Pact along with Germany and Italy. In September 1940, these three countries had signed another pact which bound them together even more. Japan recognized the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe and Japan’s leadership was recognized for establishing a new order in Asia.

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese, without a declaration of war, conducted a massive raid on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The American Pacific Fleet which was stationed there was devastated. The Americans lost 20 warships, and about 250 aircrafts. About 3000 persons were killed. The Americans were completely taken unawares. Negotiations had been going on between the Japanese and American governments to settle their differences in Asia and the Pacific. The attack on Pearl Harbor in the midst of negotiations showed that the Japanese were determined to conquer Asia and the Pacific. With this the Second World War became truly global. The United States declared war on Japan on 8 December 1941 and soon after Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

The Japanese achieved significant victories in the war in Asia. Within six months of the attack on Pearl Harbor, they had conquered Malaya, Burma (now Myanmar), Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong and numerous other areas. By the middle of 1942, the fascist powers had reached the peak of their power. After that the decline began.

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