The Fallout of Pearl Harbour
To understand the fallout from Pearl Harbour, we have to divide it into the immediate effects and the long-term effects.
In the short term, America found itself having to declare war on Japan, which it did on December 8th, the day after the attack. It then did so against on Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy on the 11th of December. This was to end America’s policy of anti-interventionism and also mark a major turning point in World War Two.
Though, America made inroads through its cash and carry and Lend-Lease policies in the previous years. It was this act that most believe drew the full antagonised might of America into the war. The failure of the Japanese to send a third wave and destroy American arms and fuel bunkers and most of its military capacity, meant America could quickly enter the war on both fronts. Essentially, Pearl Harbour and America’s entry was to be an eventual decisive point in the Allied victory of World War Two.
Roosevelt and Churchill met in January 1942 at the Arcadia conference and decided that foremost defeating Germany and winning the War in Europe was a priority. America sent large amounts of resources to Europe to complete this aim.
The War in the Pacific was secondary in importance and didn’t receive the resources of the European campaign. It was not until the Battle of Midway in 1942 that the turning point in the Pacific came. Japan had captured much of South East Asia, including the Philippines and Burma by this time. Though, America’s power overturned the Land of the Rising Sun’s victories and saw its eventual defeat by 1945.
American influence was pivotal in Allied victories on both fronts with V E Day coming on May 8th 1945 and V J Day declared on August 14 of the same year. Japanese surrender coming after the dropping of two atomic bombs by America on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. American had been instrumental in the defeat of the Axis Powers.
The Bigger Picture
In the long term America understood it was required in the world and put aside its fears of being the World’s policeman. This meant America pursued a very active foreign policy from 1945 onwards.
Following the Yalta Conference, and Stalin’s reneging on promises of free elections in Eastern European countries, situated the Soviet Side of the Iron Curtain, problems began. This failure saw the start of the ideological differences between the USA and the Soviet Union, which by 1947 would develop into the Cold War.
America knew it needed a strong Europe that wouldn’t be influenced by the red flag and so offering it a package to aid reconstruction in June 1947. This would become known as the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was also offered to countries on the Eastern side of the divide and also to the Soviets, but they refused. Over the next half a decade, America would pump billions of dollars into Europe to prevent Soviet influence.
The next forty years would see America enter into disputes all over the world, many of which were ideological. Wars in Korea, Vietnam, South East Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere would create a intertwining web of complex alliances, spheres of influence and also problems for America. Each of which can be at the very least, indirectly and partially attributed to the Attack on Pearl Harbour and the end of American non-intervention.