Japan attacked the U.S Pacific Fleet at its base at Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December 1941, but what led to that decision? Why did the Japanese attack the USA? – The answer is oil.
Japan had been modernising its economy throughout the 20th century and wanted to build an empire of its own. However, Japan lacked the natural resources to make it a reality, with all but 6% of its oil supply being imported. After capturing Manchuria, Japan became bogged down in a full-scale war with China in 1937 and had to look elsewhere for the resources it needed to fight. Meanwhile, the USA was slowly awakening from its isolationism.