There are many similarities and differences between the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. One attack was committed by terrorists and the other was committed by a government. After Pearl Harbor, we entered a world war, and after the terrorist attacks, we invaded another country. Both Attacks were grave threats to our national security.
To begin, the two attacks were launched by different types of enemies. On September 11, 2001, civilian terrorists attacked the United States. They belonged to a group called Al Qaeda and were from the nations of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. On December 7, 1941, the United States military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the military representing the government of Japan. Pearl Harbor was attacked by a nation against a nation, where as the attacks on September 11 were perpetrated by civilians against civilians. Unlike the military attack at Pearl Harbor, which was intended to destroy our Pacific fleet, the September 11 attacks were not only meant to threaten or government but to demonstrate hatred for our way of life and ruin our economic system.
A difference between the attacks is that after one we went to war and after the other we invaded another country. After Pearl Harbor, we entered World War II. After the September 11 attacks, the United States did not enter an ongoing war. Until December 1941, the United States was attempting to remain neutral while many European nations were already at war. However, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, President Roosevelt and Congress immediately declared war on Japan and chose to support our European allies and joined World War II. After the September 11 attacks, it was widely believed that the terrorists responsible were hiding throughout the hills and caves of Afghanistan. The United States chose to invade Afghanistan because it was searching for the terrorists. President Bush believed that the Taliban was hiding Osama Bin Laden and his people. The United States and our allies were successful at removing the threat during World War II, but while our military was able to overthrow the Taliban and capture some of Bin Laden’s associates, we are still involved in a war in the Middle East.
Finally, after both Pearl Harbor and the September 11 attacks, the United States felt that its national security was being threatened and took steps to protect itself. Both incidents took place on our own soil. After Pearl Harbor, Americans feared that the Pacific Coast would be attacked as well. As a result of that fear, our government began to intern anyone of Japanese descent living within the borders of the United States. Many of those interned were born in the United States and came from families who had lived in the country for many generations. Similarly, after September 11, Americans were in fear of anyone of Middle Eastern descent. Many innocent people were stopped at airports, in cars, or just going about their daily business. Racial profiling against anyone who looked Middle Eastern reached an all-time high. The Department of Homeland Security was established and Americans learned to live with color-coded terror alerts. Paranoia about chemical weapons caused stores to sell out of duct tape, plastic, and bottled water. We lived in fear whenever the alert level was raised to orange or red.
Both Pearl Harbor and the September 11 attacks had a tremendous impact on our government and on our way of life.