- Pearl Harbor was an ancient Hawaiian fishing spot before becoming a key US naval base. It was attacked in 1941.
- The US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.
- The historic sites signed a sister park agreement in June 2023 to connect the former WWII enemies.
Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor officially became sister parks in June as a way to amend the relationship between the United States and Japan after World War II.
The agreement serves to forge a bond between two historic sites that were critical during World War II. The two countries aim to share best practices surrounding historic restoration, youth education, and tourism management.
This is the second sister park agreement between the United States and Japan. The first is a relationship between the Gettysburg National Military Park and Gifu Sekigahara Battlefield Memorial Museum. The two sites were large parts of the American and Japanese civil wars, respectively.
Before either was involved in World War II, they had their own rich histories as places of industry, learning, and culture. Take a look back at how these two islands in the Pacific ended up being some of the most pivotal points in World War II.
In 1840, a naval officer determined that if the reef were completely removed, the harbor could be accessed and used for the US Navy.
Once the entrance was completed, it was 600 feet wide and 35 feet deep, allowing the full range of vessels in the naval fleet to access to the new base.
Until that point in time, the US had supported Britain in its fight against Germany in early 1941 and had interfered with Japan’s plan of military expansion.
Bombing Pearl Harbor was a tactically important move by Japan. If Japan could successfully destroy the US Pacific fleet then they could prevent them from interfering with Japanese naval operations.
The memorial to the USS Arizona is now a part of the sister park agreement with the memorial in Hiroshima.
It began to develop as a larger city through the 17th and 18th centuries.
The warlord, Terumoto Mōri, chose the location to build his castle and named it Hiroshima.
Hiroshima eventually became a core city of the Chugoku and Shikoku regions before World War II broke out.
In pre-war times, Hiroshima was an industrial and educational center. Additionally, the city developed a strong military presence and housed various military regiments.
There were an estimated 200,000 or more fatalities as a result of the bomb after five years. The city of Hiroshima estimates that 237,000 people were killed directly or indirectly by the effects of the bomb.
It has not been repaired as a reminder of the destructive power of the bomb.
By connecting the two former sites of conflict, officials said they hope that they can represent a movement toward peace and reconciliation.
“This new Sister Park Arrangement will expand the community of Americans and Japanese who visit Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, learn their histories, and chart a better pathway forward,” said US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel during the ceremony.
Elias Chavez www.insider.com
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