Days after the Japanese conducted a surprise attack against US forces in Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt held an urgent meeting with Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss American military response to their enemy in the Pacific. The President, visibly preoccupied about American morale after the treacherous Japanese carrier airstrike, told his senior officers that mainland Japan had to be bombed as soon as possible. This, he thought, would boost the country’s morale, increase voluntary enlistments and fortify war bonds. The result of his order was the Doolittle Raid, under the command of renowned aviator and engineer, James H. Doolittle, whom in his autobiography later wrote (QUOTE): “An attack on the Japanese homeland would cause confusion in the minds of the Japanese people and sow doubt about the reliability of their leaders… Americans badly needed a morale boost.” The operation took place on April 18, 1942, and it was a resounding success thanks to the newly converted medium bomber, the B-25 Mitchell. The squadron of B-25s bombed Tokyo and Honshu, claiming over 60 lives and injuring 500 hundred people. Although damage was relatively minimal, it achieved the desired effects. US morale drastically increased because it proved American aircraft could take the fight to the heart of the enemy no matter where they stood. In contrast, the Japanese fighting spirit took a heavy blow, for they realized that their archipelago was not as impenetrable as they thought it was.
Credit Dark SKies