Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into war with the Axis power. How did the United States recover from this attack to play a decisive role in the Allies' victory?

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When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they targeted military ships.  They had intended to cripple the military capabilities from Hawaii with their attack.  Admiral Yamamoto of Japan had intended to destroy as many U.S. aircraft carriers as possible, thus limiting their potential to fight back.  To his surprise, the fleet and aircraft carriers suffered mainly repairable damage.  For example, only two battleships were destroyed during the Pearl Harbor attack.  Six more were damaged, but they were fully repaired before World War II even ended.  No cruisers or destroyers were destroyed at Pearl Harbor.  

The United States military was able to recover from their losses rather quickly.  Only six months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. carrier fleet had regained so much strength that they "[sank] four Japanese aircraft carriers" during the Battle of Midway.  In the end, the United States military defeated Japan.

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