Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor 78 Years Ago Today

U.S. Navy took this photo of the USS Arizona on fire following the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Courtesy/Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Pearl Harbor News:

President Franklin Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”.

On that day, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory. The bombing killed more than 2,300 Americans. It completely destroyed the American battleship U.S.S. Arizona and capsized the U.S.S. Oklahoma.

The attack sank or beached 12 ships, damaged nine others, destroyed 160 aircraft and damaged 150 others. The attack took the country by surprise, especially the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base.

“AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.” The ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, known as the Commander-in-Chief Pacific, sent this hurried dispatch to all major navy commands and fleet units.

Radio stations receiving the news interrupted regular broadcasts to announce the tragic news to the American public.

Most people knew what the attack meant for the U.S. even before Roosevelt’s official announcement the next day. The U.S. would declare war on Japan.

The U.S. was already close to joining the war, but in an attempt to preserve its stance of isolation and neutrality, it had only committed to sending war supplies on loan to the Allied forces, mainly Great Britain, France and Russia. Within days, Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy (known collectively as the Axis powers), declared war on the United States. Dec. 7, the “date which will live in infamy”, brought the United States into World War.

Source: americaslibrary.gov