On Sunday, 7 December 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the American base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, at 7.55 AM. The Japanese offensive managed to destroy or damage almost 20 American naval vessels, including 8 battleships and over 200 aeroplanes. The casualty figure was unbelievably high: more than 2,400 Americans died in 90 minutes because of the attack and over 1,000 people were wounded. This event led to the declaration of war on Japan, which took place the following day.
The attack began at 07.48 am. The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft in two waves, launched from 6 aircraft carriers north of Oahu Island. The 'Battleship Row', Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, was taken from a Japanese plane at the beginning of the attack on the naval base by the Imperial Japanese on Dec 7, 1941. It led to the United States' entry into WW2.
In 1941, on December 7, without a prior declaration of war, waves of Japanese aircraft between fighters, bombers, and torpedo boats attacked the naval base of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, destroying a part of the American fleet moored in port. The attack resulted in heavy human and material losses among the docked ships. The Second World War spread all over the world.
The day following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy." He addressed a joint session of the U.S. because he asked for a declaration of war on Japan. Congress approved his request and voted to declare war on Japan. Less than 25 years after the end of World War I, the United States affiliated with the Allies in another global war, although this one would be even more catastrophic.
The Japanese intention was to destroy the Pacific Fleet so that the Americans would not be able to respond with military forces like Japanese units. In practice, Japan launched an attack on December 7, 1941. The offensive killed a very large number of people and caused extensive damage. However, in the end, the Japanese assault failed to complete its main objective of disabling the American Pacific Fleet. Most battleships that were damaged during the attack (excluding the USS Arizona, USS Utah, and USS Oklahoma) were eventually repaired, and the U.S.
During World War II, the coordination of the Axis nations was very poor. Many people talk about the short contribution of Germany’s allies, but Germany itself carried out a questionable collaboration with them. Neither Italy nor Japan was informed about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between the Third Reich and the USSR. On the other hand, once the conflict started, Italy attacked Egypt and Greece without the knowledge of Germany, which had to rescue its ally while compromising its campaign on the Eastern Front.
In addition, Japan signed its pact with the USSR in 1941, making it impossible to have any synchronized campaign against the communist nation. Germany and across the Pacific Ocean. So, after months of strategic planning, he was also unaware of Japanese intentions at Pearl Harbor, at the same time, Operation Barbarossa was not notified to Italy until a few hours before the invasion. With several nations pursuing different expansionist goals (Germany in Eastern Europe, Italy in the Mediterranean, and Japan in Southeast Asia) and hiding information from each other, winning any war against the United States, the USSR, and the UK, with their close collaboration and formidable industrial power, was simply an impossible mission.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor made Americans look at Japanese Americans with fear and suspicion, believing they could be secret agents who helped Japan prepare strategies to sabotage U.S. war efforts. And this common sentiment led to a long-term consequence: President Roosevelt ended up introducing ‘Executive Order 9066’ in the year 1942. This allowed the beginning of the process of the internment of Japanese Americans. Around 115,000 Japanese Americans were thrown out of their homes and sent to isolated internment camps.
During the attack, there were around 51 planes on the ground at Pearl Harbor. The planes at Hickam were destroyed and damaged. Around half of the planes were destroyed. Around 121 people were killed, 274 wounded, and 37 were missing from the Hutchings Museum collection.
When the Pearl Harbor Attack was going on, five men shot down nine Japanese planes. These five young men were Lt. Harry W. Brown, credited with one plane. Lt. Philip M. Rasmussen, flying a P-36A, is credited with one plane. Lt. Kenneth M. Taylor, flying a P-36A, is credited with two planes. Lt. George S. Welch, flying a P-40B, was credited with four planes. Lt. Lewis M. Sanders is credited with one plane while flying a P-40B. Flying a P-36A, Lt. Gordon H. Sterling.
The Japanese had planned a third wave to destroy power stations, fuel & torpedo stores, dry docks, submarine piers etc, but this did not go ahead. This meant that the U.S was able to respond relatively quickly in the Pacific. Many of the ships hit were able to be repaired and returned to service during the war.
The following day, Dec 8, the United States declared war on Japan, which led to Germany & Italy declaring war on the U.S on Dec 11. The U.S responded by declaring war on Germany and Italy.
The previous general public support for non-intervention in the war soon disappeared and the following months saw thousands of young Americans enlisting in the Armed Forces.
The USS Arizona was on fire after being hit. The most recent bomb to hit the ship blew up the ammunition storage in the ship's front portion, practically ripping it in half. The force of the blast was strong enough to put out fires on the ship Vestal, which was moored alongside. Approximately half of the people lost that day in the entire attack were in Arizona (1,177). Today, the ship is a memorial to that day & all those who lost their lives.
The battle can be traced back to the hatred sparked by the Japanese invasions of Manchuria and China in 1931 and 1937, respectively. The occupation of French Indochina and the signing of the Tripartite Pact in September 1940 did not help relations with the United States, which backed not just the Chinese government but also the stability that British, French, Dutch, and Dutch colonialism represented in Asia.
The Japanese pursued this goal by diversifying the natural resources that their islands lacked to meet the demands of their rising population, as well as expanding their industrial capacity. Roosevelt's declarations of embargoes on the shipment of war materiel and, later, oil further added to the pressure and convinced the Japanese that the military solution was the most practicable.
Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku proposed in a memorandum on January 7, 1941, that, as a conflict with the US was unavoidable, we should plan a surprise attack on the North American Pacific fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, so as not to obstruct Japanese progress across Southeast Asia.
The attack, airborne in its form and launched from 6 aircraft carriers that reached 230 miles north of Oahu, was carried out in 2 waves, destroying or destroying 18 ships, including eight battleships, 165 aircraft, and costing the lives of 2,403 Americans. The military authorities' lack of foresight in the face of a possible attack provoked harsh criticism at the time. But this aggression galvanized the American people, and Roosevelt succeeded in getting Congress to pass the declaration of war against Japan the next day, on December 8, 1941.
The team from HFD showed extraordinary courage, fortitude, and professionalism during the attacks. The HFD's nine FFs were the first and only civilians to receive the award and the honour.
On December 7, 1941, a boy named George W. Blake noticed an unusual sound while he was playing basketball. It sounded almost like a plane landing on corrugated metal. When he ran outside, he saw the sky filled with planes. He was terrified by the sound of machine-gun fire filling the air, and at that time, he realized that Pearl Harbor was under attack.
Whenever you visit Honolulu, you should visit the USS Arizona Memorial. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the battleship sank in December 1941. The museums were also built and all museums are located on Ford Island.
After this event, it led the United States to become a global superpower. "December 7th, 1941. This date will always be remembered. Always remember and honour the sacrifice of those men and women who died and were injured at Pearl Harbor.
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