By Jueseppi B.
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II.
The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. There were simultaneous Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
From the standpoint of the defenders, the attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one were later raised, and six of the eight battleships returned to service and fought in the war.
The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.
The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry intoWorld War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8), the United States declared war on Japan. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been strong, disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. the same day.
There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan. However, the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy“.
The Presidential Address to Congress of December 8, 1941 (known as the Infamy Speech or Day of Infamy Speech) was delivered at 12:30 p.m. that day to a Joint Session of Congress by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one day after the Empire of Japan‘s attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii. The name derives from the first line of the speech: Roosevelt describing the previous day as “a date which will live in infamy.“
Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II. The address is regarded as one of the most famous American political speeches of the 20th century.
FDR DECLARES WAR (12/8/41) – Franklin Delano Roosevelt , WWII , Infamy Speech
Published on Dec 12, 2012
The Presidential Address to Congress on December 8, 1941. Known as the Infamy Speech, it was delivered at 12:30 p.m. that day to a Joint Session of Congress by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one day after the Empire of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii. Roosevelt famously describes the previous day as “a date which will live in infamy.” Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II. The address is regarded as one of the most famous American political speeches of the 20th century.
|Attack on Pearl Harbor|
|Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II|
Photograph from a Japanese plane of Battleship Row
at the beginning of the attack. The explosion in the
center is a torpedo strike on the USS Oklahoma.
Two attacking Japanese planes can be seen:
one over the USS Neosho and one over the Naval Yard.
|United States||Empire of Japan|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Husband Kimmel
| Chuichi Nagumo
1 USCG Cutter
49 other ships
6 aircraft carriers
2 heavy cruisers
1 light cruiser
23 fleet submarines
5 midget submarines
|Casualties and losses|
|4 battleships sunk
3 battleships damaged
1 battleship grounded
2 other ships sunk
3 cruisers damaged
3 destroyers damaged
3 other ships damaged
188 aircraft destroyed
159 aircraft damaged
|4 midget submarines sunk
1 midget submarine grounded
29 aircraft destroyed
|Civilian casualtiesBetween 48 – 68 killed
- 1 Background to conflict
- 2 Approach and attack
- 3 Photographs
- 4 Ships lost or damaged
- 5 Salvage
- 6 Aftermath
- 7 Media
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
In the wake of the attack, 15 Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, 53 Silver Stars, four Navy and Marine Corps Medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, four Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, and three Bronze Star Medals were awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor. Additionally, a special military award, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, was later authorized for all military veterans of the attack.
The day after the attack, Roosevelt delivered his famous Infamy Speech to a Joint Session of Congress, calling for a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan. Congress obliged his request less than an hour later. On December 11 Germany and Italy, honoring their commitments under the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the United States. The Tripartite Pact was an earlier agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan which had the principal objective of limiting U.S. intervention in any conflicts involving the three nations. The United States Congress issued a declaration of war against Germany and Italy later that same day. Britain actually declared war on Japan nine hours before the US did, partially due to Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong, and partially due to Winston Churchill’s promise to declare war “within the hour” of a Japanese attack on the United States.
The attack was an initial shock to all the Allies in the Pacific Theater. Further losses compounded the alarming setback. Japan attacked the Philippines hours later (because of the time difference, it was December 8 in the Philippines). Only three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk off the coast of Malaya, causing British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later to recollect “In all the war I never received a more direct shock. As I turned and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American capital ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor who were hastening back to California. Over this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme and we everywhere were weak and naked”.
Throughout the war, Pearl Harbor was frequently used in American propaganda.
One further consequence of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath (notably the Niihau Incident) was that Japanese American residents and citizens were relocated to nearby Japanese-American internment camps. Within hours of the attack, hundreds of Japanese American leaders were rounded up and brought to high-security camps such as Sand Island at the mouth of Honolulu harbor and Kilauea Military Camp on the island of Hawaii. Later, over 110,000 Japanese Americans, including United States citizens, were removed from their homes and transferred to internment camps in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas.
Today, the USS Arizona Memorial on the island of Oahu honors the lives lost on the day of the attack. Visitors to the memorial reach it via boats from the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Alfred Preis is the architect responsible for the memorial’s design. The structure has a sagging center and its ends strong and vigorous. It commemorates “initial defeat and ultimate victory” of all lives lost on December 7, 1941. Although December 7 is known as Pearl Harbor Day, it is not considered a federal holiday in the United States. The nation does however, continue to pay homage remembering the thousands injured and killed when attacked by the Japanese in 1941. Schools and other establishments in some places around the country lower the American flag to half-staff out of respect.
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