Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack that took place on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, became the most shocking military defeat in U.S. history and plunged America into World War II. Japanese planes succeeded in damaging all eight battleships anchored in the harbor and caused over 3,000 American casualties. Japan severely incapacitated the U.S. Pacific fleet, but did not anticipate how Pearl Harbor would unite a previously divided America and commit a nation to war.
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FDR Signs Declaration of War Against Japan
December 8, 1941 | Washington, D.C.
After the attacks at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Americans cried out for war. On December 8, Congress convened and President Roosevelt spoke the famous words, “A date which will live in infamy.” The President then asked for a declaration of war. Through a roll call vote in both houses, Congress declared war on Japan one vote shy of unanimity. This picture displays President Roosevelt signing the declaration that sent the U.S. into war with Japan and also against Hitler’s fascist Germany.
The U.S.S. Arizona Sinks
December 7, 1941 | Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Around 8:10 am on December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona exploded after being hit with an armor-piercing bomb in her deck. The attack began so suddenly that few crew members had time to respond. Within nine minutes the gigantic battleship sunk into the sea with 1,177 members of her crew. The muster rolls provide an interesting record of the crew that did and did not make it out of the blazing ship. After the war ended, President Eisenhower approved the construction of a memorial. The USS Arizona Memorial was designed by Alfred Preis and dedicated in 1962. Preis explained that the design of “the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, it expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory.” Tragically, the attack on Pearl Harbor acted as a catalyst, and propelled Americans forward in the fight and to ultimate victory against Hitler and his Nazi comrades.
US Aircraft Carriers
7 December 1941 | Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Contrary to the popular believe that US Naval Intelligences did not know that Japan was going to attack the Pearl Harbor. In fact, many suspected that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor using aircraft carriers, they just didn't know when. The captains for aircraft carriers Yorktown, Lexington, Enterprise, Saratoga and Hornet all suspected this and they made sure that no two aircraft carriers are in the harbor at same time. And when a carrier do dock at the harbor, it was usually very short and always had several fighters in the air.
Fortunately, on the day the attack, none of the aircraft carrier were in the harbor. Also fortunate for the Americans, the battleships were sunk in shallow water of the harbor and they were able to rise all but two ( Arizona blewup was beyond repair ). Had they been sunk in the deep ocean, it would have been a different story.