December 7th: Pearl Harbor Day

pearlharbor-topperDecember 7: General Interest
1941 : Pearl Harbor bombed

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radio operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.

Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.

The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.

7 responses

  1. I wrote about this subject too.

    (It was December 8, 1941 here in Japan when the attack occurred)

    December 7, 2008 at 12:24 pm

  2. jacky lao

    pearl harbor
    what i learn from pearl harbor was that the japan attacked us. Over 200 people die in world war 2. 19 ships was sank down. It took place in hawaii. The japan destroyed the war planes. This triggerd are involvement in world war 2. It was a sneak attack on a sunday morning

    December 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm


    what i learn in pearl harbor was that 19 battle skip were destroyed the attack and japan also destroyed war planes in the attack and this triggered our involvement in w.w.2 in world war 2

    December 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm

  4. joseph

    a lot of people got a attacked as a result of the a attack over 2000 people died 9 battue ships were destroyed in the attack this triggered our involvement in world war 2 japan also destroyed war plans in the attack

    December 9, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  5. yousef

    i was absent the day my class talk pearl harbor here a few things i can tell you about pearl harbor we were attakat by the japeense on world war 2 on december 7 1941 this attakak triggered at saturday morning this was the last time we were attack on american soil untill 9/11

    December 9, 2008 at 1:25 pm

  6. daniel

    the japoni attact pirl harber an dicaber 7 1941 2,400 man died 50 plans atakt us and starded a warld war 2 the nirsis wer warkin for a long tim .

    December 9, 2008 at 2:07 pm

  7. Alec

    In hawaii we was attacked by japanese on dec 7 1941 we lost 2,000 people.We lost 19 ships,also we lost warplanes this begun world war 2 .This was it the first time we was attacked we had 911.

    December 10, 2008 at 11:12 am

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