Pearl Harbor

Period: December 7, 1941

Quote: Remembered by Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, commander of the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor, I kept looking at the sky above the port and the activity on the ground. Only the Japanese planes were in the air, and there was no evidence that a dogfight would occur. All was quiet on the ships in the harbor.

On December 7, 1951 the biggest disaster in US Naval history occurred in the Pacific Ocean. On that day the Imperial Japanese Navy carried out a surprise attack on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, located on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian archipelago. The aim of the attack was to destroy the American fleet in the Pacific Ocean in order for Japan to have free reign. This was necessary for them so that they could be sure of a constant supply of raw materials for the war, including, for example oil from the Dutch East Indies.

The attack by about 450 planes on Pearl Harbor came as a complete surprise to the United States and resulted in huge losses: 2402 American soldiers died, more than 10 ships sank and 188 aircraft were destroyed.

Until then the United States had deliberately held back from involvement in the war, but this attack dragged them into war with Japan. The same day war with Japan was declared. On December 9, this was followed by a declaration of war against Germany because of their U-boat attacks on the US merchant fleet in the Atlantic Ocean.

The attack on Pearl Harbor hit the US hard, but they were definitely not defeated. It gave the country a huge boost in their morale, which was very necessary if they were to deal with subsequent years of war.

View of Pearl Harbor from a Japanese aircraft at the beginning of the attack
Source: Public domain

The USS Arizona sinks. 1177 crew members were killed
Source: Public domain

A Japanese bomber
Source: Public domain

Poster of the movie Pearl Harbor

News Parade: Bombing of Pearl Harbor

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