Even now it is still shocking: the surprise attack of December 7th, 1941 that changed the world
Diplomatic relations with Japan were not going well, and, reportedly, President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed that an attack from the Japanese was possible. On Sunday morning, December 7th, military personnel at Pearl Harbor were given passes to attend religious services. Security was lax.
At 7:02AM, a pair of radar operators spotted large anomalies on their scopes, approaching the island from the north. A number of B-17’s were expected to arrive from the mainland United States, so no alarm was sounded.
At 7:55am, 360 Japanese warplanes descended on Pearl Harbor, surprising military personnel there with a devastating ambush that would change history.
Much of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet was disabled. Out of eight battleships, five were sunk or severely damaged. Three destroyers, seven other ships, and 200 aircraft were taken out of the fight. 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded.
Japan lost 30 airplanes, five midget submarines, and less than 100 men.
The next day, December 8th, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress to announce the following:
“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.”
History changed on that tragic day. A bit of that history was captured, in color by a serviceman named CWO4 Clyde Daughter. It includes footage of the USS Nevada firing at Japanese aircraft, the sinking of the USS Oglala, the movement of the USS St. Louis, and more.