December 7th will forever be remembered for Japan’s undeclared attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Though America knew something was coming they did not know when or where it would start. A delay in typing the declaration of war kept the Japanese officials in America from reaching the state department before the attack was launched. The day after the attack the US declared war on both Japan and Germany.
The attack came on a Sunday morning, 7:55 when a lone dive bomber hit the ships docked in the harbor. No one was on alert to protect them even though radar had picked up the planes coming in. 360 dive bombers and torpedo planes came after the first strike, crippling or sinking 5 battleships, 3 destroyer and 7 other surface ships while killing 2,400 soldiers and civilians costing the Japanese 30 planes, less than 100 men and 5 mini-subs. 1,200 were left wounded, many never to return to a normal life. Fortunately for the Americans, the fleets 3 carriers were at sea and did not get caught in the harbor.
Japan had begun colonizing different countries in Asia and as a result, formed an alliance with Germany and when America denied them oil, they struck out ensuring the resources they needed to continue spread their influence over the Far East. The hit on Pearl Harbor was designed to keep the Americans from interfering in Japans plans. They were wrong, and many in Japan knew they would awaken a sleeping giant.
Over the next 4 years America would bring Japan to it’s knees, eventually ending the war with the Atomic bomb, starting an entirely different kind of war that would last for years to come. Pearl Harbor became a rally call similar to “Remember the Alamo” probably igniting patriotism in the US more than any other action could have done.
How to celebrate – Remember those who gave their all at Pearl Harbor. Visit one of the memorials to the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Watch one of the many movies made about the attack on Pearl Harbor.