The sneak attack on the United States forces at Pearl Harbor, HI by the Imperial Japanese Navy occurred on December 7, 1941. American casualties were 3,581 dead and wounded and the U.S. entered WWII in the Pacific as a result.
For many of you, Pearl Harbor was in a high school history book. For you history buffs, you know the story. The (in my opinion) definitive work on the subject is the book “At Dawn We Slept” by Gordan Prang.
A very short executive summary of Japanese intentions is the plan was to eliminate the U.S. Navy from interfering with Japanese efforts to invade and conquer the oil-and-rubber-rich lands of the southwest Pacific. Their thinking was that by the time the U.S. Navy was re-built, the Japanese conquests would be completed and the Americans would accept it a fait d’acompli (wrong!), as well as focusing on the war in Europe. Despite Japanese planning, they did not know for sure where the American carriers were. In fact they were not at Pearl, escaped destruction and became from the foundation for American success just a short time later at Midway. It was the beginning of the end of the Japanese Navy and hence the war in the Pacific.
If you don’t have the time or interest to read the book, you can find an excellent summation of the events leading up to and including the attack at:
The USS Arizona (BB-39) lies on the bottom of Pearl Harbor where a number of its crew are entombed. Oil still leaks from the ship to this day. A memorial straddles the ship and visiting the memorial is a somber event for any travelers to Oahu.
Whether your read more about December 7th, 1941 or not, take a moment today and honor the 2,403 Americans that died that day (and an additional 1,178 were wounded).
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