December 7, 1941

This U.S. Navy website has a good written summary of the attack, plus many excellent photos. The 9/11/2001 attack is often compared to Pearl Harbor, for good reason. As the anonymous commentary on the Navy site puts it:

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan’s far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accomodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the “sneak attack” on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan’s striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.


UPDATE: Jim Miller makes book recommendations.

10 thoughts on “December 7, 1941”

  1. The History Channel just finished up Tora! Tora! Tora!

    Very interesting post at Rantburg:

    #3 My wife’s father was the radioman aboard the U.S.S. Maryland, and sent the now famous “This is not a drill” message over & over that day. He had gone below for his watch just before the attack and remained on station for hours sending every message handed to him. He had enlisted in 1938, served on multiple ships during the war, and wound up aboard a destroyer in Tokyo Bay from which he watched the surrender through binoculars!

    Four years ago we took him back to Pearl Harbor, his first visit since 1941. He did fine until we got to the pedestals with the plaques showing the names of all the servicemen killed aboard each vessel. When he looked at the long list of names from the U.S.S. Oklahoma he started crying. We asked him why, and he replied: “because they saved our lives…they took all the punishment that otherwise would have hit the Maryland”. It was a staggering day for us all, and gave his assembled kids and grandkids a chance to realize how much a part of history their Grandpa was.

    God Bless them all!


    Talk about timing, was helping daughter fire up a computer program and what line was on, “…This is not a drill.”

  2. I have lived in Hawaii since 91, where I was a US Navy submariner at Pearl, stationed aboard the USS Indianapolis from 91-96, then left the service but stayed in Hawaii for school and now it looks like for good.

    I work not 1 mile from Pearl Harbor today, and had the great fortune of having my navy scuba school graduation ceremony on the very Arizona memorial(that white pillbox structure you always see in photos).

    I have seen the 50th(Bush Sr. was here for that) and 60th anniversaries up close and personal(not to mention others over the years). With the bowfin submarine memorial, the Arizona, and the USS Missouri battleship here too..My wife and I will go back from time to time to see what has been added.

    The stories and memorabilia at the Pearl Harbor Arizona memoria museum, over the years, have lead me to an observation about our country and our people. When you visit Pearl, there are stories and anectdotes about American AND Japanese characters in the attack…about Japanes ace pilots and their stories as well as ours..the story of the attack is told…but there is no excessive pointing out of blame…no “example of their evil” being made of the Japanese. By contrast..when I visited the “Peace Park” in Japan, with its commemoration of tha atomic bombs, it had wax figures of women and children melted/mutilated, along with a nice little story about how …out of the blue….The Americans suddenly decided to drop these big bombs on Japan…and what bastards they were for doing it.

    Personally, I sort of like it that way…because I am sure that any thinking Nihon-jin is quite embarrased about the portrayal of those events by the Japanese government.

    Funny personal note about Pearl Harbor…

    My wife is a Japanese American, born and raised in Hawaii..and when I met her in 1992 and asked her the time I did not have a car as I was a young navy man who had just hit the rock not 1 year before and 6 of those months were on deployment, so she agreed to pick me up. When we talked on the phone to make arrangements, I asked her if she knew where the gate to Pearl Harbor naval base which she replied “No..I don’t think so..”. This is where I applied my first test for a sense of humor…I said “Oh come on now….just go look through your grandfather’s things for some old air charts of Hawaii and look for the big red X”. The fact that she laughed told me she was a keeper….

    ok…enough boring you with the details of my inconsequential life….

  3. Here’s an amusing fact about the Pearl Harbor attack: American forces fired the first shots. The Japanese midget subs were spotted and attacked, successfully, both by picket ships and by anti-submarine aircraft.

    (I have some suggestions for books on Pearl Harbor at my site, if you want to read more.)

  4. We honeymooned in Hawaii and the day we visited The Memorial a girl was reupping and that’s where she had her ceremony.

  5. There’s another connection between pearl harbor and 9-11: both were consequences of trying to contain an aggressive state through a sanctions regime.

  6. This time it’s going to take more than 2 to end this.

    Jury’s still out, but those vermin just don’t get it.

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