USS West Virginia (BB- 48) during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor
To say the attack on Pearl Harbor was an unfortunate day in U.S. history would be a massive understatement. On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the Hawaiian U.S. naval base that would change the course of history.
Here are some facts about the attack, which took place 69 years ago and which led the United States to enter World War II. It is a tribute to all those who lost their lives in this insensate act.
U.S. Navy battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) explode shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor
#1 The attack was planned by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who commanded the Japanese aircraft carriers during the raid on U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Sources say the main motive behind the attack was to conquer most of the Pacific and South East Asia and to neutralize the U.S. Pacific Fleet before they could rise to fight against the Japanese.
Aerial view of the U.S. Naval Operating Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii (USA), looking southwest on 30 October 1941
#2 The attack consisted of two waves of bombing aircraft, with a total of 353 planes used. It all began at around 7:55 am early on the morning of Sunday December 7 and lasted for 110 minutes. Husband E. Kimmel was the commander of U.S. Naval operations at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day.
#3 While Kermit A. Tyler ignored the radar warning about Pearl Harbor, an African American cook on board, Doris Miller, fought with courage and later on was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions beyond the call of duty.
An aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial with a US Navy (USN) Tour Boat.
#4 Today the USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii, serves as a tomb for more than 1,000 crewmen who died that day. The very next day, on December 8, war was declared against Japan, and three days later U.S. Congress declared war against Germany as well.
Sakamaki’s HA-19, which ran aground
#5 Kazuo Sakamaki was the first prisoner of war of World War II. His submarine, HA-19, was captured and later on taken on a tour across the United States. Years later, deeply committed to pacifism, Sakamaki was sent back to Japan where he worked with the Toyota Motor Corporation until he retired in 1987.
#6 December 8, 1941, the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, was known for the ‘Day of Infamy Speech’. This speech, given by President Roosevelt, had a strong emotional impact. Shortly after this, the most famous American political speech of the 20th century, U.S. Congress declared war on Japan.
Pearl Harbor, today
#7 Pearl Harbor is located in Oahu, Hawaii. Visiting this historical place today is a solemn experience, but about 1.5 million visitors come here every year.
We know that every war causes not only the loss of many battleships, submarines, aircraft and cruisers, but also leaves behind thousands of peoples killed and wounded. War comes with the worst of consequences.