Today, December 7th, 2010 is declared Pearl Harbor Day. Pearl Harbor Day commemorates the unprovoked attack in 1941 of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii by Japanese forces. The attack marked the US entry into World War II. The attack took place on Sunday morning at 7:55 AM. It lasted just over an hour. The harbor was the homeport for the US Pacific fleet. Most of the ships in the harbor were damaged or destroyed. 2,400 Americans were killed and nearly 1,200 wounded. The greatest tragedy was the loss of the Battleship USS Arizona with its crew of nearly 1,200 men.
At the dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the naval aviation forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and other military targets. The goal of this attack was to sufficiently cripple the US Fleet so that Japan could then attack and capture the Phillipines and Indo-China and so secure access to the raw materials needed to maintain its position as a global military and economic power.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941, which brought the U.S. into World War II. Aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyed five U.S. Navy battleships, along with 188 aircraft, one minelayer, and three destroyers and inflicting over 4,000 casualties. The Japanese losses were minimal at 29 aircraft and five midget submarines with 65 Japanese servicemen killed or wounded.
The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy’s battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire’s southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant. The intent of the pre-emptive strike was to protect Imperial Japan’s advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies — for their natural resources such as oil and rubber — by neutralizing the U.S. Pacific Fleet (in the fashion of War Plan Orange as practiced by both sides).
This would enable Japan to further extend the empire to include Australia, New Zealand, and India (the ultimate boundaries planned for the so-called “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”). The prevailing belief within the Japanese military and political establishment was that eventually, with the then expected German defeat of Great Britain and Soviet Russia, the United States’ non-involvement in the European war, and Japan’s control of the Pacific, that the world power structure would stabilize into three major spheres of influence:
1.) The Empire of Japan controlling East, Southeast, and South Asia and the entire Pacific Ocean.
2.) The combined powers of Germany and Italy controlling Great Britain, all of Europe, Western and central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
3.) The United States, controlling North and South America.
The Japanese high command was (mistakenly) certain any attack on Britain’s colonies would inevitably thrust the U.S. into the war. By contrast, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had moved the fleet to Hawaii, and ordered a buildup in the Philippines, to deter Japanese aggression against China, or European colonies in Asia.
The attack was one of the most important engagements of World War II. Occurring before a formal declaration of war, it spurred the U.S. into World War Two against Japan and then Germany which declared war on the U.S. a few days later, creating a conflict that encircled the world. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy”. And that it has…
To all of you that have perished under this surprise attack, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. When I visited the memorial just the sight of seeing so many names on that wall, just is jaw dropping. It is really amazing that you can hear the distant noises from shore during the boat ride over, but once you are upon the memorial, it is so soothingly quiet. It is deafening quiet. If you ever visit Hawaii, you must stop by and visit the memorial. It is so amazing. Thank you to all who have protected our freedom both past and present. It is because of you that I get the freedom to write this blog.
Thanks for reading,