What was it like to wake up to the news of Pearl Harbor?
“a date which will live in
world history infamy” – FDR
Originally it was written for an address to congress as “world history” but then changed to the famous “infamy”.
Dateline Dec 7 1941: Oahu Bombed by Japanese Planes. Six Known Dead 21 injured at emergency hospital. Hundreds See City Bombed. Attack made on Manila Philippines and Pearl Harbor Just before 08:00, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service executed a preemptive strike on the neutral United States, at the time, against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. The attack lasted 110 minutes from 7:55 until 9:45 am. When Japanese Commander Mitsuo Fuchida called out, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (“Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!”) upon flying over Pearl Harbor, it was a message to the entire Japanese navy telling them they had caught the Americans totally by surprise. The attack led to the United States’ formal entry into World War II the next day. The U.S. declared war on Germany and Italy on December 11, after they declared war on the U.S.
Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. At about noon in the Philippines nearly 200 Japanese bombers and fighters struck Clark Field, a US air base in the Philippines. The attacks were supposed arrive at the same time as the Pearl Harbor strikes but take off was delayed by fog over their Taiwanese bases. It was catastrophe almost as devastating as Pearl Harbor. However they were alerted over 9 hours before the Japanese struck. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S. held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Despite the early newspaper reporting of 6 known dead the final tally was 2,335 killed and 1,143 wounded. Civilian casualties amounted to 68 killed and 35 wounded.
The bombing led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy“. President FDR made a last minute edit to his speech, changing “a day that will live on in world history” to “a day that will live in infamy”. Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.
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Very interesting article!