World War II: Pearl Harbor as presented by: The Atlantic

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the United States, bombing warships and military targets in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked the naval base in two waves, strafing targets, dropping armor-piercing bombs, and launching torpedoes toward U.S. battleships and cruisers. The U.S. forces were unprepared, waking to the sounds of explosions and then scrambling to defend themselves. The entire preemptive attack was over within 90 minutes, and in that time, the Japanese sunk four battleships and two destroyers, destroyed 188 aircraft, and damaged even more buildings, ships and airplanes (two of the battleships were later raised and returned to service). Some 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack; another 1,250 were injured, and a huge shock was dealt to United States. After the attack, Japan officially declared war on the United States, which was followed the next day by President Roosevelt's famous "infamy" speech, and his signing of a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Within days, Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy also declared war on the United States, and the U.S. reciprocated soon after. Japanese pilots get instructions aboard an aircraft carrier before the attack on Pearl Harbor, in this scene from a Japanese newsreel. It was obtained by the U.S. War Department and released to U.S. newsreels. Japanese aircraft can be seen in the air above Pearl Harbor (top center and upper right) in this captured Japanese photograph taken during the initial moments of the Japanese attack. Selling papers on December 7, 1941 at Times Square in New York City, announcing that Japan has attacked U.S. bases in the Pacific.


view World War II: Pearl Harbor as presented by: The Atlantic

view our privacy policy & terms of service