At the beginning of December, in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, we pause to turn our thoughts toward a place that’s usually a little more tropical this time of year. Not to day-dream about a pleasant day at the beach, but to remember a day that changed the course of the most wide-spread and destructive war in history. On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service performed a surprise military strike on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. This was done without a declaration of war or any other explicit warning, which was highly unusual at the time. During the attack, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. All eight U.S. Navy battleships stationed there at the time were damaged; four were sunk completely with the USS Arizona still underwater to this day. If you visit Pearl Harbor today, you can take a boat out to the memorial that marks the final resting place of not only the USS Arizona but 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors who died on the ship during the attack.
Over the course of 7 hours, beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor at 7:48 a.m., the Japanese would also launch attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Ironically, this was supposed to be a preventative attack to ensure that the United States would stay out of their way during the remainder of the war. The following day, however, the United States would officially declare war on Japan and enter into history’s most destructive war to date.
For more details and first-hand accounts of this historical event, check out books like:
Both of these books can be found here at the Rogers Public Library. Did you know that the two World Wars are among the most popular subjects in our non-fiction section? Because of that, we have an extensive collection to choose from. Come check out our website for more information. If you want to learn about a specific topic but don’t know where to start, let us know at the information desk. We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!