Attack on Pearl Harbor

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Attack on Pearl Harbor
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
Attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese planes view.jpg
Photograph of Battleship Row taken from a Japanese plane at the beginning of the attack. The explosion in the center is a torpedo strike on the USS West Virginia. Two attacking Japanese planes can be seen: one over the USS Neosho and one over the Naval Yard.
Date December 7, 1941
Location Primarily Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, U.S.
 United States of America    Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Husband Kimmel
Walter Short
Chuichi Nagumo
Isoroku Yamamoto
8 battleships
8 cruisers
30 destroyers
4 submarines
1 USCG Cutter[1]
49 other ships[2]
≈390 aircraft
Mobile Unit:
6 aircraft carriers
2 battleships
2 heavy cruisers
1 light cruiser
9 destroyers
8 tankers
23 fleet submarines
5 midget submarines
414 aircraft
Casualties and losses
2 battleships totally lost
2 battleships sunk and recovered
3 battleships damaged
1 battleship grounded
2 other ships sunk[3]
3 cruisers damaged[5]
3 destroyers damaged
3 other ships damaged
188 aircraft destroyed
159[6] aircraft damaged
2,403 killed
1,178 wounded
4 midget submarines sunk
1 midget submarine grounded
29 aircraft destroyed
64 killed
1 captured[7]
Civilian casualties
68 killed[8][9]
35 wounded

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a pre-emptive military strike on the United States Pacific Fleet base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Empire of Japan's Imperial Japanese Navy, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941. Two attack waves, totaling 350 aircraft were launched from six IJN aircraft carriers which destroyed two U.S. Navy battleships, one minelayer, two destroyers and 188 aircraft. Personnel losses were 2,333 killed and 1,139 wounded. Damaged warships included three cruisers, a destroyer, and six battleships. Of those six, one was deliberately grounded and was later refloated and repaired. Two sank at their berths but were later repaired and both rejoined the fleet rather late in the war. Vital fuel storage, shipyards, and submarine facilities were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal at 29 aircraft and five midget submarines, with 65 Japanese servicemen killed or wounded.

The attack was one of the most important engagements of World War II. Occurring before a formal declaration of war, it shocked the American public out of isolationism. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 "...a date which will live in infamy."


Politically correct views

The pre-emptive strike's intent 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. Both the US and Japan had long-standing contingency plans for war in the Pacific focusing on the other's surface fleet, developed during the 1930s as tension between the two countries steadily increased. Japan's expansion into Manchuria and later French Indochina were greeted with increasing levels of embargoes and sanctions from the United States. In 1940, the US halted further shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools and aviation gas to Japan, which they interpreted as an unfriendly act. America continued to export oil to Japan, as it was understood in Washington that cutting off exports could mean Japanese retaliation. In the summer of 1941, the US ceased the export of oil to Japan due to Japan's continued aggressive expansionist policy and because an anticipated eventual American entrance to the war in Europe prompted increased stockpiling and less commercial use of gasoline. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had moved the fleet to Hawaii, and ordered a buildup in the Philippines, to reduce Japanese aggression in China and deter operations against others, including European colonies in Asia. The Japanese high command was certain any attack on the United Kingdom's colonies would inevitably bring the U.S. into the war. A pre-emptive strike appeared the only way Japan could avoid U.S. interference in the Pacific.


Revisionist critiques of the official version include that persons in the US government had foreknowledge of the attack, without acting on this information, or even deliberately precipitated the attack in order to bring the United States into the war. See the "External links" section.

See also

External links


  1. USCGC Taney (WHEC-37)
  2. Ships present at Pearl Harbor 0800 December 7, 1941 US Navy Historical Center. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved on 2011-07-17.
  3. Utah and Oglala
  4. CinCP report of damage to ships in Pearl Harbor from
  5. Unless otherwise stated, all vessels listed were salvageable.[4]
  6. USN website
  7. Gilbert 2009, p. 272.
  8. Gailey 1995
  9. Pearl Harbor Casualty List. Retrieved on 2012-12-07.
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