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 7 December 1941
Location Primarily Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, U.S.
 United States of America    Japan
Commanders and leaders
Husband Kimmel
Walter Short
Chuichi Nagumo
Isoroku Yamamoto
8 battleships
8 cruisers
30 destroyers
4 submarines
1 USCG Cutter
49 other ships[1]
≈390 aircraft
Carrier Striking Task Force:
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 (USS Utah and USS Oglala)
3 cruisers damaged[3]
3 destroyers damaged
3 other ships damaged
188 aircraft destroyed
159[4] aircraft damaged
2,403 killed
1,178 wounded
4 midget submarines sunk
1 midget submarine grounded
29 aircraft destroyed
64 killed
1 captured (Kazuo Sakamaki)[5]
Civilian casualties
68 killed[6][7]
35 wounded

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a military attack on 7 December 1941 by Japan on the neutral United States, more specifically an attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. The naval base and the United States Pacific Fleet was damaged and 2,403 Americans were killed. Regarding more details on the politically correct view on this, see the "External links" section.


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 7 December 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.

US attack on Japan right before Pearl Harbor

USA attacked and sunk a Japanese submarine more than an hour before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. USS Ward (a group of Navy reservists from St. Paul, Minnesota) attacked and sunk a Japanese two-man submarine a little more than an hour before the Pearl Harbor Attack.[8] More than one hour before the 8 a.m. attack on Pearl Harbor, the commander of the Ward sent this message to headquarters in Honolulu:

"We have attacked, fired upon and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area."

John Wiltshire (associate director of the University of Hawaii laboratory) said:

"They sounded the warning and no one listened."[9]

Revisionist views

Revisionist criticisms of the official version include that individuals in the United States government are argued to have had foreknowledge of the attack, without acting on this information, or even deliberately precipitated the attack in order to bring the United States into WWII. See the "External links" section.

Now, Mr. Roosevelt figured, and it's in Mr. Stimson's diary, in his own handwriting, which is in the room at Yale Library containing all Mr. Henry L. Stimson's papers - he was the Secretary of Defense. He wrote in his diary important things that went on (in his own handwriting) and under November 25th, two weeks before Pearl Harbor, he wrote, "The President sent for us to come to the White House. I thought it was to discuss the war in Europe, but he told us that we had to be at war with Japan but he didn't want it to look as if we fired the first shot!" That is almost verbatim. Henry Stimson, the Secretary of Defense wrote that in his diary. That is how we got into the World War, because Roosevelt said, "We want to be at war with Japan, but we don't want it to look as though we fired the first shot"! So we got the first shot, alright, at Pearl Harbor! But, the only way we could be at war with Germany was to be at war with Japan. Then automatically, under their treaty, we were at war with Germany. That's how we got into World War II. – Benjamin Harrison Freedman (1890–1984), founder of the Christian Anti-Defamation League (1950) in 1974[10]

Another revisionist view is on the importance of influential Communist infiltrators, notably Harry Dexter White, who are argued to have been important in inciting a war between Japan and the United States. Another aspect is the following German declaration of war on the United States, often described in politically correct sources as a gigantic German mistake. See the section on WWII in Revisionist views on the causes of the World Wars.

See also

External links

Politically correct views

Revisionist views

Article archives


  1. 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.
  2. CinCP report of damage to ships in Pearl Harbor from
  3. Unless otherwise stated, all vessels listed were salvageable.[2]
  4. USN website
  5. Gilbert 2009, p. 272.
  6. Gailey 1995
  7. Pearl Harbor Casualty List. Retrieved on 2012-12-07.
  10. Benjamin Freedman's speech in 1974