On the morning
of December 7, 1941, warplanes took off from the decks of
six aircraft carriers of the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Their mission was to strike a crippling blow to the
United States military forces stationed at Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii. Japanese leaders were ready to seize the rich oil
fields of the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia,
and believed a pre-emptive attack on the American
military was necessary to prevent American interference
in the invasion plans. To accomplish what they hoped was
a "knockout blow", Japanese forces planned to launch
attacks on U.S. forces in the Philippines, Wake Island,
Guam, and, most importantly, at the U.S. Navy ships
stationed at Pearl Harbor.
Tensions between the
U.S. and Japan had been escalating for several years over
America's displeasure at the brutal war Japan was waging
in China. The U.S. gave moral support to the Chinese,
including the fateful act of cutting off sales of oil,
tin, and scrap metals to Japan's industry. As Japan had
no oil resources of her own, the Japanese government
looked to their south at the lucrative oil fields of the
Dutch East Indies. In 1940, Nazi Germany conquered the
Dutch homeland in Europe, leaving the Dutch colonies in
Asia in a very lonely and exposed position.
opposition to their war in China, Japanese leaders
assumed the U.S. would oppose their attacks on the Dutch.
U.S. military forces stationed in the Philippines
(located between Japan and the Dutch East Indies) and
based out of Pearl Harbor posed too great a threat to be
left alone. Thus, Japan decided to begin her Pacific War
with a powerful blow at Pearl Harbor, followed by attacks
on American forces in the Philippines and elsewhere.
Japan harbored similar fears of British involvement, and
also launched attacks on British forces at Hong Kong,
Singapore, and Malaya.
The attack on Pearl
Harbor caused great damage, sinking several powerful
battleships, but the top prize, America's Pacific Fleet
aircraft carriers, were not in port at the time. Japan
damaged the U.S. Navy, but did not cripple it. What they
did do was make America extremely angry and thirsting for
revenge and retribution on their new enemies. Thus began
the four-year Pacific War portion of World War Two
between the U.S. and Japan.
and Links on Pearl Harbor:
Harbor and Japan's Folly
Dawn We Slept-- by Gordon W.
Harbor Ghosts : The Legacy of December 7, 1941
Harry Turtledove: This speculative novel examines what
could have happened if the Japanese had
launched a third air strike and a follow-up invasion
Geographic - Pearl Harbor: Legacy of
on the Pearl Harbor attack.
fictional movie starring Ben Affleck. Not overly
accurate in a detailed historical sense, but it does
give an idea of what the attack itself was like to
those at Pearl Harbor.
History Channel's Pearl
on the Pearl Harbor attack.
Geographic: Remembering Pearl
Harbor - with
multimedia map and time line, survivors' stories, and
At Pearl Harbor, 1941
- eyewitness account of the attack on Pearl
Pearl Harbor Casualty List:December 7, 1941
Japanese Pilot Remembers
--account by a pilot from the Japanese carrier
Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
- extensive information including images, action
reports, and oral histories from the U. S. Naval
Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941
- overview and photos of the attack from the Naval
- includes information about the Pearl Harbor visitors
center and the Arizona Memorial. Plus history, battle
maps of the attack, and personal accounts of
A Final Struggle Over the Pearl Harbor
--Sixty-three years ago today, Americans were shocked
by news that a Japanese force had attacked the U.S.
military base at Pearl Harbor. As NPR's John Ydstie
reports, the family of a U.S. commander blamed for the
attack refuses to accept the government's version of
- moderated message board featuring expert information
and serious discussion on the attack of Pearl
Raid Pearl Harbor
- collection of American and Japanese photographs
showing Pearl Harbor and the U.S. fleet before,
during, and after the attack. From
Monograph No. 97 : PEARL HARBOR OPERATIONS: General
Outline of Orders and Plans--Collection
of English-language orders from the Japanese military
related to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Story: Pearl Harbor
- eyewitness accounts, chronology of events, a
timeline of three centuries of relations between the
U.S. and Japan, and a teacher's guide offered by
photographic look at the United States Navy during the
attack on Pearl Harbor.
of Infamy: December 7 and 9/11
- American Radioworks presents the recorded voices of
ordinary Americans as they reacted to two deadly
surprise attacks against the United States: Japan's
assault on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Harbor Attack, 1941
- presents a timeline of events, photos, and a map of
the harbor at 7:55 a.m., December 7, 1941.
- contains two Department of State bulletins from
after the attack and the text of a December 6th
message from the President to the Emperor of
Institute: Pearl Harbor
- compilation of magazine articles, books,
photographs, oral histories, and multi-media about
Dec. 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl
account of a 17-year-old American girl living at
Hickam Field, Hawaii, at the time of the Pearl Harbor
Harbor Survivors Association
- veterans group that encourages the historical study
of "The Day of Infamy."
Harbor Attack Hearings, The
- includes the Joint Congressional Committee report
and eight other official investigations into the
Magazine: The Attack on Pearl
History Magazine: Pearl Harbor - Attack from
Below - naval
experts using digital photo imagery argue that
Japanese midget submarines did inflict damage during
Navy Ships -- Midget Submarines
- article about the Type A midget submarines used in
the attack plus images of recovered subs.
Geographic: Expedition Pearl
underwater investigation and reporting on the Arizona
memorial wreckage and other WWII ships, planes, and a
possible Japanese submarine on the seafloor off Pearl
After Pearl Harbor, The
- documentary from Sound Portraits exploring
recordings made by the Library of Congress on December
8, 1941 interviewing U.S. citizens about the Pearl
Harbor Pictures, Maps and Historical
features overview of the events on December 7, 1941
- collection of Japanese orders and plans regarding
the attack on Pearl Harbor.
U.S. Ships at Pearl
- straddles the sunken hull of the battleship USS
Arizona and commemorates the December 7, 1941,
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. From the National
Memorial Museum Association
- produces interpretive and educational materials and
operates book and memorabilia shops at the USS Arizona
Memorial visitor center and parks on Molokai and
Harbor Memorial Fund
- campaign to raise funds to construct a new Pearl
Harbor Memorial Museum and Visitor Center. Site
includes details on the memorial, as well as facts and
history about the tragic event.
Harbor and Arizona Memorial Web
Cam - live
Cultural Resources Study: USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor
National Historic Landmark
- document dealing with the sunken ship of Pearl
Arizona - University of Arizona Special
papers, photographs, and memorabilia of the USS
Arizona and Pearl Harbor
pictures and background.
Harbor: The USS Utah (BB31/AG16)
official site covering Pearl Harbor attack, actions of
the crew, survivor list, photo gallery, and
Utah (BB 31) -
official site from the United States Navy featuring
ship information, pictures, and statistics for the USS
Utah Story -
includes ship statistics, information, and pictures of
the USS Utah.
USS West Virginia
USS West Virginia (BB-48)
- tribute to those who served aboard the Wee-Vee.
Features the ship's history, crew list, stories, and
Photo Archive: USS West Virginia
- article from the Dictionary of American Naval
history of the ship plus statistics from the
California Military Museum.
Ships -- USS California (BB-44)
- short article and images from the U.S. Naval
the USS Oklahoma
- with photos, a roster of crew members, and
article from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting