World War II: Pearl Harbor
|JUL 31, 2011 | 66|
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. (This entry is Part 7of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II) [45 photos]
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Officers' wives, investigating explosions and seeing a smoke pall in distance on December 7, 1941, heard neighbor Mary Naiden, then an Army hostess who took this picture, exclaim "There are red circles on those planes overhead. They are Japanese!" Realizing war had come, the two women, stunned, started toward quarters.
(AP Photo/Mary Naiden) #
The USS Shaw burns in Pearl Harbor. Japanese bombers hit the forward portion of the ship with three bombs. The resulting fires proved uncontrollable, and Shaw was ordered abandoned. Soon after, her forward ammunition magazines detonated in a spectacular blast, completely removing her bow.
(U.S. Navy) #
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, eight miles from Pearl Harbor, shrapnel from a Japanese bomb riddled this car and killed three civilians in the attack of December 7, 1941. Two of the victims can be seen in the front seat. The Navy reported there was no nearby military target.
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy) #