On December 7, 1941, at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a dive bomber from the Japanese Imperial Navy flew unchallenged over the mountains on the island of Oahu. Then 360 Japanese warplanes, following closely behind, thundered over the mountains, descended on and attacked the U.S. naval base and the Army air base at Pearl Harbor. That catapulted the United States into World War II.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt then galvanized the US Congress and the nation into action with his memorable speech which started with: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Part of our Pacific fleet was crippled. Included in the destruction were: four battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, several other ships and subs, and almost 200 planes. Over 2,300 Americans were killed and 1,200 wounded in that disaster. That debacle could not and would not be ignored.
Interestingly, the attack was engineered to prevent the United States from entering the war which would have enabled Japan to advance her imperialistic goals.
Dad’s 1999 book was updated and in December of 2021 was released under a new title: Dead in the Water. I put in new Introduction and numerous pictures, and my brother, Paul, put in a new Afterword. You can find the book on Amazon, and you’ll be glad you bought the book.
Japan’s surprise attack – prior to declaring war – propelled this mighty nation into action. The US aircraft carriers which Japan intended to sink at Pearl Harbor were not at Pearl. Admiral Chester Nimitz, also a Texan, had sent them elsewhere, and the aircraft from those ships destroyed the core of the Japanese Imperial Navy six months later in the Battle of Midway. My father was on the USS Yorktown in that battle.
Recently we seem to have forgotten about the attack on Pearl Harbor. No, we don’t hate the Japanese, but if we forget history, we’ll forget who we are and why our nation exists.
When I worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory – where our first atomic bombs were constructed – every year well-meaning people protested on August 6 and 9. Those were the dates the US dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They thought we should never have bombed Japan.
The fact is, we didn’t want to bomb Japan; we didn’t even want to get into the war. But when we are attacked, we do respond.