December 7, 2018 marks the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In commemoration of the anniversary, we’ve put together some materials you can check out at the Batesville Memorial Public Library to learn more!
Pearl Harbor is a U.S. naval base on Oahu island, Hawaii, which is about 2,000 miles from the United States mainland and about 4,000 miles from Japan. The naval base was the location of a surprise aerial attack on the United States by Japanese forces, precipitating the United States’ entry into World War II. While the attack was a surprise, it was also the climax of almost a decade of worsening tensions between the United States and Japan.
Just before 8 AM on Sunday, December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes began their aerial attack on the naval base.
The attack lasted less than two hours, but during that time every battleship in the harbor – USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS California, USS West Virginia, USS Utah, USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania, USS Tennessee and USS Nevada – sustained significant damage. All battleships but the USS Arizona and USS Utah were eventually repaired. During the attack, the Japanese managed to damage or destroy over 20 American naval vessels and over 300 airplanes.
Despite significant damage to the U.S. naval fleet, the attack on Pearl Harbor did not cripple the United States Navy. By the 1940’s, aircraft carriers had replaced battleships as the most important components of a modern navy. As it happened, all of the Pacific fleet’s aircraft carriers were away from the Pearl Harbor base on the day of the attack. As a result, the United States was able to rebound from the attack and enter the war, which was declared by Congress at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 – the day after the attack.
If you’d like to learn more, here are some resources:
Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941: America’s Darkest Day