- Pearl Harbor
- Located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, Pearl Harbor became the base for the U.S. Pacific Fleet in April 1940 in response to growing tensions between the United States and Japan. As relations further deteriorated and war seemed likely, in January 1941 the Japanese admiral, Isoruku Yamamoto, began to plan a surprise preemptive attack on the harbor. When this was approved by the government of Hideki Tojo, Yamamoto moved his fleet to the Kurile Islands in November and early in the morning of 7 December launched an air attack from 275 miles north of Pearl Harbor.Although U.S. intelligence knew an attack was imminent, they had no idea of where or when. At the time of the bombing, negotiations between Japan and the Roosevelt administration were still ongoing in Washington, D.C. In two hours, on a day Roosevelt said would “live in infamy,” the Japanese sank 18 warships, destroyed almost 200 aircraft, and killed 2,403 U.S. service personnel. The U.S. aircraft carriers were at sea and escaped damage. Other vital resources remained undamaged, and the attack did not prove to be the devastating setback the Japanese had wanted. Rather, it provided the rally cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor” and helped bring about the rapid mobilization of the U.S. war effort. The Pearl Harbor site is now a national historic site, and the sunken USS Arizona remains a memorial to those who died.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.