Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941

Background: A Brief Overview of World War II



The goal: Dominate Asia & the Pacific Islands

The United States

  • Fearing Japanese expansion, the United stated provided China with loan assistance for was supplies
  • July 1941: Ceased oil exports to Japan

Pearl Harbor

A surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory.

Sunday, December 7 1941

The Japanese attack force under the command of Admiral Nagumo, consisting of six carriers with 423 planes, is about to attack.

6 a.m., the first attack wave of 183 Japanese planes takes off from the carriers located 230 miles north of Oahu and heads for the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor

7:02 a.m., two Army operators at Oahu's northern shore radar station detect the Japanese air attack approaching and contact a junior officer who disregards their reports, thinking they are American B-17 planes which are expected in from the U.S. west coast.

7:15 a.m., a second attack wave of 167 planes takes off from the Japanese carriers and heads for Pearl Harbor.

7:53 a.m., the first Japanese assault wave, with 51 'Val' dive bombers, 40 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 50 high level bombers and 43 'Zero' fighters, commences the attack with flight commander, Mitsuo Fuchida, sounding the battle cry: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!).

The Americans are taken completely by surprise. The first attack wave targets airfields and battleships. The second wave targets other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasts until 9:45 a.m. Eight battleships are damaged, with five sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost along with 188 aircraft. The Japanese lose 27 planes and five midget submarines which attempted to penetrate the inner harbor and launch torpedoes.

We Remember

The casualty list includes:

  • 2,335 servicemen
  • 68 civilians
  • 1,178 wounded.


  • 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona killed after a 1,760-pound air bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing catastrophic explosions.

Fun Fact:

The USS Arizona is still leaking oil

The attack led to the United States' entry into World War II.

Monday, December 8: The United States and Britain declare war on Japan

President Roosevelt calling December 7, "a date which will live in infamy..."

Created By
Jennifer Schleicher


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