Pearl Harbor

  • December 7, 1941
  • United Sates naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force
  • 20 American naval vessels destroyed including 8 battleships and over 300 planes
  • More than 2,000 Americans were killed, over 1,000 wounded
  • America officially enters WWII

Road to war

  • Increased tension between Japan and the United States
  • Japan expanding into neighbor's territory
  • Japan declared war on China in 1937
  • The United States place embargoes and sanctions on Japan
  • The United States hoped that without access to oil and other supplies, Japan would back down
  • Japan stood its ground

why pearl harbor?

  • The United States kept almost the entire Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor
  • Hundreds of airplanes were kept close together in adjacent airfields
  • American intelligence assumed attack would happen at one of the nearby European colonies in the South Pacific
  • Hawaii and Japan were 4,000 miles apart-no one expected Japan to travel so far
  • Naval facilites at Pearl Harbor were relatively undefended- no one expected an attack so close to home


  • Around 8 a.m., Japanese planes flew over Pearl Harbor dropping bombs and bullets destroying the USS Arizona- The ship exploded and sank when a bomb landed in the ammunition magazine
  • Torpedoes hit USS Oklahoma- ships rolls on her side and slips underwater
  • USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS California, USS West Virginia, USS Utah, USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania, USS Tennessee, and USS Nevada all sustain damage
  • Luckily all of the Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers were away from the base on December 7th.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares war on Japan on December 8, 1941.
  • 3 days later, allies to Japan (Germany and Italy) declare war on the United States
  • The United States officially enters World War II
"no matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. i believe i interpret the will of the congress and of the people when i assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again."

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