Today marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
At 7:55 AM on December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter pilots set their sights on Pearl Harbor, an American naval base in Oahu, Hawaii. Two hours later, 2,400 Americas were dead, another 1,200 wounded, and nearly 20 naval vessels and more than 300 airplanes were destroyed.
The United States entered World War II the next day.
As diplomatic negotiations with Japan broke down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew a Japanese attack was likely imminent, but made no moves to secure Pearl Harbor, an important base in the Pacific Ocean. At 7:02 AM, two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft headed towards the island from the north. A flight of B-17s was expected from the United States at the time, so no alarms were sounded. The consequences were a devastating surprise attack on the naval base.
On December 8, President Roosevelt addressed congress, stating “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.” Watch Roosevelt’s speech below.
Roosevelt asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted in favor by 82-0 and the House of Representatives voted in favor by 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Jeannette Rankin of Montana who also voted against the U.S. entrance to Word War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States and the U.S. responded in kind.
There are a number of events scheduled around the country in observance of Pearl Harbor Day. Learn more on the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary website.
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