Pearl Harbor – A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
December 7, 1941
The Hawaiian U.S. naval base Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, killing 2,402 people, sinking four U.S. battleships, and destroying 188 U.S. aircraft. The Japanese only lost 29 aircraft and five midget submarines, with 64 servicemen killed and one captured.
Japan announced a declaration of war on the U.S. later that day and the U.S. declared war on Japan the following day.
Because Japan attacked without a declaration of war, this act was later declared a war crime, with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt calling it “a date which will live in infamy.”
All the sunk battleships were raised, except the USS Arizona, with six of the eight damaged ships returning to service. Japan made a severe tactical error by overestimating the importance of battleships in the upcoming war, thereby focusing on destroying them instead of the Pearl Harbor’s repair yards, oil tank farms, submarine base, and the Old Administration Building, which housed the cryptanalytic unit, all of which were vital to war effort in the Pacific. While battleships were vital to previous wars, their slow speed and high fuel consumption limited their usefulness in World War II, whereas submarines and aircraft carriers proved superior in modern warfare. None of the three Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers were in port at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attacks.