7.12.11

The 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl harbor

Today marks a tragic day in American History. On this day 70 years ago at approximately 1:00 PM EST the Japanese Empire thrust itself on the United States by attacking the United States Naval Army and Army Air Forces in Hawaii. This one act galvanized the America, as we found ourselves no longer an isolationist country but a country bent on finishing the Second World War. If the first World War marked the end of an era, then December 7th surly marked the beginining of a new one.

Here is an overview of the Pearl Harbor attack by the US Navy's Historical Branch.

Click here first.

The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese agression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accomodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.


Whereas the United States was slowly drawn into the Great War, the attack on Pearl Harbor shocked us into war.

Losses.

Not all wars are like the 1st Gulf War where the casualties for the US were disporportionate to the enemy. Battles are calculated be area gained, and objectives taken. The losses in killed and wounded are only calculated in the hearts of families.

The US Navy bore the burden of those killed at pearl harbor, many of these men remain aboard their ships to this day.

US Navy, Killed 2008 Wounded 710

US Army, Killed 218 Wounded 178

US Marines, Killed 109 Wounded 69

Civilians, Killed 68 Wounded 35

Summary of U.S. Ship Damage

Battleships

Arizona sunk, total loss, It is now the National Memorial to Pearl Harbor

California sunk, raised, repaired May 1944

Maryland damaged, repaired Feb. 1942

Nevada heavily damaged, repaired Dec. 1942

Oklahoma capsized, total loss

Tennessee damaged, repaired Mar. 1942

West Virginia sunk, raised, repaired July 1944

Pennsylvania slightly damaged, repaired Aug. 1942

Destroyers

Cassin heavily damaged, rebuilt Feb. 1944

Downes heavily damaged, rebuilt Nov. 1943

Helm damaged, repaired Jan. 1942

Cruisers

Helena heavily damaged, repaired June 1942

Honolulu damaged, repaired Jan. 1942

Raleigh heavily damaged, repaired July 1942

Minecraft

Oglala sunk, raised, repaired Feb. 1944

Auxiliaries

Curtis damaged, repaired Jan. 1942

Sotoyomo sunk, raised, repaired Aug.1942

Utah capsized, sunk, Now a memorial

Vestal heavily damaged, repaired Feb. 1942

YFD-2 sunk, raised, repaired May 1942

Some of these ships went on to serve at DDay 6 June 1944.

Of 22 Japanese ships which were in the attacking forces at Pearl harbor only one survived to be surrendered at the end of the war. All 4 of the Aircraft Carriers which launched aircraft against Pearl Harbor were sunk at Midway on June 4-5 1942less than 7 months later.

May in God they find rest.

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