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Why Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor

Scott and Ensign Herbert C.


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Jones stayed at their posts at the cost of their lives to keep power and ammunition flowing to the antiaircraft guns as long as possible. Rear Admiral Isaac C. Bennion onboard the battleship West Virginia directed the defense of their ships under heavy fire, until the ships were sunk and they were killed. Japanese forces were astonished at the quick reaction and intensity of U. That more Japanese aircraft were not shot down had nothing to do with the skill, training, or bravery of our Sailors and other servicemembers.

Rather, U.

My Story: Pearl Harbor

While damage to the U. Pacific Fleet's battleline proved extensive, it was not complete.

The attack failed to damage any American aircraft carriers, which had been providentially absent from the harbor. Our aircraft carriers, along with supporting cruisers and destroyers and fleet oilers, proved crucial in the coming months. The Japanese focus on ships and planes spared our fuel tank farms, naval yard repair facilities, and the submarine base, all of which proved vital for the tactical operations that originated at Pearl Harbor in the ensuing months and played a key role in the Allied victory.

American technological skill raised and repaired all but three of the ships sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor. Most importantly, the shock and anger that Americans felt in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor united the nation and was translated into a collective commitment to victory in World War II. Why Pearl Harbor? Cressman discusses Japan's strategic objective for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Why Pearl Harbor. Click the links below for additional sets of video sound bites to hear Cressman answer questions about other aspects of the attack.

The Navy Department Library Online Reading Room contains an overview of the Pearl Harbor attack; that page also provides most of the links given above. Naval History and Heritage Command. Print Friendly. Social Media.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Toggle left navigation Nav. Toggle navigation Menu. Toggle navigation. Navy Women in the U. Navy Hispanic Americans in the U. Navy Contributions of American Indians to the U. After the attack, Japan officially declared war on the United States. The next day President Roosevelt delivered his famous "infamy" speech, and signed a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan.

Japanese pilots get instructions aboard an aircraft carrier before the attack on Pearl Harbor, in this scene from a Japanese newsreel. It was obtained by the U. War Department and released to U. The Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku, seen in September of The Zuikaku would soon sail toward Hawaii, one of six aircraft carriers used in the attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy. This photograph, from a Japanese film later captured by American forces, was taken aboard the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku, just as a Nakajima "Kate" B-5N bomber launched off the deck to attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, Aerial view of the initial blows struck against American ships, as seen from a Japanese plane over Pearl Harbor.

Captured Japanese photograph taken during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, In the distance, the smoke rises from Hickam Field. Seen from a distance, the Battleship Arizona burns as it sinks in Pearl Harbor after the December 7, raid by Japanese bombers.

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A Japanese bomber, its diving flaps down, was photographed by a U. Navy photographer as the plane approached its Pearl Harbor objective on December 7.

World War II - Attack on Pearl Harbor. Watch Full Documentary in Color

Japanese aircraft can be seen in the air above Pearl Harbor top center and upper right in this captured Japanese photograph taken during the initial moments of the Japanese attack. A wide-angle view of the sky above Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, filled with smoke and anti-aircraft fire on December 7, Officers' wives, investigating explosions and seeing a smoke pall in distance on December 7, , heard neighbor Mary Naiden, then an Army hostess who took this picture, exclaim "There are red circles on those planes overhead.

They are Japanese! Aerial photograph, taken by a Japanese pilot, of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese bomber in lower-right foreground. Japanese bombers hit the forward portion of the ship with three bombs. The resulting fires proved uncontrollable, and Shaw was ordered abandoned.

Soon after, her forward ammunition magazines detonated in a spectacular blast, completely removing her bow. Two men can be seen on the superstructure, upper center. Frame clipped from a color motion picture taken from on board USS Solace. Japanese planes over Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor are shown in this scene from a Japanese newsreel.

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The film was obtained by the U. War Department and later released to U. Oil burns on the waters of Pearl Harbor, near the naval air station, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, Photographed on December 7, White House reporters dash for the telephones on December 7, , after they had been told by presidential press secretary Stephen T. Early that Japanese submarines and planes had just bombed the U. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Declaring Japan guilty of a dastardly unprovoked attack, U. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war, on December 8, Young Japanese Americans, including several Army selectees, gather around a reporter's car in the Japanese section of San Francisco, on December 8, An interior shot of a destroyed aircraft hangar at Wheeler Field, in Hawaii, on December 11, In this photo provided by the U.

Navy, eight miles from Pearl Harbor, shrapnel from a Japanese bomb riddled this car and killed three civilians in the attack of December 7, Two of the victims can be seen in the front seat. The Navy reported there was no nearby military target.