Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"A date which will live in infamy"

Seventy years ago today the Japanese attacked targets all across the Pacific including Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where the US Pacific fleet was based. The attack was devastating, sinking or damaging eight battleships, three cruisers and three destroyers. 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. It was a surprise attack on a nation at peace. The next day President Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a Declaration of War:
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.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. ....

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island. ....
Although several films have been made about the attack, the most accurate account of what actually happened remains 1970's Tora! Tora! Tora!. It is also a very good film. A review of the new Blu-ray DVD of the film can be found here.

"A Date Which Will Live in Infamy": FDR Asks for a Declaration of War