This is the 75th anniversary of the Attack On Pearl Harbor by the Japanese that involved the USA into World War 2.
A few years back I hosted a Hawaiian Getaway holiday with over 300 of our 620 CKRM listeners signing up to come along. One of the stops on our itinerary was a visit to Pearl Harbor. Out of the entire tour this visit to the harbor was my favorite. I had a chance to speak to some of the surviving veterans of the attack and we found out more about the Japanese’s goals and intentions and how this attack affected the great war.
Of course I had my camera with me for this tour and I thought I would share some of my photo’s before you check out the ones I found that have been re-enhanced.
The attacks on December 7, 1941, which saw Japanese plains hit US ships at the island of Oahu, Hawaii was pivotal in bringing America into the conflict.
It was just before 8am on a Sunday when 353 Japanese fighter planes, bombers and torpedo planes descended upon the American naval base.
The devastating barrage lasting barely two hours was one of the worst attacks on American soil in history.
Japan sent in 49 bombers, 40 torpedo planes, 51 dive-bombers and 43 fighter aircraft in the first wave.
Another wave of 54 bombers, 78 dive-bombers and 36 fighters were then sent in, aiming to completely disable the US naval base.
More than 2,400 American soldiers and sailors died in the assault and a further 1,178 were wounded.
Among those killed were 2,008 sailors, 218 soldiers and airmen and 109 marines. Another 68 civilians were also killed.
About 20 naval vessels, including eight battleships, and hundreds of aeroplanes were destroyed in the brutal assault.
The first ship to go was the USS Arizona. It was hit with a 1,800 pound bomb that smashed the deck.
The ship exploded and sank with more than 1,000 men trapped on board.
Torpedoes also pierced the shell of the USS Oklahoma. There were 400 sailors on board when she ship rolled over and sank.
By the end of the attack, every battleship in the Harbor, the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS California, USS West Virginia, USS Utah, USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania, USS Tennessee and USS Nevada, had all been significantly damaged.
Stemming from the increasing rivalry between Japan and America it was a dramatic announcement from Japan that they wanted to challenge US dominance.
In comparison, the losses suffered by the Japanese were minimal.
They lost 29 aircraft, five midget submarines and about 100 servicemen. A Japanese sailor was also captured.
But the Japanese failed to crippled the Pacific Fleet, as battleships were no longer the most important naval vessel by the 1940s.
The next day, December 8, America declared war on Japan meaning that, two years into the conflict, it had finally joined World War II.
Upon declaring war, then President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the attack as “a date that will live in infamy”.
Three days later, on December 11, Japanese allies Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and Congress reciprocated.
Afterwards, 15 medals of honour, 51 navy crosses, 53 silver stars, four navy and marine corps medals, one distinguished flying cross, four distinguished service crosses, one distinguished service medal, and three bronze star medals were awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor.
A special military award, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, was later authorised for all military veterans of the attack.
The attack was later judged to be a war crime at the Tokyo Trials because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without warning.