The attacking planes came in two waves; the first hit its target at 7:53 AM, the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan.
Behind them they left chaos, 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. In one stroke the Japanese action silenced the debate that had divided Americans ever since the German defeat of France left England alone in the fight against the Nazi terror.
Approximately three hours later, Japanese planes began a day-long attack on American facilities in the Philippines. (Because the islands are located across the International Dateline, the local Philippine time was just after 5 AM on December 8.) Farther to the west, the Japanese struck at Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand in a coordinated attempt to use surprise in order inflict as much damage as quickly as possible to strategic targets.
Although stunned by the attack at Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers, submarines and, most importantly, its fuel oil storage facilities emerged unscathed. These assets formed the foundation for the American response that led to victory at the Battle of Midway the following June and ultimately to the total destruction of the Japanese Empire four years later.
Aboard the USS Arizona
The battleships moored along ‘Battleship Row’ are the primary target of the attack’s first wave. Ten minutes after the beginning of the attack a bomb crashes through the Arizona’s two armored decks igniting its magazine….
Below are news reports (audio and photographs) of news reports on the attacks at Pearl Harbor and Fort McKinley, Manila, Philippines that fateful day.
Activated: 8 June 1921 in the Philippine Islands.
World War II
Campaigns: Philippine Islands.
Honors: Distinguished Unit Citations: 1 (all units). MH-3.
Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright (November 1940-December 1941)
Brig. Gen. Mason S. Lough (December 1941-May 1942).
Inactivated: 30 April 1947 in the Philippine Islands.
Units of the Philippine Division were on security missions at Manila, Fort McKinley, and Bataan prior to the declaration of war in the Pacific, 8 December 1941. After undergoing 2 days of bombings, the Division moved into the field to cover the withdrawal of troops to Bataan and to resist the enemy in the Subic Bay area. From 11 to 23 December, positions were organized and strengthened and on 23 December the Division was assigned to the Bataan Defense Forces….
Photograph directly above: December 7-22, 1941 Start of Bombing of the Philippines and Japanese landed in several places in the island.
I am writing this blog for the benefit of my children and grand children and the new generations of Filipinos who have no knowledge or memory of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. It was 13 days before my 7th birthday when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the morning, Sunday , December 7, 1941. That same day in the evening, Japanese planes had taken off to attack several targets in the Philippines. The Japanese had planned six landings: Bataan, Aparri, Vigan, Legaspi, Davao and Jolo Island. For the sake of clarity in this narrative, here are the important dates of that war:…
…When Japan started bombing the Philippines, I was in 2nd grade at the Jaro Elementary School,Iloilo. When my family heard of the bombings, we all panic and decided we moved from the city of Jaro, a most likely bombing target to our farm in Barotac Viejo, least likely target for bombing and Japanese occupation. Barotac Viejo,my mother’s ancestral town is a small town about 60 Km North of Jaro, Iloilo City.
I remember every one in my family was in chaotic mood and within a couple of days we packed all the essentials we could take and the rest of our household goods we left behind at our residence in Arguelles Street. I remember clearly my mother ordered all her china and sterling silver buried at the backyard of our house. We left all the furnitures and household goods that were heavy and cumbersome….
Let us remember this day that changed the lives of Americans forever 70 years ago.
Remember all those who perished that day and the terrible destruction brought about by those who sought to destruct this great nation.
Let us also remember and thank all those who made the ultimate sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families and loved ones so that we could be free. For they are our heroes America.
There are entities who would apologize for the bravery, sacrifice and heroic efforts of the U. S. Military as if these brave souls had committed an act most unforgivable.
Nothing could be further from the truth and our heroes have nothing for which to apologize.
In fact, we as a nation, seventy years later, still owe them the greatest of debt and no attempts at re-writing history can dictate otherwise. We will not allow it.
We honor the men, women, their families and friends on this day, seventy years later.
We thank them ALL and ask God to bless them ALL.
We will NEVER forget.
(1) Lord, Walter, Day of Infamy (1957), Prange, Gordon, At Dawn We Slept (1981), Wallin, VAdm. Homer N. Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal (1968).
How To Cite This Article: “Attack at Pearl Harbor, 1941,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997).
(2) [Nota Bene: These combat chronicles, current as of October 1948, are reproduced from The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 510-592.]
- A Pearl Harbor veteran remembers the horror (miamiherald.com)
- Photos: Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Pearl Harbor: Why remembering matters, 71 years later (troyrecord.com)
- Woman reporter’s account of Pearl Harbor attack finally published 71 years later (rawstory.com)
- Pearl Harbor survivor helps identify unknown dead (news.yahoo.com)