Seventy-six years ago, early on a quiet Sunday morning on December 7, 1941, aircraft of the Empire of Japan, without provocation or warning, attacked the United States forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese attack left 2400 Americans dead, and 1347 wounded. Twenty one U.S. vessels, including eight battleships, were sunk or badly damaged, and 188 U.S. planes also destroyed or damaged.
In the dramatic message that President Franklin Roosevelt delivered to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, he told Americans:
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.
President Roosevelt then asked Congress to declare war on Japan, a request that was approved by lawmakers, with only one “nay” vote.
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You can hear news reports about the attack and some of President Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech in the first minute of the following video:
As reported by the SpaceCoast Daily, the Japanese attack actually began before the bombing. Japan launched five midget submarines near Pearl Harbor the night before the attack.
One of those submarines was first seen by the USCG Condor at 3:50 a.m., about two miles from the harbor’s entrance. The Condor notified the USS Ward, which spotted the sub tailing the USS Antares into the harbor, opened fire and sank it. About an hour later, the air attack began.
Americans sank two other Japanese subs during the battle. One was found in the harbor and eventually salvaged. The second was found off the harbor entrance in 1960 and is now on display in Japan. A fourth Japanese sub called the Ha-19 never made it into the harbor and instead drifted around until it was captured near Oahu the next day. It was recovered immediately and is now on exhibit in Fredericksburg, Texas.
The sub that initiated the Pearl Harbor attack wasn’t found until 2002, when crews discovered it in deep water about five miles from the harbor’s entrance. It remains there as part of the Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark. A fifth Japanese sub that was launched that day was never found.
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