Filed under: Freedom, History, National Security, The United States | Tags: Martin Glbert, Pearl Harbot, The Second World War
At five minutes before eight o’clock on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941, Hawaii time, 366 Japanese bombers and fighters struck at the American warships lying at their moorings at Pearl Harbor. Four of the American battleships were blown up, or sank where they lay at anchor. Four further battleships were damaged and eleven other warships sunk or disabled.
…..As well as striking at the American warships, the Japanese attackers struck at Pearl Harbor’s airfields; 188 American aircraft were destroyed on the ground, 2,330 Americans were dead or dying, 1,177 of them killed on the battleship Arizona. When Roosevelt informed Churchill, in secret, of the full extent of the casualties, explaining that these were considerably more than that given to the Press, Churchill’s comment was ‘What a holocaust!’
…..The Japanese had lost twenty-nine aircraft and five midget submarines in th attack; sixty-four of their men were dead, and one, Ensign Kazua Sakamaki, whose midget submarine had run aground on the island, was taken prisoner; the first Japanese prisoner of the Second World War. As the scale of the American losses became known, the shock in the United Sates was considerable; of the nine American battleships capable of offensive or defensive action in the Pacific earlier that morning, only two remained able to enter combat. Japan’s ten battleships were masters of the Pacific.
….There had been many acts of heroism, however, among the surprised American defenders, at Kaneohe naval base, Chief Aviation Ordananceman John Finn had been lying in bed when the Japanese attack began. Hurrying to the airbase he managed to set up a machine gun near one of the hangars and, under heavy Japanese fire, began to fire back. ‘Although painfully wounded many times’, his Medal of Honor citation records,’he continued to man his gun and to return the enemy’s fire vigorously, and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks, and with complete disregard for his own personal safety.’
…..The attack on Pearl Harbor coincided with the planned attacks on three other American Pacific islands, Guam, Wake and Midway, each of which was bombed or shelled that day, and its airfields damaged. That same morning, across the South China Sea, the Japanese Second Fleet escorted a convoy of troop transports bringing 24,00-0 troops from Indo-China to the Malayan Peninsula. At the same time, at Singapore, Japanese air attacks led to the death of sixty-one civilians, while at Hong Kong, Japanese war planes destroyed all but one of the eight British aircraft lined up on the tarmac of Kai-Tak airport.
…..It was towards midnight on December 7, Central European time, that Hitler, at his headquarters at Rastenburg, in East Prussia, learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. ‘Now it is impossible for us to lose the war, he told Walther Hewel, and he went on to explain: ‘We now have an ally who has never been vanquished in three thousand years.’
ADDENDUM: Here is my post from last year, with a video from December 7, and one Arizona survivor’s story.