By Madison Trent
On the morning of December 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched an attack on the United States naval base of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii territory. The attack by Japan was intended as preventive action to keep the U.S. Navy Fleet from interfering with their military actions against Southeast Asia. The attack began at 7:48 am Hawaiian time, but over the next seven hours coordinated attacks would take place against the U.S. held territories of Guam, the Philippines, and Wake Island.
The navy base was the first to be hit by 353 Japanese fighter planes in two waves from six aircraft carriers. Many of the battleships in the harbor had been arranged close together and open for inspection, making them vulnerable for attack. All eight navy ships were damaged and four were sunk, including the USS Arizona, which was never recovered, the USS Oklahoma and the USS Utah. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed and 2,403 American lives were taken with 1,178 injured. While Japanese losses only included 23 planes, five small submarines and 64 men killed.
The attack shocked many Americans and became “a date which will live in infamy” as described by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The next day, December 8, United States Congress responded by declaring war on Japan, leading to the entry of the United States in WWII.