Today, December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor [VIDEOS]

From 1894-1895, the first Sino-Japanese War took place, resulting Japan gaining control of Formosa and the Pescadores (Islands formerly belonging to Taiwan).

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From 1904-1905, Japan engaged the Russo-Japanese War which gained them Port Arthur, Manchuria where at the time the Russian fleet was harbored and Korea.

From 1914-1918, Japan fought in World War I. They won a former German colony on the Chinese coast, some islands in the northern Pacific Ocean and forced China to make 21 points of concession.

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On January 7, 1932, the US officially protested the Japanese aggression against Manchuria.

On January 29, 1932, Japan launches an attack and bombs Shanghai.

On February 18, 1932, Japan announces that they own Manchuria and changes the name to Manchukuo.

In February 1933, Japan moves into the Jehol Province of China and annexes it as part of Manchukuo. The League of Nations tells Japan to leave Manchuria.

By 1935, sections of northeast China are occupied by Japan.

In 1936, Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek claims Japan at war with China.

On June 7, 1937, Second Sino-Japanese War breaks out with attack on Marco Polo Bridge in Peking.

On July 28, 1937, Japan occupies Peking.

December 13, 1937, the world is shocked over the murder of 200,000 in what’s referred to as the ‘Rape of Nanking.’

By end of May 1938, Japan forms link between their northern and eastern conquests in China.

On July 11, 1938, Russia and Japan involved in clash.

By Fall of 1938, Japanese forces advance into east-central China via the Yangtze River.

In 1939, Japanese forces advance into Nomonhaniu (also known as Nomonhan, a village in Mongolia near the Russian border), but are defeated by Russian troops.

On June 24, 1940, Japan pressures the French Vichy government to turn over French Indo-China. Japan began massive effort to build up invasion force for conquest of Southeast Asia. The US responds by severing trade, including oil, with Japan.

In January 1941, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto begins his plans for an attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

On January 27, 1941, US Ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew, sends wire to Washington DC informing them that he has learned of Japan’s plans to attack Pearl Harbor. His wire is dismissed since many US military leaders and experts believe Japan’s next target will be Manilla in the Philippines.

In February 1941, US Admiral Husband E. Kimmel takes over command of the US Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii. Kimmel and General Walter C. Short, Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department ask Washington for more troops and equipment to help defend the Hawaiian military installations.

In October, 1941, General Hideki Tojo becomes Japan’s new Prime Minister. Japanese Army and Navy leaders tell nation to prepare for war with the United States.

In November 1941, United States demands that Japan leave China and Indochina. Tojo responds by saying only alternative is war with the US. Meanwhile, Japan sends diplomats to Washington DC in an effort to avoid war with the US. Meanwhile, a large Japanese fleet with six aircraft carriers leave northern Japan and sail towards Pearl Harbor.

In April 1941, Program Magic is being used in Washington DC to decode Japanese diplomatic dispatches, but not all information is forwarded on to Kimmel and Short.

In May 1941, Japanese Admiral Nomura Kichisaburō, who was serving as Ambassador to the US informed officials in Japan that the US was decoding and reading his messages. Japanese leaders believed their code was still unbreakable and dismissed the report and made no changes to their code. In July 1941, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto finalizes plans for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese forces continue intense training in preparation of the attack.

On September 24, 1941, US decoders intercept and decode message to Japan’s Consul General, asking for a grid with exact locations of US ships at Pearl Harbor. Neither Kimmel or Short were informed of the dispatch and were unaware of the request for ship locations.

In November 1941, Japan asks US to agree to Japan’s expansion in Asia. If US would not agree, then Japan was prepared to go to war against the US. They send an experienced diplomat to assist Adm. Nomura.

On November 16, 1941, Japanese submarines assigned to participate in the attack on Pearl Harbor leave Japan.

On November 26, 1941, the Japanese naval attack fleet, including six aircraft carriers leave Japan, headed for Pearl Harbor.

On November 27, 1941, Adm. Kimmel and Gen. Short receive a vague ‘war warning’ message from Washington DC. The message has no details, only a warning that there may be a possible attack somewhere in the Pacific against an American target, but did not indicate when or exactly where the attack would be.

On December 6, 1941, US decoders in Washington intercept and decode a Japanese message that speaks of a deadline of some sort for the following morning.

On this day, December 7, 1941, at 9:00am Washington DC time, the decoded Japanese message is delivered to the US military High Command. This is 4:00am Hawaii time.

At 7:55am on Hawaii time, Japanese planes begin their attack on the Naval ships at Pearl Harbor as well as the air fields at Hickam, Wheeler and Ford Islands, along with Kaneohe and Ewa Field. The Japanese attack lasts 2 hours and 20 minutes.

The Japanese diplomats in Washington DC were delayed in delivering their ultimatum. By the time the ultimatum had been delivered, the attack on Pearl Harbor had already begun.

Newly installed radar stations in Hawaii detected the incoming flights of Japanese planes, the reports were dismissed as US training flights and a flight of bombers headed for Hawaii. Realizing that they had taken the Americans by surprise, the Japanese code for the attack, ‘Tora, Tora, Tora’ rang out over the pilot’s headphones.

One of the main targets was Battleship Row where 8 US battleships were anchored in close proximity to each other in Pearl Harbor at Ford Island. The 8 battleships were the USS Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia. The USS Vestal, a repair ship was moored alongside the Arizona.

During the attack, the USS Arizona was hit by an armor piercing bomb, causing a massive explosion on board the ship, followed by massive fires. The Arizona was sunk and never recovered. 1,177 men died on board the Arizona.

The USS California was struck by 7 torpedoes and 2 bombs, killing 100. The ship was eventually salvaged and returned to active service in January 1944.

The USS Maryland sustained minor damage from 2 bombs which killed 4. The ship was repaired and returned to active service in February 1942.

The USS Nevada was hit by 1 torpedo and 6 bombs, killing 60. The battleship tried to get underway but ended up running aground. The ship was repaired and returned to active service in October 1942.

The USS Oklahoma was hit by 5 torpedoes and took on a lot of water, causing the ship to capsize. 429 men died when the ship was sunk. It was eventually refloated in November 1943, but capsized and sunk as it was being towed for repairs on the main island of Hawaii.

The USS Pennsylvania, the flagship of the US Pacific Fleet was in drydock, but was still hit by 1 bomb and debris from the USS Cassin, killing 9.

The USS Tennessee was hit by 2 bombs, killing 5. It was repaired and returned to active service in February 1942.

The USS West Virginia was hit by 7 torpedoes and 2 bombs, killing 106 and sinking. The ship was eventually refloated, repaired and returned to active service in July 1944.

The USS Utah, was moored on the opposite side of Ford Island than the other battleships. It was stuck by struck by 2 torpedoes and sunk, killing 64.

There were 4 destroyers damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor. They were:

The USS Cassin was in drydock when struck by several bombs. It was repaired and returned to active service in February 1944.

The USS Downes was in drydock but was heavily damaged by bombs. It was repaired and returned to active service in November 1943.

The USS Helm was damaged but managed to continue on patrol during the attack. It was later repaired and returned to active service in January 1942.

The USS Shaw was heavily damaged while in floating drydock. It was repaired and returned to active service in August 1942.

There were 3 US cruisers damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor. They were:

The USS Helena was heavily damaged, repaired and returned to active service in June 1942.

The USS Honolulu sustained lesser damage. It was repaired and returned to active service in January 1942.

The USS Raleigh was heavily damaged, repaired and returned to active service in July 1942.

The USS Oglala was the only minesweeper damaged in the attack. It was initially sunk, refloated and repaired. It was returned to active service in February 1944.

There were 4 other auxiliary ships also damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor and all were eventually repaired and returned to active service before the end of the war.

The US Navy sustained damage to 31 aircraft and the destruction of 92 aircraft.

The US Army sustained damage to 128 aircraft and the destruction of 77 aircraft.

Total US casualties in the December 7, 1941 attack was 2,403 killed (1,177 on board Arizona) and 1,178 wounded.

On December 8, 1941, upon receiving word of the attack on Pearl Harbor the day before, Roosevelt delivered his famous ‘A date that will live in infamy’ speech in which he asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan.

History of USS Arizona, BB-39, From construction to memorial

Full hour and half documentary of the attack on Pearl Harbor


Sources for the above includes: World War II Timeline; Timeline of Events 1941-1945; World War II in the Pacific; War Events Timeline; A Pearl Harbor Timeline; Timeline of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7th, 1941); Pearl Harbor Bombed; Pearl Harbor; Pearl Harbor Attack; The Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941; World War II: Pearl Harbor; Pearl Harbor Fact – Full Documentary; BB-39 USS Arizona; Ships and Aircraft Sunk or Survived in the Attack on Pearl Harbor; President Franklin D. Roosevelt – Declaration of War Address – “A Day Which Will Live in Infamy”

Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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