Reflections of Pearl Harbor: An Oral History of December 7, 1941

Reflections of Pearl Harbor: An Oral History of December 7, 1941

Reflections of Pearl Harbor: An Oral History of December 7, 1941

Reflections of Pearl Harbor: An Oral History of December 7, 1941


"Upon hearing that the Empire of Japan had launched a surprise attack on American bases in Hawaii, the people of the United States knew instantly that the nation was at war. So devastating was the news to a country still largely in the throes of a depression that survivors can still recall some six decades later where they were, who gave them the news, the clothes they were wearing, and the confusion and eventual hardships that such a development brought. This collection of memories, told in participants' own words, gathers accounts from both military and civilians, children and adults, people of many ethnic backgrounds, from all over the United States. Together, these ordinary Americans paint a portrait of a nation stunned, but determined to rise again." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


President Franklin D. Roosevelt's message to Congress on December 8, 1941, went as follows:

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. The United States was at peace with that nation, and at the so
licitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor
looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after
Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambas
sador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a
formal reply to a recent American message. While his reply stated that it seemed
useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or
hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious
that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During
the intervening time, the Japanese government had deliberately sought to deceive
the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to
American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In
addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between
San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the . . .

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