17
War Becomes a Reality

On the afternoon of December 7, North Dakota Senator Gerald P. Nye, one of the most vocal members of America First, was scheduled to speak in the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh. The hall was filled to its capacity of 2,500.

Robert Nagy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette went to cover the speech and took along copies of the wire service stories about the attacks at Pearl Harbor and Manila. He was in for an interesting afternoon because Senator Nye loved to attack President Roosevelt's lend-lease program and the steady buildup of America's arsenal; he did not like to hear anything that might change his mind.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 3 P.M., just about the time the second and final wave of Japanese planes was breaking off the attack and leaving Pearl Harbor for their carriers. Nobody in the auditorium knew of the attack. Nagy found Senator Nye in a tiny room backstage with two other speakers, Irene Castle McLaughlin, widow of Vernon Castle, the famous dancer who was killed in World War I, and the Pittsburgh America First chairman, John B. Gordon.

When Nye read the news reports Nagy handed him, his first comment became one of a dozen or so uttered that day which will probably live forever: "It sounds terribly fishy to me."

Nye did not want to believe what he was reading, and probably felt as though part of the reason for his existence was being taken away from him. He turned to Nagy almost pleadingly: "Can't we have some details? Is it sabotage or is it an open attack?" Then he directed his anger where

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The Day the War Began
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction: Saturday, December 6, 1941 1
  • 1 - The First Shot 21
  • 2 - The Americans Fight Back 27
  • 3 - Adventures of the Henley 43
  • 4 - Game Called Due to War 49
  • 5 - View from the Cane Fields 53
  • 6 - Friendly Fire 61
  • 7 - Chinese-American Family 66
  • 8 - Hell on a Sunshiny Day 70
  • 9 - The Military Takes Over Hawaii 77
  • 10 - Niihau Fights Back 82
  • 11 - The Saga of the Pacific Clipper 86
  • 12 - The Forgotten Attack 93
  • 13 - On the Home Front 97
  • 14 - War Comes to the Football Game 105
  • 15 - The Delayed Message 114
  • 16 - The White House Prepares for War 120
  • 17 - War Becomes a Reality 124
  • 18 - Extra! Extra! 132
  • 19 - Strange New Words 135
  • 20 - Sudden Heroes 142
  • 21 - The Mating Dance Continues 149
  • 22 - The Nation Unifies 154
  • 23 - Hawaii's Longest Night 157
  • 24 - Defending the East Coast 162
  • 25 - I Slept Like a Baby 166
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 181
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