Pearl Harbor

The Pearl Harbor bombing by Japanese carrier aircraft and subs came as a surprise to U.S. commanders in Oahu, Hawaii the morning of December 7, 1941.

On the eve of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, most of the U.S. military installations on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, were under close watch for possible Japanese sabotage or subversion, but neither U.S. Admiral Edward Kimmel nor U.S.General Walter C. Short were prepared for an all out attack. The misjudgment would cost over 2000 lives, the destruction of the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet and scores of aircraft.

In an effort to guard Army, Navy and Marine Corps installations on Oahu, vessels and aircraft were placed close together. The eight battleships of the Pacific Fleet plus nearly a dozen other naval vessels lay tightly moored in Pearl Harbor.

Newspaper accounts of tensions between Japan and the U.S. reported that by November 27, all negotiations between the two countries abruptly halted. But the U.S. commanding officers Kimmel and Short determined that Japan’s airpower was not designed for prolonged overseas attacks. Instead, the Navy expected activity from Japanese submarines. Procedures went into effect to protect U.S. planes and vessels from sabotage rather than build up defenses for a Japanese attack.

Click on the audio player’s red arrow below and listen to Senator John Connally on December 5, 1941 warning Japan against attacting America, and radio news broadcasts after the attack on December 7, 1941. 11-12 minutes playing time.

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Photos are compliments of the US Navy website.