“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.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
On December 8th, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave The Infamy Speech. This speech was given in response to the atrocious, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred the previous day and announced that the United States would enter WWII.
Below we’re going to discuss some specifics of Pearl Harbor and how this dismal day is still remembered.
Background of Pearl Harbor
What is now Pearl Harbor was once called “Wai Momi” which means “pearl waters” due to the pearl oysters that were once found in the area.
Pearl Harbor is located in the center of the Pacific Ocean on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. This is about 2,000 miles off the coast of California and about 4,000 miles off the coast of Japan. This prime location is why the United States decided to build the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in 1908.
Throughout the 1930s, tension had been building between the Empire of Japan and the United States. The Japanese had a strong desire for power and wanted to expand into surrounding countries. In response to this, the United States implemented economic sanctions that kept the Empire of Japan from receiving the necessary goods to continue its mission of global expansion.
The Japanese started to desire war against the United States, seeing it as the only way to continue their quest for power. They planned a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor with the goal of destroying the United States’ Pacific Fleet.
On December 7th, 1941, around 8:00 am, Japanese planes flew over Pearl Harbor and began dropping bombs over the U.S. Naval vessels. The attack on Pearl Harbor hit all eight of the United States battleships, completely destroying the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma.
The majority of servicemen that we’re on these battleships were junior servicemen, around the ages of 17 – 18. The total number of servicemen that died was 2,341 and the average age was just 23. This means well over 2,000 mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends across America received the news that their loved one, sometimes loved ones, were killed in the line of duty.
Legacy of Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in the United States entering WWII and changed history forever. The war ended when the United States launched two nuclear bombs in an attack on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
December 7th has been deemed National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, in honor of the brave servicemen that lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. We will never forget the “date which will live in infamy.”