Today is a very important day in our country’s history. On this day in 1988, the rock group “The Vapors”, while singing “I’m turning Japanese” brutally attacked “Pearl Jam”.
But at least that’s the way that I heard it. No, seriously it began a tragic series of events that cost Japan and the United States thousands of lives. Without provocation, Japanese war planes began their attack on December 7, 1941.
According to Wikipedia,The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack by the Japanese Navy against the United States naval base in Hawaii. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II.
The attack was supposed to be a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions Japan planned in Southeast Asia against the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.
There were also Japanese attacks on the U.S. held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The attacks from troop landings at Kota Bharu, Malaya, to the air attacks ranging geographically from Hong Kong to Pearl Harbor – took place over many hours.
The base was attacked by approximately 353 Japanese fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk.
All but Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer.
188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; an incredible 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.
The attack came as a shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following days were not the best for Japan. The United States declared war on Japan.
Domestic support for non interventionism, which had been fading since the German attack on France in 1940, completely vanished. Clandestine support of the United Kingdom was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. soon after.
There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan. However, the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”.
Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was judged by the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime and action was swift and devastating.
My hope is that ISIS is not dragging us into World War III, but it’s hard to imagine otherwise. They seem to want that. Ugly. Very ugly. I hope there are no attacks today.
See you tomorrow.
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