10 Major Historical Events from the Attack on Pearl Harbor

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The Attack on Pearl Harbor: On Thursday, 7th December 2017, Americans will mark the 76th anniversary of the raid known as the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. This article will tell you about the important facts surrounding that fateful day and highlights 10 most significant events that happened before and after the Attack on Pearl Harbor that change the course of history.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (Historical Significance):

Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes made a surprise raid on Pearl Harbor, a major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu, Hawaii.

During the raid, which was launched from aircraft carriers, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 aircraft. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and at least 1,000 were wounded.

The events surrounding on Dec. 7, 1941, are a pivotal moment in U.S. history. In short, the attack brought the United States into World War II. Until the raid, the U.S. had hesitated to join the conflict, which had started on Sept. 1, 1939, after Hitler’s Germany invaded Poland.

In those nearly two-and-a-half years, the U.S. had extensively aided the United Kingdom, virtually the sole source of resistance to the Nazis in Europe, but a general mood of isolationism – brought on, by the Great Depression and the memory of huge losses during World War I – led Roosevelt and Congress to be wary of intervention.

But the attack on a Pearl Harbor reversed that in under a day, with Congress, less than an hour after Roosevelt’s speech, issuing a declaration of war.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Historical Timeline):

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News of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

The attack on U.S. military forces of the at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii did not just happen nor was it a quick reaction to initiatives instituted by President Roosevelt.

The Japanese believed that they were being pushed into a corner by Roosevelt and felt that they must act to protect the Empire.

The following describes 10 Significant Events leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the war events that followed (Historical Timeline).

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10. Japanese Task Force leaves for Pearl Harbor (November 26, 1941)

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Japanese First Air Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike force, getting ready to airborne towards Pearl Harbor.

On this day in 1941, Forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy embark on their way to Pearl Harbor. Adm. Chuichi Nagumo leads the Japanese First Air Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike force, toward Pearl Harbor.

Later in the day, in a note to the Japanese ambassador, U.S. secretary of state Cordell Hull demands the complete withdrawal of all Japanese troops from China. Japanese prime minister Hideki Tojo will refer to this as “an ultimatum.”

9. Air Raid on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)

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A small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew members from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Two men can be seen on the superstructure, upper center. The mast of the USS Tennessee is beyond burning West Virginia.

Japan launches a devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and other military installations on Oahu. Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor External, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans.

The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.

A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the Pearl Harbor base.


The official death toll on Dec. 7, 1941, the attack was 2,403, according to the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines and, 218 Army service members.

Added to this were 68 civilians. Of that number, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves as the main memorial to the incident. Fifty-five Japanese also were killed.

8. The United States declares War on Japan (December 8th, 1941)

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President Franklin Roosevelt signing Declaration of War with Japan.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivers his “Date That Shall Live In Infamy” speech to Congress, asking for a declaration of war with Japan. Roosevelt’s 10-minute speech, ending with an oath-“So help us God”—was greeted in the House by thunderous applause and stamping of feet.

Within one hour, the president had his declaration of war, with only one dissenting vote, from a pacifist in the House. FDR signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m., wearing a black armband to symbolize mourning for those lost at Pearl Harbor.

7. American bomber drops Atomic bomb on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945)

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World’s first atomic bomb used in warfare on the industrial city of Hiroshima, Japan.

The United States drops the world’s first atomic bomb used in warfare on the industrial city of Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure.

6. Atomic bombings of Nagasaki (August 9, 1945)

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A photograph of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki shows how it exploded 50m above ground in Nagasaki, Japan.

On this day in 1945, The United States drops a second atomic bomb on the important industrial seaport of Nagasaki, resulting finally in Japan’s unconditional surrender. The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender.

The two bombings killed at least 129,000 people (most of whom were civilians) and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.

5. V-J Day (August 15, 1945)

V-J Celebrations in New York, United States.

V-J Day stands for Victory over Japan Day and it is the day that the Empire of Japan surrendered in World War II which in effect ended the War. Emperor Hirohito surrenders in a radio address to his nation.

On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as “Victory over Japan Day”.

4. Surrender of Japan (September 2, 1945)

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The instrument of surrender of Imperial Japan signed onboard Battleship Missouri (BB-63).

The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close.

The instrument of Surrender signed on Battleship Missouri. Representatives of the Empire of Japan on board USS Missouri (BB-63) during the surrender ceremonies. Standing in front are Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing a top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.

Behind them are three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army, and the Navy.

3. Legacy of Emperor Hirohito (also known as Emperor Shōwa – April 29, 1901 – January 7, 1989)

Historical Photo of Emperor Hirohito, Emperor of Japan.

After Japan’s surrender of the war, Emperor Hirohito was not prosecuted for war crimes as many other leading government figures were, and his degree of involvement in wartime decisions remains controversial among historians.

During the post-war period, he became the symbol of the new state under the post-war constitution and Japan’s recovery, and by the end of his reign, Japan had emerged as the world’s second-largest economy.

On January 7, 1989, the Japan’s Imperial Household Agency, officially announced the death of Emperor Hirohito.

2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial (April 1, 1954) and USS Arizona Memorial (May 30, 1962)

Navy Sailor standing in front of the stone plaque, of The USS Arizona Memorial, at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The USS Arizona Memorial, at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona (BB-39) during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and commemorates the events of that day.

The Navy places the first memorial, a ten-foot-tall basalt stone, and plaque, over the remains of the Arizona. The memorial, built in 1962, is visited by more than two million people annually.

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Hiroshima Peace Memorial (A-dome), Hiroshima, Japan.

Similarly, Hiroshima Peace Memorial now commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome is a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation, with a combined death toll (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) atomic bombing of at least 129,000 people.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

1. Consequences of the attack on Pearl Harbor and U.S. World Dominace (December 7, 2016) – 75 years ago

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Three U.S. battleships are hit from the air during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The results of the attack on Pearl Harbor were many and significant. Prior to the attack, public opinion in the United States had not been unanimous. The attack on Pearl Harbor immediately galvanized a divided nation into action.

On December 8, 1941, the Empire of Japan declared war on the United States and the British Empire. In their war document, they claimed all avenues for averting war had been exhausted by the Government of Japan.

In putting the Pearl Harbor attack into context, it’s historical significance greatly increases as this event eventually resulted in the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.

Moreover, the Allied victory in this war and subsequent U.S. emergence as a dominant world power, eclipsing Britain, have shaped international politics ever since.

Pearl Harbor is generally regarded as an extraordinary event in American history that shape the world’s politics forever.

December 7th, 2016 marks its 75th Anniversary commemoration.

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