Just before 8am on December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Honolulu, was attacked by Japanese fighter planes. Although the relations between the U.S. and Japan had been escalating for years, the attack was a complete surprise.
Japan had been facing economic and demographic problems and was trying to expand into China and take over China’s import markets. In an effort to repair their economy, Japan declared war on China. Over a period of six weeks in 1937, the Japanese murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians, and sexually assaulted thousands of women in the city of Nanking. It was so horrific, it is referred to as the Nanking Massacre. In an effort to help China and force Japan to stand down, the U.S. responded with economic embargoes and sanctions on their country.
Japan responded to the embargoes not by backing down, but by attacking the U.S. During Pearl Harbor, more than 2,400 Americans (including civilians) died, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt declared war on Japan.
“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Pearl Harbor resulted in the United States entering World War II.
May we never forget those who lost their lives and fought bravely during this horrific attack.