“Pearl Harbor is a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, that was the scene of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.”1
“On December 8th, President Roosevelt gave a speech in which he famously called the attack on Pearl Harbor “a date which will live in infamy,” while Congress quickly passed a declaration of war on Japan. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. The War Department completely reorganized itself, as key positions shifted to various trusted officers in order to prepare for the new conflict.
Prior to Pearl Harbor, the United States had sent large amounts of financial aid and military equipment to the Allied cause. The Japanese attack launched the U.S. into a complete struggle against Axis powers and brought American soldiers into the war for the first time. It also united the country, as a Gallup poll conducted during the days after Pearl Harbor showed that 97% of Americans approved of the declaration of war.
Thousands of young men rushed to serve in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. A New York Times article from December 9th reported that the armed forces were “receiving applicants in numbers unprecedented in the history of the nation” and that “many of the men had been in line [at recruiting stations] the whole night.” The Times added the next day that the Army had received 2,684 applications in the two days since declaring war on Japan.”2
These men and women, 16 Million in all, rightly earned the title the greatest generation.3 May we NEVER FORGET their sacrifice.4