2. Pearl Harbor
Rebecca Damren, Japanese American Internment, Photo 2
Photo: “We Did It For Love” www.wediditforlove.com/pearl/pearlharbor4.jpg
“A fountain of flame and black smoke shot skyward and the ship appeared to leap from the water. Its foremast pitched forward, and its deck opened like a flower,” an eyewitness recalls as he remembers seeing the USS Arizona being destroyed by Japanese bombers. The events of that morning on December 7, 1941 will always stick out in the minds of those who experienced it. The American public was shocked by the news that Japan, with whom FDR had been negotiating at the time, had deliberately planned and executed this attack on American soil. During Pearl Harbor, 8 out of the 9 total Pacific battleships were lost, but while Pearl Harbor was an attack on military grounds, it was more of a political disaster than a military one. The battleships and other military crafts destroyed were not modern technology and proved not to be vital to World War II. However, this attack on Hawaii’s military base spawned a War in the Pacific that stretched for years and eventually spelled the end of Japanese Imperialism. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s voice rang clear the next day: “I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.” In the picture above, an American flag still waves on Ford Island while the USS California burns in the background, adding a surreal air to the day’s events.
Mueller, John. “Pearl Harbor: Military Inconvenience, Political Disaster,” International Security. 16 (Winter 1991/92): 172-203.
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. “Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation,” speech, December 8, 1941.