December 7, 1941
At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.
2,403 service members were lost that day, including 1,177 on the USS Arizona alone.
Only one of just three remaining survivors of the attack will attend today's ceremonies at Pearl Harbor.
Edited by - OldBlindGuy on 12/07/2019 05:30:42
I had a cousin that was stationed at Pearl Harbor. I remember the stories my great aunt told when I was young about the waiting to find out that he fortunately survived. We are so used to instant global communications, but we forget that even a little less than 80 years ago communication was slow. Most people didn't even have a telephone.
..... and they awakened a sleeping giant!
I think there are a lot of people in Europe that are glad that USA joined the war. I just wonder how the life would be if not.
But what have we learned? Consider this scenario: Russia invades the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania (much as it did the Crimea) based on the justification that the local governments were threatening the lives and safety of Russian residents within those states. Not just what should we do but what are the stakes?
Well, at least it was a delay........
My dad was sleeping on his destroyer in dry dock one when he was "blown"out of his rack. Telegrams were delivered to families of those at Pearl. Three boxes to check to let them know status of the sailors. Safe, killed in action or missing. So much chaos. My dad's folks got the missing in action box. Dad came back after an extended "Pacific Tour". Lived to be 89 and had six kids. What a time.
Tom Brokaw had it right, calling our parents the greatest generation.
Edited by - flyingsquirrelinlay on 12/07/2019 08:39:20
Kind of a JOLT to see pictures of Hitler and Stalin side-by-side, and remember that they were both ruthless dictators, but one of them was on OUR side, as a valuable ally.
Had Stalin not opened up an Eastern Front, there would have been a HORRIBLY LARGER number of soldiers between the beaches of Normandy and the bunker in Berlin.
And the MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES made a very good warplane.
I sometimes wonder what the result would be, if somebody observed the anniversary of the attack, by driving down the street in a Mitsubishi automobile, with big red spots on each door, and the doors open to represent wings.
My guess: Most folks would fail to see the connection.
Mike, the Zero was a superior warplane because it lacked armor, thus enhancing its speed and maneuverability compared to USA airplanes of the late-1930s. By late-1943, though, the Grumman F6F Hellcat was the standard Navy fighter plane, exceeding the Zero's abilities in the air and being tougher and more air-worthy. The tide, as they say, shifted.
I read somewhere that the Zero was made out of plywood.
True , when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union , the Senator from Missouri , Truman said, “ If the Germans are winning, we should aid Russia, if Russia is winning, we should aid Germany , keep the war going until the two dictators destroy each other”.That was pretty much thinking of many in the US at the time.
Ironically the Japanese never intended the attack on Pearl Harbor to be a “sneak attack”, they intended the attack to occur hours after the Japanese issued an ultimatum which was a de-facto declaration of war. Their embassy in Washington took too long to decode and issue the document. The US actually decoded the ultimatum before the Japanese did. An attack by the Japanese was no surprise to the US War Department but the War Department expected an attack on the Philippines. FDR told his S.O.S, that his biggest worry about an attack would be if the US fired the first shot.The President wanted the war to be blamed on Japanese aggression not FDR failed foreign policy. The War Department sent a message to Manila and Pearl that wanted the Japanese to fire the first shot so there could no confusion over who started the war, Kimmel used this message to defend himself saying that the US ordered him to take a passive role and essentially take the first blow which he did at Pearl Harbor. The US under estimated the Japanese ,they never thought they could mount an attack like that., The Japanese underestimated the US, they thought the attack would end the conflict by destroying the battle line of the Pacific Fleet, the US would sue for peace, fight the more important war in Europe , and recognize the de- facto status quo of an Far East dominated by Japan.
Edited by - Tommy5 on 12/07/2019 11:58:01
Originally posted by steve davis
I read somewhere that the Zero was made out of plywood.
No , the Zero had a skin made of very thin Aluminum. The Zero was a Navy plane so it had to have very long range, because the Japanese didn't have the larger radial engines like the US had, they were limited in horse power so they had to be made as light as possible. When the Zero was first made, putting armor on airplanes and self sealing gasoline tanks were new innovations, the idea was that making the plane light and aerobatic was a better defense then armor, the heavy 20 mm cannons tear up an airplane regardless of how much armor it has, it is still debatable if the Hellcat was superior to the Zero because of better trained pilots,better tactics, or because it was heavier and faster, probably a combination of factors.
Tommy I'm no fan of conspiracy theories, but I'm also no professional historian, so I may defer to your theory. However, there is no disputing the **** in sending the messages/codes to the DC consulate and their fumble of decoding them and delivering them to the US State Department, thereby making the Pearl Harbor attack one of war without a warning, not very different from the attack of Germany on Poland in 1939. The attack required advanced planning but I doubt there was subterfuge intended. As Marc Anthony (?) said, "The fault, dear Brutus lies not in the stars but in ourselves."
Edited by - Texasbanjo on 12/07/2019 15:20:41
In no fan of conspiracy theories either, in just relating the facts at the time ,my story is pretty much the one accepted by a consensus of historians. The truth is always much more nuanced then many folks believe. One reason the War Department insisted that the Japanese be seen as the aggressors is because the treaty the Japanese had with Germany only said that the Germans need enter the war against the US if Japan was attacked. Technically Hitler wasn’t obliged to declare on US since the Japanese attacked the US , needless to say Hitlers decision to declare war was a huge plunder. Ironically the first shot of the encounter was the US destroyer Ward firing on a Japanese midget sub. Of all of the countries Hitler attacked, the US was only one Hitler bothered to declare war on , MacArthur had plenty of warning about the war with Japan ,but didn’t prevent the Japanese from destroying the Army Air Corps at Clark Field and dooming the Philippines.
When we pulled in to Pearl Harbor, we would main the rails and render honors as we sailed past the Arizona Memorial.
The Memorial is truly hallowed ground.
Oil still seeps to the surface, and knowing there are more than 900 sailors still down there is an emotional experience.
Yes,I always wanted to visit there.
My father got to pearl harbor about a week after the attack, then spent time in the Pacific on a destroyer.
They were the greatest generation
Here's a good explanation of why the US was caught sleeping. It had nothing to do with the code-breaking, which had been done, or the failure to promptly deliver the intelligence gained. It was primarily due to a lack of imagination...
Actually it was a good thing the fleet was caught sleeping. Had the fleet been warned and headed out to sea the disaster would have been much worse. The fleet was without naval air cover as the carriers weren’t there it . The slow Battleships would be annihilated like the British Battleship Prince of Wales, Nimitz said it was good that the ships were sunk in shallow water and most would be repaired , many of the crew were on shore leave or escaped to land instead of drowning in the deep ocean. Nimitz said as many as 10 k sailors would have drowned had the fleet been underway . Of course the fleet that defeated Japan wasn't at Pearl Harbor, it was yet to be built in American ship yards. Congress approved a two ocean navy and Japan knew if would be hopelessly out gunned in the near future l
Edited by - Tommy5 on 12/07/2019 20:08:19
Caught napping in more ways than one. Underestimation of Japan's military capabilities was rampant not only in the U.S., but among the Allied powers. Thus the crushing defeats in Burma, Malaya, Singapore, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and the Japanese carrier raids throughout the Indian Ocean. The arrogance of the Western powers to regard Japan as a third-rate military power led to untold numbers of fatalities. And the stationing of the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor was a provocation the Japanese couldn't ignore.
One would have thought that the nation that humbled the Russians in 1905 would be taken more seriously.
Ironically, the mastermind behind the Japanese strategy, Isoroku Yamamoto, was not convinced of the overall effectiveness of what was to come. He told his superiors that he could "run wild" for six months to a year, but he knew the manufacturing capability of the United States would eventually come into play and Japan could not counter it. He was right.
Also ironically, it took the Americans and allies some time to learn to cope with the Japanese air superiority. It wasn't until an intact Zero was found in the Aleutians that they could examine it, fly it, and use the information to develop the Hellcat fighter. Yet they had been provided information much earlier by the AVG in China. That information had been filed away - much like the warning to Pearl Harbor was sent by commercial telegram and wasn't delivered until after the attack.
Much of the American airpower that defeated the Japanese was already under development and production - B-25,B-26, B-17, P-38. And the ruggedness of American aircraft - the ability to take punishment and keep flying - saved a lot of lives, while the unprotected Japanese planes burned.
Edited by - Paul R on 12/07/2019 23:11:47
Yes, the result of the 1905 war played a big part in the Japanese thinking. The Japanese Fleet badly defeated the Russian one and bang the war was over. The Japanese thinking was that they could do the same thing against the US. When the US didn’t give up after Pearl Harbor the Japanese planned the battle of Midway to lure the US carriers out and have the decisive battle that would end the war. The battle was decisive, but the Japanese lost. Before the war, some Japanese argued that they should invade Hawaii instead of the Philippines and could then hold it hostage and exchange it for US neutrality the Sino- Japanese War which is all they wanted anyway. The plan was rejected as too risky. The admiral that rejected the plan said after the war that it was the biggest mistake of the war, as taking Hawaii while risky would be their only chance to win the war.
Tragically the west continually under estimated the Japanese , part of this was frank ly a form of racism, the west thought that Asians could never fight a modern war . When FDR described Pearl Harbor as a day of infamy , dastardly attack , it flamed the war into a race war of annihilation, it inferred that the Japanese cheated, stab us in the back, it led to the interment camps and the ridiculous demand of unconditional surrender which made the war last at least a year longer then it had to. The Japanese never did understand why the the US objected to the Japanese taking the resources of China but never objected to the white Europeans subjugating most of Southeast Asia and taking the resources for themselves . From the Japanese point of view , Japan just wanted to be Great Britain, an island nation with a powerful navy and an empire gave them the natural resources -oil- that their war machine needed, so they wouldn’t end just another Asian European colony.
Edited by - Tommy5 on 12/07/2019 23:44:55
Earlier this year, I was at the grocery store, and I saw an old navy man in a motorized wheel chair. I approached him and saw that he was wearing a USS North Carolina cap. While the North Carolina wasn’t involved in the attack at Pearl Harbor, it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine shortly afterwards...in which he was injured during.
I introduced myself to this gentleman and we chit chatted about the navy and life. My friend and I ended up helping him with his groceries and visiting with him at his house. I brought my banjo on the train a few trips after that and made a trip over to his place, played him some music and gave him the chance to reminisce. His 70 year old son told me that it was special for me to be there because his dad didn’t have a lot of friends anymore...they were all dead...and that me and my engineer being over at the house were a chance for him to relate to people and feel like he had friends again.
Sadly enough, he died this August at 95 years of age...only 3 months after I met him. But I feel happy at least that we have him the change to feel special again...and to remind him that his sacrifices long ago were not forgotten. We thanked him and were very appreciative of his answering the call to duty. His name was Louie...and I’ve included a photo of us at his house.
I remember 20 years ago when I was in high school...these guys were ALL OVER the place, 75 year old WWII vets...and we took it for granted. Now there’s only a handful left.....shame I didn’t do more for them.
We were visiting my father-in-law yesterday. He’s in his 90’s and was reminiscing where he was when he learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor which he remembers in exquisite detail. He enlisted in the Navy and served on an aircraft carrier for remainder of the war and into the Korean conflict.
There are so many factors that led to the start and end of our war with Japan, but ultimately, and they had to know this, there was NEVER a chance under any circumstance that they would have defeated us. Zero chance. Maybe they thought we were weak because we were still in a depression that started about ten years earlier, but Yamamoto and others who may have studied here in the states had to know out industrial capabilities, even when fighting the war on two fronts.
If there was a racial side to the war, I feel pretty sure that the Japanese felt like they were far superior in intellect, and just about everything else, to Americans.
'Gourd?' 9 hrs
'Early Nitty gritty B,G.' 11 hrs