Today in History: Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor
On the morning of December 7, 1941, 177 aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. This devastating attack was followed an hour later by a second wave of 163 Japanese aircraft. Within two hours 21 US warships had been sunk or damaged and 188 aircraft destroyed. Although the American servicemen were caught by surprise, many were able to fight back.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States had been supporting Allied forces with weapons and supplies, under the Lend-Lease Agreement, but many in the country were reluctant to enter the war. The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech to the United States Congress urging for a formal declaration of war against Japan. War was declared an hour later, bringing the United States into the Second World War and unifying the country behind the war effort.
2,403 Americans died in the attack on that fateful day, 68 of which were civilians. This morning, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the World War II Memorial in Washington to pay their respects on the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.