Friday, December 07, 2007

Our First "Date of Infamy" - December 7, 1941

Bumped to the top until December 7th! Please scroll down for newer posts.

Zeros prepare to leave the Japanese Carrier ShokakuFrom The History Place:
Saturday, December 6 - Washington D.C. - U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt makes a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There is no reply. Late this same day, the U.S. code-breaking service begins intercepting a 14-part Japanese message and deciphers the first 13 parts, passing them on to the President and Secretary of State. The Americans believe a Japanese attack is imminent, most likely somewhere in Southeast Asia.

Japanese Sailors cheer Zeros heading for PearlSunday, December 7 - Washington D.C. - The last part of the Japanese message, stating that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are to be broken off, reaches Washington in the morning and is decoded at approximately 9 a.m. About an hour later, another Japanese message is intercepted. It instructs the Japanese embassy to deliver the main message to the Americans at 1 p.m. The Americans realize this time corresponds with early morning time in Pearl Harbor, which is several hours behind. The U.S. War Department then sends out an alert but uses a commercial telegraph because radio contact with Hawaii is temporarily broken. Delays prevent the alert from arriving at headquarters in Oahu until noontime (Hawaii time) four hours after the attack has already begun.

From Naval Historical Center:

Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941 --

Overall Views of the Pearl Harbor Attack

ord Island during early attack. Battleship Row is visible, as is a Jap plane."When the first Japanese attack wave arrived over Pearl Harbor seven of their primary targets, the U.S. battleships, were moored along "Battleship Row", on the eastern side of Ford Island. Another battleship was in drydock in the nearby Navy Yard. Other moorings which the Japanese believed might include battleships, or the equally important aircraft carriers, were at the Navy Yard's 1010 Dock and along Ford Island's western side.

Attack continues as Hickam Field burns in background"The Japanese initially hit airfields, including that on Ford Island. Dive bombers attacked there at about 7:55 AM, destroying many aircraft, among them PBY patrol planes at the island's southern tip. This attack prompted the dispatch of the famous message "Air raid, Pearl Harbor -- this is no drill", the outside World's first indication that war had come to the Pacific.

USS West Virginia"Within a few moments, torpedo planes attacked from east and west, with one of the latter torpedoing the USS Helena at 1010 dock. Others, from the same direction, hit USS Utah and USS Raleigh, off the western side of Ford Island.

USS Shaw"The great majority of the torpedo planes came in from the east, flying up the waterway between Pearl Harbor Navy Yard and the Submarine Base to hit the ships on that side of Ford Island. They put two "fish" into USS California, at the southern end of the row. At the northern end, another struck USS Nevada. The outboard ships in the center of "Battleship Row", USS Oklahoma and West Virginia, each had their port sides torn open by many torpedoes.

USS Arizona"As the torpedo planes were completing their work, horizontal bombers swept up "Battleship Row", dropping armor-piercing bombs. Several ships were hit. One received a death blow, as USS Arizona blew up with a tremendous explosion.

"Planes of the second attack wave revisited some of the ships already hit, and also spread destruction in the Navy Yard, where they bombed the drydocked battleship Pennsylvania and three destroyers. Other dive bombers went after the Nevada, which had left her berth and was trying to get to sea. Very heavy anti-aircraft gunfire greeted these aircraft, whose losses were significantly greater than those of the first attack wave.

"The raiders had no opportunity to hit American aircraft carriers, all of which were at sea, and did not target fuel storage, most cruisers and destroyers, submarines and most maintenance facilities. However, in just under two hours they had wrecked the U.S. Pacific Fleet's battleship force, ensuring that it would not interfere with Japan's plans for conquest."

Speaking to a joint session of Congress, on December 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said this:FDR delivers 'Date of Infamy' speech
Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker , members of the Senate and the House of Representatives : yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong .

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Atoll.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Propoganda poster - 1942But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. 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 that 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 it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

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.

Propoganda posterDo we, the American People still remember the character of the Islamist onslaught against us? The onslaught that reached a crescendo on September 11, 2001? I trust we do, and that Roosevelt’s words are still true:
... we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us."
God Bless America!


Joubert said...

Excellent post, Benning. I've just linked to it.

Dionne said...

I came here via Patrick!! Excellent post, I'm putting this in my files to talk about on my radio show tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I too came via Mr. Conlon's site. "Our First Day of Infamy" is one of the best pieces I've read in a while. And to answer your question, I do remember 9/11. Why more people don't remember it in the same way we remembered Pear Harbor is a mystery to me. Could it possibly be because one of the two major political parties (the Democrats) works to diminish this memory? BTW, I recently read Newt Gingrich's book on Pearl Harbor and wonder if you have read it and what your take on it is. Again, great post.

benning said...

Thank you, both! I was gonna wait to post until the 7th, but figured it would be better to get it up early.

benning said...

CDJ: No, I haven't read Gingrich's book, but he's quite the scholar so I would bet it's a good read.

In 1941, as soon as the sneak attack was known, the Isolationists (probably mostly Republicans) dropped their stance on our dealings with the rest of the world. They knew what was at stake, then. Modern Democrats - at least those in power - seem to have no idea what is at stake any longer. And that's a sad commentary on their ideology.

Jim Fryar said...

Patrick sent me over too.

Excellent post, I remember thinking of Pearl Harbor as I watched 9/11 unfolding. When I heard the news of the first tower being hit I said, "They have made a big mistake, there is a Republican in the White House now."

Brooke said...

Great post!

Sadly, the resolve of the WWII generation seems to be gone, at least in the politicians that lead us.

benning said...

Hi, Jim. Welcome! I remember the relief that so many felt that Algore was NOT in the White House at the time.

Brooke: Yep, the politicians are not in the same class.

Gayle said...

I remember 9/11 as though it were yesterday, Benning, and I believe if I had been old enough to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor I would remember it too. I was only one month and six days old at the time though, so my memory fails me!

This is an incredible post, Benning, and I'm just as impressed with it as I was with your "Myth, Reality, And Learning" post, which I printed out and gave to my hubby to read. He was impressed with it too. He said you had great talent and believe me, that is high praise coming from a perfectionist like Walt! :)

benning said...

Well, thanks, Gayle!

The earliest news thing I remember is the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. I saw it on the television when it happened. I was helping my Dad paint some cabinets - or getting in the way, really, as I was just 8 - and we both stopped to watch Oswald being walked out.

That's something I have never forgotten. Not as important as the Pearl Harbor attack or 9/11, but it's one I watched as it happened. A long, LONG time ago!

camojack said...

When I was a "Huey" crewchief stationed in Hawaii, we flew over the Arizona Memorial more than once. From the air, you can see the ship itself quite clearly.


Goat said...

Sending my traffic here, great post.

benning said...

Glad you liked it, Goat!

shoprat said...

A lot of good stuff, thanks

defiant_infidel said...

I'm late visiting and catching this great piece of work, Benning, but that surely doesn't diminish it! A great, detailed review. And you know I remember 9-11 keenly and feel exactly the same as yourself.