Today marks 80 years since the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. As a result of this event, America made the decision to enter World War II.
At around 8 a.m. on this date in 1941, the naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu was devastated by a surprise attack from the Japanese military. Three hundred fifty-three Japanese aircraft struck the base, killing 2,403 Americans and maiming 1,178. These Americans included sailors, soldiers and civilians.
Four of eight U.S. Navy battleships were sunk with the other four being damaged, and a total of 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.
The Japanese military declared war on the United States and the British Empire later that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor was one of many strikes by Japan. Throughout the course of seven hours, Japan attacked the Philippines, Guam, Wake Island, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.
On Dec. 8, 1941, America declared war on Japan, formally entering World War II. Under the Tripartite Pact with Japan, Germany and Italy responded to this by each declaring war on the United States.
Despite this crushing blow, Japan failed to destroy the Pacific fleet, and the American people were overall united in their decision to enter war.
Dubbing the attack, “a date which will live in infamy,” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed Congress with the intent to declare war saying, “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.”