Japan attacks Pearl Harbor

While Japanese diplomats in Washington, DC, negotiated with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Japanese planes bombed the naval base at Pearl Harbor. American outrage at the surprise attack overcame isolationist sentiment and the United States declared war on Japan the following day.


[Introductory music] December 7th, 1941, a day of infamy. Even as Japanese diplomats were conferring with Secretary of State Hull on peace measures, Nipponese planes were swooping down on Pearl Harbor. This pictorial record includes both US films and pictures made by the enemy as they drop their load of death on the naval base, on Wheeler Field, on civilian homes and schools. A hundred Japanese planes and a number of midget submarines took part in the attack. In an hour and five minutes, the battleship "Arizona" was completely destroyed and four others severely damaged. Three other battleships and three cruisers suffered lesser damage. Nearly two hundred planes were destroyed. In that Sunday morning inferno, the Pacific Fleet appeared to be completely immobilized by the sneak attack. Nearly three thousand casualties added to the catastrophe [sound of bombs exploding]. Within hours, the United States declared war.


  • National Archives - Film

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