The Attack on Pearl Harbor


This year marks the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Called "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy" by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 7, 1941, saw the Japanese launch a surprise and brutal attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. The attack was tactically planned to destroy important components of the Pacific Fleet and prevent U.S. forces from interfering with Japanese actions in the Pacific. The targets: Army and Navy assets to include, Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Field, Hickam Field, and the battleships in Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 Americans were killed, another 1,300 wounded, and numerous ships and aircraft were damaged or destroyed. Unprovoked and unexpected, the attack propelled the United States into World War II and would become a defining moment in American history.


Pearl Harbor Air Raid Notification

This handwritten note was handed to General George C. Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff, by his aid notifying him of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Brigadier General, (later General) John. R. Deane, Secretary of the Army, General Staff, wrote the distribution record on the top of the note.

The note reads: "Commander Fernal - President Notified, Secty Knox, Admi Stark. To all Ships Hawaiian Area / An Air Raid on P.H. This is no drill. Urgent."

Marshall Note

The USS Arizona Burns in Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

At 8:10 am on December 7, 1941, Japanese forces struck the USS Arizona with a 1,760-pound projectile igniting the ship's fuels and munitions. The explosion was so violent that it reportedly lifted the battleship out of the water. As the USS Arizona sank, the bombing continued. 1,177 of the crewmembers were killed in the attack. The USS Arizona remains the final resting place for 1,102 Sailors and Marines that perished that day.


7 December 1941 Journal of Headquarters, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii

On December 7, 1941, the 25th Infantry Division (ID) at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii, recorded the messages and reports received by the unit during and immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This 17-page journal (also known as a phone log, incident log, or diary) also includes Orders issued by 25th ID Headquarters and actions taken by subordinate units. The reader gets a sense of how the attack unfolded and the way information and misinformation traveled that day.

Click here to read the log.

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