“Yesterday, December 7, 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.” –Franklin Roosevelt
Even 76 years after the infamous and dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Americans still pause to reflect on the event at least once a year; on the lives lost, and the subsequent events that would plunge our nation into war for the next four years.
The Japanese, after sending false messages expressing a desire for peace, planned and flawlessly executed a bold attack on the United States that day, and all but inflicted a crippling blow to American naval power.
The results of the attack were truly devastating. Americans were horrified at the unprovoked nature of the attack and the damage inflicted upon the naval forces stationed at Pearl Harbor.
Despite the shocking and tragic nature of the attack, the American people were able to rally themselves and prepare for a war that would dominate the nation and the world for several years. With American resolve, and coordination with America's allies, the Nazis and the Japanese Empire were brought down.
The Japanese may have only realized after the attack what they had really done. As Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto stated, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Yamamoto could not have been more correct. Though Americans were strongly opposed to any more involvement in foreign wars, especially wars in Europe after the Great War just 20 years prior, the sudden provocation awoke them from their resistance, and created a new attitude toward joining the military conflict.
After all, when your own people are attacked, one cannot simply take it without striking back in defense. And sit back they did not.
“The Greatest Generation,” as they have been dubbed, had to give up a great deal to win that war. Yet in the face of adversity, this generation triumphed and created the environment for the U.S. to become the preeminent global leader for freedom.
Do you know anyone who fought in World War II? What do they have to say about what happened right after the attack? Let us know below!