POSTED: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 9:16pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:06am
The date that lives in infamy...
It is the date that lives in infamy.
68 years ago today, at around 10:30 our time, Japanese bombers attacked the US base at Pearl Harbor.
And the lives of millions of people around the globe were changed forever.
In late 1941, Europe had been at war for nearly 3 years, and the Japanese had invaded China, but, despite pleas from Winston Churchill, America had managed to stay neutral.
After December 7th, that was no longer possible.
Imperial naval aircraft attacked the US base in Hawaii without warning early on a Sunday morning. Although relations had been tense, no one knew that war was imminent.
A formal declaration of war arrived too late at the state department, and the Japanese had maintained remarkable secrecy about the attack.
6 Japanese carriers launched two waves of planes, and the destruction was immense.
4 US battleships were sunk, and 4 more were damaged. 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers were also sent to the bottom and 188 aircraft were destroyed.
In all, just over 2400 people were killed and nearly 1300 wounded.
After President Roosevelt declared war the next day, Germany declared war on the United States, and the Second World War was underway.
There have been conspiracy theories aplenty since then, but for most historians the facts are clear.
A well planned and executed surprise attack was devastatingly effective.
The retribution for Pearl Harbor was a long time coming, but the outcome, as Admiral Yamamoto predicted, was inevitable.