Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor and other U.S. military installations on the island of Oahu, territory of Hawaii, Sunday, December 7, 1941, plunged the United States into World War II. The Pearl Harbor anchorage of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet was attacked by two waves of Japanese planes flying from aircraft carriers more than 200 miles north of Hawaii. Eight battleships of the Pacific Fleet, as well as numerous other ships, were sunk or damaged, and 2,403 American lives were lost. Pearl Harbor has become an enduring symbol of American resolve in the wake of the surprise air raid. President Franklin Roosevelt called the date of the Pearl Harbor attack one that would “live in infamy.”

U.S. Navy Helldiver aircraft attack the Japanese battleship Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Painting by Sam L. Massette.

Pearl Harbor

Battle of Sibuyan Sea

By John Wukovits

In warfare, desperate times call for desperate measures, and in the fall of 1944 the empire of Japan found itself in precisely that predicament. Read more

A pall of black smoke hangs over the shore installations at Rabaul as a B-25 medium bomber streaks above a Japanese merchant ship riding at anchor.

Pearl Harbor

The Bombing of Rabaul in November 1943

By Sam McGowan

In some historical circles, a mistaken impression has developed that the U.S. Navy’s Task Force 38 launched the aerial offensive on the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul, New Britain, that ultimately rendered the base useless. Read more

In this painting by Jack Fellows, P-39s flown by Major George Greene, Jr., (foreground) and “Buzz” Wagner take on Japanese Zeros over the Salamaua Peninsula.

Pearl Harbor

WWII Planes: The Bell P-39 Airacobra “Peashooter”

by Sam McGowan

If there is an American combat airplane that has achieved an ill-deserved reputation, no doubt it would be the much-maligned Bell P-39 Airacobra, a tricycle landing gear single-engine fighter whose reputation was greatly overshadowed by the more famous, and of more recent design, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and North American P-51 Mustang. Read more

Pearl Harbor

Franklin Roosevelt’s Pre-Pearl Harbor Intervention Plans

By Donald J. Young

This is a story of what might have been. If Japan had chosen to attack far-off British Malaya on December 7, 1941, instead of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, President Franklin Roosevelt was prepared to go before Congress and ask—for the first time in American history—for a declaration of war against a nation that had not fired the first shot against us. Read more

Pearl Harbor

Saipan: A Crucial Foothold in the Marianas

By John Wukovits

On June 10, 1944, as his troop transport churned through the Pacific toward the Japanese-held island of Saipan, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Stan Bowen wrote a letter to his sweetheart, Marge McCann. Read more

Manning a twin Bofors antiaircraft gun on the deck of the Queen Mary, a crew is put through its paces by an officer during gunnery training at sea.

Pearl Harbor

RMS Queen Mary’s War Service: Voyages to Victory

By Eric Niderost

The late summer of 1939 saw Great Britain teetering on the brink of war with Hitler’s Germany. The years of appeasement and vacillation, of meekly acquiescing to Hitler’s insatiable territorial demands, were over at last. Read more

Pearl Harbor

Any Bonds Today?

By Herb Kugel

One of the most unusual baseball games ever played was a three- way game in New York City between the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Read more

Pearl Harbor attack

Pearl Harbor

Recording the Pearl Harbor Attack

Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California was established by the U.S. Army in 1914 as a Coast Artillery installation to defend the harbors of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Read more

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Attack Cover-up

By Susan Zimmerman

BACKSTORY: Although for the past 75 years history has had little to say about “Bally’s Project,” an effort to falsify State Department records to remove evidence of gross miscalculations prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor—the author recently discovered a small file of documents in the Frank A. Read more