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.”

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

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

Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey earned a legendary reputation for daring and boldness as commander of the U.S. Third Fleet.

Pearl Harbor

Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey

By Glenn Barnett

Just before dawn, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise turned into the wind to launch her planes. Nervous and excited pilots roared into the darkness of the vast Pacific toward the unsuspecting Japanese. Read more

Pearl Harbor

Exercise Tiger: Deadly D-Day Rehearsal

by Robert Heege

It was spring 1944, and the morning sun was glinting off the face of the water as the Landing Ship, Tank (LST) transports chugged their way through the choppy surf and headed in close toward shore, their destination a gravel-strewn stretch of beach on the English Channel code named “U” for Utah. Read more

Restricted by Naval Treaties, Britain Turned in the 1920s and 1930s to Cruisers, of Which the HMS Cornwall was the First.

Pearl Harbor

HMS Cornwall: a Symbol of British Naval Power

by William R. Hawkins

Following the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 (and roughly four years prior to the construction of the HMS Cornwall), cruisers became a focus of the interwar naval arms race, no less keenly felt by the British, whose survival depended on the sea-lane. Read more

Franklin D. Roosevelt employed a network of friends and contacts in covert roles, which inspired the creation of the OSS.

Pearl Harbor

Creating the OSS: FDR’s Network of Personal Spies

by Peter Kross

One of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s longtime interests was the hidden world of espionage. In the months before the United States entered World War II, the commander-in-chief was dabbling in the covert world of intelligence-gathering, using a number of trusted personal friends as his own private eyes and ears around the globe. Read more

During the Battle of Saipan, the United States invaded the island to construct air bases for bombers that would eventually strike at Japan itself.

Pearl Harbor

The Battle of Saipan

By Al Hemingway

Peering through his binoculars, Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo was in awe of the nearly 800 ships from Vice Adm. Read more