On 7 December 1941, at 7:48 local time, 353 imperial Japanese planes bombed eight US navy ships docked at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. About 2,403 Americans were killed, another 1,178 were wounded and 960 were declared missing. As an event, it triggered the involvement of the United States in the second world war in progress. Every year, Americans from Washington, DC to Hawaii honored those who died and remember the day they "will live in infamy", to quote President Franklin Roosevelt at the time.
"Yesterday, 7 December 1941 – a date that Will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," he said Roosevelt in a speech at the Congress the day after the attack. Later he added: "No matter how long it will take to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their right power will win absolute victory."
The attack was a surprise. Many US soldiers were still in their pajamas or were having breakfast when the bombing started. All eight ships lined up on what was called "Battleship Row" were severely damaged or destroyed altogether. The USS Arizona exploded after a bomb hit its front magazine (ammunition hall), killing all 1
,100 soldiers on board. Eleven other ships were sunk during the attack and 188 were destroyed.
In addition to Pearl Harbor, Japan also attacked the US-based bases in the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island for a seven-hour period. Since there was never a formal declaration of war from Japan, the country was later accused of war crimes during the Tokyo process in 1946.
In 1962 the memorial USS Arizona opened on the site where the warship exploded. It is visited by over 2 million people every year. The submerged remains were officially declared National Landmark in 1989.
Here are some of the most representative photos taken on the day of the attack. They are provided by the Library of Congress, the National Archives and the archives of the US Navy. These photos provide an intimate look at one of the worst attacks the United States has ever seen, and explain why we remember all the US soldiers who lost their lives on every Pearl Harbor Memorial Day.