Where: Hawai’ian Island of Oahu
History: 2nd biggest single attack on American soil changing the course of WWII for Japan & her allies for the worse
Experience: Visit the Memorial & museum and submarine wreck
Pearl Harbour 1941
“Air raid. Pear Harbour. This is not a drill ”
(Radio communication from Pearl Harbour 1941)
On Sunday the 7th of December 1941 at around 7:55 a Japanese strike against the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour, Honolulu, changed the course of the Second World War. 353 Japanese aircraft attacked the island of Oahu, concentrating their efforts against the US Naval base at Pearl Harbour.
America were forced to enter the conflict and declared war upon Japan and her Allies. 21 US ships were damaged or destroyed, out of approximately 100 in the base at the time, and 347 US aircraft. Over 2500 servicemen and women and civilians lost their lives during the surprise attack. No formal declaration of aggression and been made by the Japanese. The Japanese lost only 29 aircraft during the attacks.
1,177 service personnel lost their lives on the USS Arizona, which still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbour as a memorial to those who were killed during the attack. Attempts to remove the dead from the wreck were thwarted when divers reported distressing conditions below. In 1950 it was decided to leave the Arizona were it fell and the site was dedicated in 1962.
The events of 7th December changed the course of 20th century history and had a profound effect on the American psyche. In 2001 the biggest grossing film of all time, Pearl Harbour, retold the story in Hollywood’s inimitable style. Only events on the 11th of September 2001 overshadowed what was until that point the darkest day in American history.
Visiting Pearl Harbour
Pearl Harbour is easily reached on highway 99, west of Honolulu (Kamehameha Highway) by car or public transport. The #20 bus leaves from Waikiki. The museum and memorial open at 7:30 A.M and there is a documentary film prior to being shuttled across the harbour to the site of the USS Arizona Memorial. Visitor centre: (808) 422 0561.
By Dave Lowe