The attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941, and it was a complete surprise, considering the U.S. had remained neutral in World War II. Pearl Harbor newspaper accounts described that shocking event for the record books and outlined how, within minutes of the Japanese attack, seven of eight battleships took major hits from bombs and torpedoes. Thankfully, the facilities, as reported by Pearl Harbor newspapers, remained mostly undamaged.
Later Pearl Harbor newspaper accounts reported the growing anti-Japanese sentiments rising in the U.S. in the late 1930s due to Japan fighting a bloody war in China, as well as sinking a US Navy gunboat. Leading up to Pearl Harbor, the U.S., along with Britain, East Indies and the Netherlands, formed an oil and steel embargo against Japan. Pearl Harbor newspaper accounts relate this embargo in August 1941 and detail how the American embargo in particular caused a major crisis in Japan.
According to Pearl Harbor newspaper accounts, Congress declared war on Japan the next day, and by December 11, had fully joined World War II, as Germany and Italy also declared war on the U.S. as Japan's allies.
January 27, 1941: The U.S. ambassador to Japan communicated to Washington that the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor, but no one believed the ambassador.
November 27, 1941: Admiral Kimmel and General Short received a "war warning" from Washington that described an imminent attack by the Japanese on the U.S. in the Pacific.
December 7, 1941: At 7:55 am, the Japanese attacked ships in Pearl Harbor plus the Hickam, Wheeler, Ford Island, Ewa Field and Kaneohe air stations. The attack continued for two hours and twenty minutes and resulted in 2,400 American casualties, 1,200 wounded, and over 300 aircraft and 18 ships damaged or destroyed.
December 8, 1941: U.S. Congress and President Roosevelt declared war on Japan, which was immediately reciprocated, and the U.S. entered World War 2.
The December 8, 1941 issue of the Manitowoc Herald-Times sported the headline "U.S. Declares War." The ensuing Pearl Harbor newspaper article reported how Congress reacted quickly to the Japanese attack the previous day, and it cited that Washington was admitting that over 3,000 Americans were wounded or killed during the attack. Washington also admitted that some damage was done to aircraft and naval ships, but official numbers weren't being released in that Pearl Harbor newspaper article.
The Japanese and German newspapers were reporting a major victory over the U.S., according to this Pearl Harbor newspaper article, touting that the Japanese had taken out the U.S. ships West Virginia and Oklahoma. Also intimated by the enemy was that 60 percent of the U.S. Naval forces were present at Pearl Harbor and could now be considered as out of commission. Tokyo also claimed that the Japanese had proven their supremacy over the U.S. after this battle in the Pacific, according to this Pearl Harbor newspaper article.
Another local Pearl Harbor newspaper article wrote of two Wisconsin men, who were stationed at Pearl Harbor and killed in the attack. Another Pearl Harbor newspaper article detailed all the local county men who were stationed in the Pacific, describing how relatives and friends were anxiously awaiting news. Also reported in a Pearl Harbor newspaper article were details of the congressional vote to declare war on Japan. The House vote was 388 to 1, with Jeannette Rankin of Montana being the only dissenting voice. The Senate vote was unanimous at 82 to 0. Also joining the U.S. against Japan was ally Great Britain, who likewise declared war on Japan.
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