Attack on Pearl Harbor
Part of the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of World War II
Attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese planes view.jpg
Photograph of Battleship Row taken from a Japanese plane at the beginning of the attack. The explosion in the center is a torpedo strike on USS West Virginia. Two attacking Japanese planes can be seen: one over USS Neosho and one over the Naval Yard.
Date December 7, 1941; 80 years ago (1941-12-07)
Location Primarily Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, U.S.
Result Major Japanese tactical victory; precipitated the entrance of the United States into World War II, other consequences
 United States  Japan
Commanders and leaders
Template:Country data United States Navy ADM Husband E. Kimmel
LTG Walter Short
Empire of Japan VADM Chūichi Nagumo
ADM Isoroku Yamamoto
CDR Mitsuo Fuchida
8 battleships
8 cruisers
30 destroyers
4 submarines
3 USCG cutters[nb 1]
47 other ships[4]
≈390 aircraft
Mobile Unit:
6 aircraft carriers
2 battleships
2 heavy cruisers
1 light cruiser
9 destroyers
8 tankers
23 fleet submarines
5 midget submarines
414 aircraft
Casualties and losses
4 battleships sunk
4 battleships damaged
1 ex-battleship sunk
1 harbor tug sunk
3 cruisers damaged[nb 2]
3 destroyers damaged
3 other ships damaged
188 aircraft destroyed
159[6] aircraft damaged
2,335 killed
1,143 wounded
4 midget submarines sunk
1 midget submarine grounded
29 aircraft destroyed
74 aircraft damaged
64 killed
1 sailor captured[7]
Civilian casualties
68 killed[8][9]
35 wounded[10]
3 aircraft shot down

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor,[11] led to the United States' formal entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI,[12][13] and as Operation Z during its planning.[14]

Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.[15] Additionally, from the Japanese viewpoint, it was seen as a preemptive strike.[16]

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 GMT).[nb 3][17] The base was attacked by 353[18] Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.[18] All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship,[nb 4] and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.[20] Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section), were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured. Japan declared war on the United States on 8 December (9 December in Tokyo).

The surprise attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan,[21][22] and three days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy each declared war on the U.S. The U.S. responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been fading since the Fall of France in 1940,[23] disappeared.[22]

There were numerous historical precedents for the unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while peace negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.[24][25]



  1. ^ "The Long Blue Line: The attack on Pearl Harbor—"a date that will live in infamy"". Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  2. ^ "U.S. COAST GUARD UNITS IN HAWAII". Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "Active Class, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters". Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Ships and District Craft Present at Pearl Harbor, 0800 7 December 1941 U.S. Navy Historical Center". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ CinCP report of damage to ships in Pearl Harbor from
  6. ^ "Overview of The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941". Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ Gilbert 2009, p. 272.
  8. ^ Gailey 1995
  9. ^ "Pearl Harbor Casualty List". Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ArmyChapter7pg194
  11. ^ Morison 2001, pp. 101, 120, 250
  12. ^ Prange, Gordon W., Goldstein, Donald, & Dillon, Katherine. The Pearl Harbor Papers (Brassey's, 2000), p. 17ff; Google Books entry on Prange et al.
  13. ^ For the Japanese designator of Oahu. Wilford, Timothy. "Decoding Pearl Harbor", in The Northern Mariner, XII, #1 (January 2002), p. 32fn81.
  14. ^ Fukudome, Shigeru, "Hawaii Operation". United States Naval Institute, Proceedings, 81 (December 1955), pp. 1315–1331
  15. ^ Gill, G. Hermon (1957). Royal Australian Navy 1939–1942. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 2 – Navy. 1. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. p. 485. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  16. ^ Worth, Roland H., Jr. (January 27, 2014). No Choice but War: The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, Incorporated. ISBN 9780786477524. ISBN 0786477520. 
  17. ^ Prange et al. December 7, 1941, p. 174.
  18. ^ a b Parillo 2006, p. 288
  19. ^ Thomas 2007, pp. 57–59.
  20. ^ "Pearl Harbor Facts". About. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ "United States declares war". Abilene Reporter-News: p. 1. December 8, 1941. Retrieved August 12, 2014.  open access
  22. ^ a b Bromwich, Jonah Engel (2016-12-07). "How Pearl Harbor Shaped the Modern World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  23. ^ Braumoeller, Bear F. (2010) "The Myth of American Isolationism" Foreign Policy Analysis 6: 349–371.
  24. ^ Yuma Totani (April 1, 2009). The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: The Pursuit of Justice in the Wake of World War II. Harvard University Asia Center. p. 57. 
  25. ^ Stephen C. McCaffrey (September 22, 2004). Understanding International Law. AuthorHouse. pp. 210–229. 

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