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Dec. 7, 1941: The destroyer Shaw's forward magazine explodes after being struck during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


Dec. 7, 1941: Japanese pilots get instructions aboard an aircraft carrier before the attack on Pearl Harbor in this scene from a Japanese newsreel. It was obtained by the U.S. War Department and released to U.S. newsreels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: This image, from a Japanese film later captured by American forces, shows a Nakajima "Kate" B-5N bomber launching from the deck of the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku in the second wave of the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Dec. 7, 1941: Three U.S. battleships -- the West Virginia, left, severely damaged; the Tennessee, damaged; and the Arizona, sunk -- are hit by Japanese bombs at Pearl Harbor.


Dec. 7, 1941: The light cruiser Phoenix steams past the burning battleships Arizona and West Virginia and takes to sea with the rest of the fleet following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1951 the Phoenix was sold to Argentina. In 1956 the ship was named the ARA General Belgrano, and in 1982 it was sunk by the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror during the Falklands War.


Dec. 7, 1941: An image taken from a Japanese aircraft shows battleship row at Pearl Harbor during the 1941 attack.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Heavy black smoke billows from the battleship Maryland, center, and the hulk of the capsized battleship Oklahoma is seen to the right.


Dec. 7, 1941: The Arizona in flames after the attack.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: A rescue boat helps a crew member from the battleship West Virginia after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Two men can be seen on the superstructure, upper center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: A photograph taken from a Japanese aircraft during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island. This view looks east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. A torpedo has just hit the battleship West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Dec. 7, 1941: The battleship Arizona burns, with its guns just above the water line, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


Dec. 7, 1941: Struck by two torpedoes and two bombs, the California, right, settles to the bottom during the Japanese attack.


Dec. 7, 1941: This Japanese aerial photo of smoking U.S. ships during Pearl Harbor attack appeared in a 1942 publication called The New Order in Greater East Asia.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: The battleship Maryland, moored inboard of the Oklahoma, which capsized, was damaged slightly in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Sailors stand among wrecked airplanes at Ford Island Naval Air Station as they watch the explosion of the battleship Shaw in the background.


Dec. 7, 1941: The battleship Arizona belches smoke as it topples into the sea. The ship sank with more than 80% of its 1,500-man crew, including Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Anonymous / Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: This P-40 was machine gunned while on the ground during the Pearl Harbor attack.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Twisted metal wreckage lay along a Honolulu street after the city was attacked by Japanese planes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: A Japanese dive bomber goes into its final dive after it was hit by U.S. anti-aircraft fire.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Seen from Ford Island, the USS California lists to port after being hit by torpedoes and bombs.


U.S. Navy seamen examine the wreckage of a Japanese torpedo plane shot down at Pearl Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: The battleship West Virginia, sunk and burning at Pearl Harbor. In the background is the battleship Tennessee.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: U.S. Naval Institute Photograph Collection

Wreckage, identified by the U.S. Navy as a Japanese torpedo plane, was salvaged from Pearl Harbor after the 1941 attack.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Heavy damage is seen on the destroyers Downes and Cassin.


Dec. 17, 1941: Youths on Oahu inspect the wreckage of a Japanese bomber brought down by a United States plane during the Dec 7, 1941, attack on Hawaii.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Null / Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: The wing of a Japanese bomber shot down on the grounds of the naval hospital at Honolulu, Hawaii.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: The wreckage of American planes bombed by the Japanese at the U.S. Army's Hickam Field.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Smoke clouds the sky over Pearl Harbor as two sailors crouch with their rifles on a pier at the submarine base. Submarines berthed nearby are the Tautog and the Narwhal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: A Japanese bomber on a run over Pearl Harbor. Black smoke rises from American ships in the harbor. And below is a U.S. Army air field.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Troops man a machine gun at Wheeler Field, which is next to Schofield Barracks in Honolulu.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Dec. 7, 1941: Looking southwest, a view of Pearl Harbor from the hills taken during the Japanese raid. Anti-aircraft shells burst overhead and, a large column of smoke in lower center is from the battleship Arizona.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: U.S. Navy / National Archives Collection

Dec. 7, 1941: Wrecked Catalina patrol aircraft at Ford Island after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


The body of a Japanese lieutenant who crashed during the attack on Pearl Harbor is buried with military honors by U.S. troops. This undated picture was released by the Navy.


Mar. 9 , 1942: In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy the USS Shaw, flying the Union Jack at her new bow, is in a dry dock where damage done during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is rapidly being repaired. The temporary bow, with which the Shaw crossed the Pacific, lies in the foreground, ready to become scrap metal.


Feb. 1942: This photo shows the wreckage of the battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor.


Feb. 2, 1942: The battleship USS Arizona is partially visible as it rests on the bottom of Pearl Harbor.


1943: The stricken Oklahoma lies half-righted as cables stretched over wooden A-frames to Ford Island at Pearl Harbor are used to right the ship. The ship was hit by torpedoes and sunk in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After being refloated, further repair of the Oklahoma was stopped. After the war, it was sold for scrap but sank in 1947 while under tow to the West Coast.


May 24, 1943: As the deck of the capsized battleship Oklahoma breaks water, damage and corrosion to its superstructure are visible.


Feb. 13, 1946: Henry C. Clausen, a former lieutenant colonel, listens to a question asked of him as he testifies at the joint congressional Peal Harbor inquiry evening session in Washington, D.C. Clausen, later a Los Angeles attorney, conducted a one-man investigation of the Pearl Harbor disaster in 1945 for Secretary of War Henry Stimson.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Aug. 28, 2002: A Japanese midget submarine sunk before the attack on Pearl Harbor is shown in an image from video. The sub was found by researchers from the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, who stumbled across the vessel while doing training dives a few miles from Pearl Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory

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Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy

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Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy

Dec. 7, 1941: The United States naval base at Pearl Harbor is attacked by Japanese planes launched from six aircraft carriers. Four U.S. battleships are sunk, and four others damaged. Over 2,400 Americans are killed, including 1,177 on the battleship Arizona.

Japanese losses were light, 29 aircraft destroyed, five midget subs lost, 64 killed and one midget sub sailor captured.

An Associated Press story on the Dec. 8, 1941, front page of the Los Angeles Times reported:

Japan assaulted every main United States and British possession in the Central and Western Pacific and invaded Thailand today (Monday) in a hasty but evidently shrewdly-planned prosecution of a war began Sunday without warning.

Her formal declaration of war against both the United States and Britain came 2 hours and 55 minutes after Japanese planes spread death and terrific destruction in Honolulu and Pearl Harbor at 7:35 a.m. Hawaiian time (10:05 a.m., P.S.T.) Sunday.

The claimed successes for the fell swoop included sinking of the United States battleship West Virginia and setting afire of the battleship Oklahoma.

On Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt started his famous speech:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: Yesterday, Dec. 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Within an hour, Congress passed a declaration of war against Japan, bringing the United States into World War II. On Dec. 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.


  1. December 6, 2011, 8:38 am

    One wonders what would have happened had the Japanese not attacked. Without an attack, what circumstances would have drawn the US into the war?

    By: Lawrence Connolly
  2. December 7, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Good question… There are some that say Roosevelt and the war planners were waiting for anything justifiable. The attack silenced the large isolationist segment in the country. So much had already happened (Battle of Brittain and the capitulation of Paris) that you really have to wonder what would have had to happen for the US to declare war.

    By: Ozzbat27
  3. December 7, 2012, 9:28 am

    The Japanese had to attack as they were interested in The Philippines which was a US Colony. It was included in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere that the Japanese envisioned. They wanted what they said was "An Asia for Asiatics". Most likely Pearl Harbor was a strategic move to cut off the Americans' Philippine forces which they succeeded in because Bataan and Corregidor eventually fell.

    By: kcocorkkooroosht
  4. December 7, 2011, 4:42 am

    war was imminent, the U.S. and the rest of the world had too much at stake to ignore the happenings of a world war. Simply put, our involvment would have drug us into the war whether Japan attacked or not. Not to mention the fact that our government knew about Pearl Harbor and allowed it to happen in order for the public to become swayed to join the war.

    By: hartbraker
  5. December 7, 2012, 12:13 am

    That Conspiracy Theory has been put to bed ages go. It was a colossal lack of communication between the Intelligence sections of the different branches of the US Military and its Civilian counterparts that led to their lack of preparedness on the day. It was in fact this failure that led to the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency afterwards.

    By: Andrew
  6. December 7, 2011, 5:00 am

    It is a very touching day as the country looks back on a moment when many men, women, and children were lost during an epic attack on Pearl Harbor. As a veteran of the USNR my heart goes out to my shipmate survivors and their families, but let us not forget the collateral damage done by the shrapnel that fell from the sky that day, as many do not realize, the anti-aircraft artillery did have to land somewhere while being fired at the over 150 Japanese airplanes. With less than 30 Japanese planes shot down, it was a day of mourning for America and Hawaii. ~ Max Terronez, President, Zootela Hawaii,

  7. December 7, 2011, 9:47 am

    The United States would have found a reason to start a war or get involved in something to feed the war machine. If the Japanese had not attacked, it would have been one of the other 20 countries that hates them.

    By: Charles U. Farley
  8. December 7, 2011, 11:02 am

    An amazing collection of photos; thanks so much for sharing. The Destination360 bunch have gone on photography trips to Pearl Harbor & shot virtual tours of the Punchbowl Memorial and of the USS Arizona Memorial … incredible to think that the peaceful area we saw in 2010 looked like this at one time.

  9. December 7, 2011, 11:51 am

    These photos are stunning works, painfully real and appreciated, Lest we forget.

  10. December 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

    America asleep at the switch – 12/7/1941 and 9/11/2001. Today our nation's finances have one foot in bankruptcy and the other on a banana peel and we are still spending money like it was 1999.

  11. December 7, 2011, 6:54 pm

    Is there any further information available from any source about photo 30/40? Specifically I'm wondering if the soldiers in the photo were identified. Does AP have a resource for tracking this info down? Thanks!

    By: Pet
  12. December 7, 2011, 10:04 pm

    We can't forget because We lost our beloved in Peal Harbor attack. My grand dad one of them.

  13. December 7, 2012, 5:47 pm

    To add to the commentary here: Pearl Harbor was not the only area bombed. Much of Oahu was under siege and many civilians in the City of Honolulu and in outer areas lost their lives.

    By: cccccccccc
  14. December 8, 2013, 3:41 am

    To those who say "The United States would have found a reason to start a war or get involved" or suchlike, World War Two had been in progress for OVER TWO YEARS by the time of Pearl Harbor. The war could easily have ended in an Axis victory at any time in those two years from May 1940 onwards. The U.S. found no compelling reason to take part in those two years, and without Pearl Harbor it probably would have found no compelling reason to get involved in the next two years either. Even after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. did not declare war on Germany until after Germany had declared war on the U.S. Without the German declaration of war, the U.S. might still have kept out of the European part of the war indefinitely. In other words, the U.S. was certainly not looking for a reason to get involved. It was looking for reasons to stay out, right up until 7 December 1941.

    By: Paridell
  15. December 8, 2014, 11:22 am

    Dec. 7, 1941 changed Hawaii significantly. Sugar cane production, pineapple production, and the U.S. military were the three major contributors to the economy of the Territory of Hawaii in the 1940's. Today the state is primarily urban, dominated by tourism and agriculture is a relic "old Hawaii". World War II brought millions of servicemen to the Territory on their way to fight in the Pacific. Seventy-three years after the day of infamy ask the local kama'aina whether Hawaiil has changed for the better and their response will surprise you.

    By: bernard ancheta, sr

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