On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy conducted a surprise military strike against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The attack was planned as a preventive action in order to keep the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia.
The naval base was attacked by 353Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.
All eight US Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. 188 US aircraft were destroyed and 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded.
This historical event led directly to the American entry into World War II. The following day the United States declared war on Japan. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the US on December 11th.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed December 7th 1941:“a date which will live in infamy”.
Three days later, Italy and Germany returned the favor with declarations of their own and the US, within hours, replied with an announcement that the military might of the American people would now be turned toward Europe and the Pacific.
World War II now included all the world’s greatest powers for the first time.