Pearl Harbor Attack - 1941

End of Saito's World - 1939 Pacific includes death of ambassador Saito, start of Yonai's naval expansion program, FDR cancellation of trade treaty.
Japan Joins the Axis - 1940 Pacific includes transfer of fleet to Pearl, FDR embargo on aviation fuel, lubricants, scrap iron, Japan occupied Indochina, purple cipher broken, Tripartite Pact with Germany.
Japan Moves South - 1941 Pacific includes Yamamoto's Plan Z, Grew hears rumors, Click magazine story, Walter Short to defend Pearl, fleet to Atlantic, July threshhold adds oil embargo, FDR and Hull demand leave China first.

Tojo from ILN 1941/10/25
1999 Yuko Tojo article
Oct. 16 - Army militant Tojo replaces Konoye as PM
Oct. 16 - Stimson diary notes this was a time of "diplomatic fencing" and "make sure that Japan was put into the wrong and made the first bad move"
Oct. 17 - Kimmel improves naval reconnaissance, but not 360-degree nor 24-hour patrols
Nov. 1 - Japanese Combined Fleet changes radio code
Nov. 5 - Magic intercepts 6 "deadline" messages to complete negotiations by Nov. 25
Nov. 7 - Combined Fleet Order No. 1 defines vast Southern Operation:
US Strategic Pacific Sites
from ILN 1941/03/01

Nov. 10 - Nomura presents "A" proposal to Hull

Kurusu and Nomura 1941,
from FDRL
Nov. 15 -Saburo Kurusu & his American wife arrive in U.S. to negotiate with Hull
Nov. 16 - U.S. Navy loses track of Japanese carriers
Nov. 20 - Nomura & Kurusu present "B" proposal to Hull
Nov. 21 - Japan postpones deadline until Nov. 29
Nov. 24 - Magic intercepts Yoshikawa's report on fleet exercises, but not translated until Dec. 16
Nov. 25 - Stimson diary notes "the question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without too much danger to ourselves."
Republican headline, 1941/12/04
Nov. 25 - FDR "blew up" at news of Japanese fleet of 50 ships leaving Shanghai moving south toward Philippines and 5 Japanese divisions seaborne south of Formosa - map

Nov. 26 - Nagumo's First Air Fleet leaves Kuriles with 6 carriers, 423 planes, 2 battleships, 28 subs, 2 cruisers, 11 destroyers

Nov. 26 - "most fateful document" was Hull's counterproposal to "B"
Nov. 27 - Stimson sends "hostile action possible" warning to Pacific bases
Nov. 28 - Magic translates "winds" code sent Nov. 19
Nov. 29 - Imperial Conference decides on war because diplomacy failed
Dec. 1 - FDR reads Togo's warning to Germany of "extreme danger between Japan & Anglo-Saxon nations"
Dec. 1 - Togo tells Nomura to continue negotiations "to prevent the U.S. from becoming unduly suspicious"
Dec. 1 - Japanese fleet code changed second time in one month - unprecedented
Dec. 2 - Yamamoto signals Nagumo's fleet "Climb Mount Nitaka" code to proceed with attack; fleet is refueled by Dec. 3 halfway to Hawaii - map

Dec. 2 - Magic translates Togo's "boomerang" message to destroy all codes

Dec. 3 - FBI phone tap on consulate cook reveals code burning plans, but done 3-4 times per year
Dec. 4 - Knox: "no matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping."
Saratoga & Lexington off Hawaii,
from ILN 1941/12/13

Dec. 5 - TF12 with "Lexington" leaves Pearl for Midway; "Enterprise" near Wake; "Saratoga" at San Diego

Dec. 6 - Dorothy Edgers translates deferred Magic intercepts, but Comm. Alvin Kramer says "go home"
Dec. 6 - FDR agrees to ABDUCAN plan to help defend British empire if attacked
Dec. 6 - FDR sends last-resort letter to Hirohito
9:30pm, Dec. 6 - FDR reads 13-part 900-series intercept: "this means war"
10am, Dec. 7 - FDR reads 14th message that does not declare war nor sever relations, but concludes "it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations." - 1
11am, Dec. 7 - FDR reads 15th message setting 1pm delivery time for 14-part message to Hull - but still no indication of where Japanese attack would take place
11:30am, Dec. 7 - Marshall orders "be on the alert" warning sent to all Pacific bases
Japan 2-man sub, ILN 1941/12/27 - big

6:30am (PHT)= 11:30am (EST) - Catalina spots sub trying to enter Pearl

7:02am - Opana Radar Station privates Joseph Lockhard & George Elliott sight Japanese planes 132 mi. northeast (1st wave had taken off from carriers at 6:00am 230 miles away)
7:20am - Lt. kermit Tyler dismisses radar sightings as B-17s due from California - article
7:25am - Kimmel informed of Ward's attack on sub, but no action taken
7:33am - Marshall's warning received at Western Union office in Honolulu
7:49am - Fuchida radios his planes to attack with "To To To" code for "charge"
7:53am - Fuchida prematurely radios "Tora Tora Tora" code ("tiger") that the surprise attack on Pearl was successful

7:55am - 1st wave of 183 Japanese planes led by Fuchida attack Pearl from NW
9:00am - 2nd wave of 167 Japanese planes led by Shimazaki attack Pearl from NE
9:45am - of 96 ships in harbor, 18 sunk (Arizona, Oklahoma) or seriously damaged

The news of the attack was relayed to the mainland by telephone and telegraph and teletype during Sunday morning, but there was no radio announcement by John Daly - "We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by air" - that interrupted any commerical radio broadcasts. Robert Trout has said that the famous recording was actually constructed in 1948 by Fred Friendly out of two unrelated recordings for Edward R. Murrow's documentary album "I Can Hear It Now." - article

News of the attack was heavily censored. No accurate casualty figures or number of ships sunk were released to the press. Although Fox Movietone cameraman Al Brick was in Pearl Harbor and made some film of the attack, his images were not seen by the public until the January 1943 release of the Movietone newsreel Pearl Harbor - Now It Can Be Shown. John Ford's re-creation of the attack, December 7, a large dose of Hollywood mixed with small amounts of real newsreel footage, was not released until 1943 when it won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.

General Walter C. Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel were found guilty of dereliction of duty and forced to resign. Congress upheld the Army and Navy findings in 1946 and 1995. - article

The U.S. and Britain declared war on Japan Dec. 8, and Japan promptly declared war on the U.S. and Britian; Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. Dec. 11, although Hitler had previously sought to avoid such a war with America while he pursued the Battle of Russia

Pearl Harbor map
map from Pearl Harbor Remembered

Japanese photo

Damage of the attack
from NAIL

USS Arizona burning
from NAIL

B-17C at Hickam Field
from NAIL

smoke rised from Hickam Field
from NAIL

Japanese photo
from NAIL

USS Shaw explodes
from NAIL

USS Arizona burning
from NAIL

USS Shaw explodes
from NAIL

USS Shaw burns
from ILN 1942/02/21

USS Arizona turret
from ILN 1942/02/21

Pearl harbor attack


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