Attack on Pearl Harbor facts for kids

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Attack on Pearl Harbor
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
Attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese planes view.jpg
Photograph from a Japanese plane of Battleship Row at the beginning of the attack. The explosion in the center is a torpedo strike on the USS Oklahoma. Two attacking Japanese planes can be seen: one over the USS Neosho and one over the Naval Yard.
Date December 7, 1941
Location Primarily Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, United States
Result Japanese major tactical victory
  • United States declares war on the Empire of Japan
  • Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declare war on the United States.
United States United States of America Empire of Japan Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
United States Husband Kimmel
United States Walter Short
Empire of Japan Chuichi Nagumo
Empire of Japan Isoroku Yamamoto
8 battleships,
8 cruisers,
30 destroyers,
4 submarines,
49 other ships,
~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 including 1 run aground
2 destroyers sunk, 1 damaged
1 other ship sunk, 3 damaged
3 cruisers damaged

188 aircraft destroyed
155 aircraft damaged,
2,402 military killed
1,247 military wounded
57 civilians killed
35 civilians wounded
4 midget submarines sunk,
1 midget submarine run aground,
29 aircraft destroyed,
55 airmen killed
9 submariners killed
1 submariner captured

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack by Japan against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. It is what led the United States into World War II. Japan carried out the attack so that the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which was a collection of ships that the United States could use in a war, would not enter the war that Japan was planning in Southeast Asia, against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in the Philippines. The attack was made up of two aerial attack waves totaling 353 aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. Their commander was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. 2,390 people died in the attack. All the eight American battleships in the harbor were sunk, but the American aircraft carriers were elsewhere. Japan declared war on the United States the same day.

After the attack

The next day, United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech to Congress. In his speech, President Roosevelt said that December 7 was "a date which will live in infamy". Most Americans listened to the speech on the radio. A few minutes after the speech ended, Congress voted to declare war on Japan. Only one member of Congress, Jeanette Rankin, voted "no". Three days later, Germany also declared war on the United States.

Rumors started blaming Japanese Americans for knowing about the attacks ahead of time and even helping. Many American citizens became afraid of Japanese Americans and German Americans, because Germany was an ally to Japan. As a result, 110,000 Japanese Americans and 31,000 German Americans were sent to internment camps starting in 1942. 3,000 Italian Americans were also interned. The government made the father of a famous baseball player, Joe di Maggio, move from the West coast because he was an Italian immigrant. Some German Americans were interned as late as 1944. The government apologized for doing this to the Japanese Americans in 1988. German Americans and Italian Americans have never received an apology.

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