Skip to comments.70 Years Ago Today
Posted on 12/07/2011 7:59:13 AM PST by Kaslin
There was a time when there was no need to explain what happened on December 7, 1941.
It was one of those dates every American knew, and it opened a well of hurt and rage, pride and determination, and a hundred other memories and emotions. Nothing else needed to be said.
That was enough.
It was one of those dates. Much like September 11th today.
A date which would live in infamy.
So said Franklin Roosevelt when he appeared before Congress the next day and asked it to declare that a state of war had existed between the United States and the Empire of Japan since its unprovoked and dastardly attack on Sunday, December 7th.
Remember Pearl Harbor, the wartime posters would say under a torn and tattered, bullet-torn American flag.
The message: Remember December 7.
That was enough.
For in that same address to Congress, FDR vowed that "always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us."
And it would.
Or so it seemed then. The wounds were still fresh, the sacrifice and heroism and doubts and fears and utter determination only beginning.
Midway and Iwo Jima and Okinawa and Hiroshima and the final ceremony aboard the USS Missouri still lay ahead.
Nothing would ever be the same.
Always would our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
Now we may have to be reminded. The years flow past, generation succeeds generation, memories fade. Now the flag, bright and shiny and untouched, perhaps even unnoticed, flaps in the wind. As though it had never been under attack.
Today memory is renewed. There are anniversary stories in the paper, just as there are monuments and museums dedicated to keeping the remembrance of it all fresh .
But in the end no news article, no book, no television special, no museum, not even the rows of gravestones decorated with little American flags every Memorial Day will suffice to imbue that date on the calendar with the meaning it once had. It must live in the nation's heart. From generation to generation. Lest, even remembering, we forget.
Like 911, we must never forget.
Never before had even two carriers for any country coordinated an attack on a naval or land target. No inkling existed in any allied Naval operational and intelligence community of a capability beyond the 21 Fairey Swordfish bi-plane torpedo bombers that had attacked at night the Italian Navy at Taranto. Yet, for Pearl Harbor the Japanese had united six carriers, escorts and auxiliaries for a coordinated attack by 360 planes in two waves on a Sunday morning. The attack was not only unprecedented, but unexpected because all preparations were conducted without recourse to the diplomatic Purple Code that U.S. Navy codebreakers were reading in substantial portions. The U.S. had no agents in Japan and the Imperial Japanese Navy excluded their population from observing training for this rapidly developing and essentially oral doctrine.
The Naval History magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute produced an article about Pearl Harbor this year for general viewing.
Pearl Harbors Overlooked Answer
And now we buy Japanese cars...
US Navy Fleet Problems, circa 1920s-1930s, for example, Admiral King (yup, Ernie), commanding USS Saratoga “successfully” attacks from the air (as judged by the referee) Pearl Harbor in 1938.
The author makes his case for the size of the attack being unprecedented.
See The Attack at Taranto - Tactical Success, Operational Failure, LtCol. Angelo N. Caravaggio, Canadian Forces, Naval War College Review, Volume 59, Number 3 (Summer 2006), pages 183-127.
Or, perhaps not.
See The Attack at Taranto - Tactical Success, Operational Failure, LtCol. Angelo N. Caravaggio, Canadian Forces, Naval War College Review, Volume 59, Number 3 (Summer 2006), pages 103-127.
Or, perhaps not.