Remembering Pearl Harbor on the 75th Anniversary

USS Shaw Exploding at Pearl Harbor

Explosions rock the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, during the Japanese surprise air attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Credit: National Archives

Today is the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed more than 2,400 Americans at a naval base in Hawaii. This is the last time that survivors will gather on a milestone anniversary of the infamous date. For most others, the resonance of Pearl Harbor has faded with the decades and after the more recent attack on 9/11. Still, we shouldn’t forget how our nation’s heroes fought and what was lost and gained that day.

Just before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The barrage lasted just two hours, but it was devastating: The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and more than 300 airplanes.

The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan; Congress approved his declaration with just one dissenting vote. Three days later, Japanese allies Germany and Italy also declared war on the United States, and again Congress reciprocated, throwing the country into World War II.

Take a look back at the events of the day using National Geographic’s Interactive Pearl Harbor Attack Map:

Remembering Pearl Harbor: An Interactive Map of the Attack on December 7, 1941

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