December 7: National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
At dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in an attempt to cripple the fleet and hinder U.S. intervention in other Japanese targets in the South Pacific. The Japanese military expected that Germany would defeat Great Britain and the Soviet Union and that Japan would control the Pacific. The attack was opposed by Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who cautioned against a war with the United States, but he was overruled. After the attack, he said, “We have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve.” He was right. Although airfields, port facilities, and warships were severely damaged and two battleships, the Utah and the Arizona, were destroyed, the attack mobilized the United States and signaled its entry into World War II. Today the Arizona is a memorial and a national park.