by Gary Ell
from: "Attack At Pearl Harbor, 1941," EyeWitness -
history through the eyes of those who lived it, www.ibiscom.com
surprise was complete. The attacking planes came in two waves;
the first hit its target at 7:53 AM, the second at 8:55. By 9:55
it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes
from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan.
Behind them they left chaos, 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes
and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed
battleships. In one stroke the Japanese action silenced the debate
that had divided Americans ever since the German defeat of France
left England alone in the fight against the Nazi terror.
Word of the attack reached President Roosevelt as he lunched
in his oval study on Sunday afternoon. Later, Winston Churchill
called to tell him that the Japanese had also attacked British
colonies in southeast Asia and that Britain would declare war
the next day. Roosevelt responded that he would go before Congress
the following day to ask for a declaration of war against Japan.
Churchill wrote: "To have the United States at our side was
to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United
States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So
we had won after all!...Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's
fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to
On Monday, FDR signed the declaration of war granted by Congress.
One day later both Germany and Italy, as partners of Japan in
the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the US.
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