A Date that Shall Live in Infamy: The Attack on Pearl Harbor in Photos


Today marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The surprise attack began at 7:48 am as the base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese planes in two waves.  By the end of the assault, the Japanese had destroyed eight battleships and 188 U.S. aircraft and had taken the lives of 2,403 American troops.  This shocking attack pushed the U.S. firmly in to WWII.

The following photos document the sad day.

This harrowing photo was taken from a Japanese fighter plane at the very beginning of the assault, which included torpedo fire along Battleship Row.  If you look closely, you can see water rising from one of the ships in the background - this is a torpedo strike on the U.S.S West Virginia.  

The surprise attack was undertaken when six aircraft carriers left Japan on November 26, 1941 and went completely undetected by the U.S. military.  The map below shows the route they took and where they based on the morning of December 7th.  

The following photo shows an Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter on the aircraft carrier Akagi.

The base at Pearl Harbor was not prepared for the swift attack, and struggled to effectively communicate with its troops or field a proper response.  The following photo shows ground level at Battleship Row as a damaged battleship begins to list. 

This chilling internal naval telegram was rapidly relayed to all parties, but there was little they could do in immediate response. The phrase, "This is not a drill" has such power in this situation.  You can imagine how scared many of the troops were.  

A battleship explodes in the harbor as a fire consumed the ship and reached the fuel reserves.  

Nearly half of the American casualties came as the result of a fighter striking the forward magazine of the U.S.S. Arizona.  This explosion consumed the ship and it rapidly sank, as seen in the photo below.