The Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor

January 25, 2017

For the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States came together to remember the men and women touched by the devastation brought on by the Japanese onslaught. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor hosted ceremonies for the survivors and commemorated those lost. These events were followed by a visit from Japan’s Prime Minister. The Smithsonian Channel jumped on the bandwagon of memorializing the event by releasing The Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor, a documentary that chronicles the tragedy of December 7th, 1941 through a collection of reports, public statements, and footage.

What makes The Lost Tapes stand out from other Pearl Harbor documentaries is not just the stories that are told, but how the history is conveyed.

A Unique Look at Pearl Harbor

The Smithsonian Channel’s unique look into Pearl Harbor dives deeper into the history of the attack than any documentary before it, pulling from sources that hadn't yet been made public. It's an unprecedented trek through time that depends on never-before-seen documents and footage to give the most complete look at the events of Pearl Harbor, from the attack itself to what was happening behind-the-scenes.

The documentary-style miniseries surprises with recently-unearthed news reports and film footage to deliver an unbiased telling of the events of that day. Audio recordings include meetings from 1940 between President Roosevelt and an adviser to discuss threats made by Japan, which supports the theory that the United States knew of Japan’s intentions.

A Unique Look at Pearl Harbor

Additional rare footage includes a radio report from KGU Honolulu radio made during the attack, the radio broadcast from Harry Soria the night before the attack, one-on-one street interviews American folklorist Alan Lomax conducted the day after the attack, and reports made via radio on December 8th during the long-since-forgotten Japanese bombings of Manila.

Documents featured in The Lost Tapes include photos of the attack’s impact on Japanese citizens in the United States, the original draft of the US Declaration of War on Japan, and dispatches written by the Navy regarding the attack.

Along with the untold stories brought to light with these rare documents and recordings, The Lost Tapes also retells what we know about the attack through pieces like President Roosevelt's well-known "Date which will live in infamy" speech.

Following Up on The Lost Tapes

After viewing the Smithsonian Channel’s The Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor, you can complete your journey through time with a visit to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Home to unforgettable relics of the December 7th attack, the monument includes a memorial to the USS Arizona, the Bowfin submarine, and the Battleship Missouri with physical exhibits that visitors can get up close to.

Bowfin Submarine Quarter View

Whether you’re standing over the wreckage of the USS Arizona or standing where Japanese officials signed the country’s surrender aboard the Battleship Missouri, these exhibits are made even more poignant by the new information unearthed in the Smithsonian Channel’s The Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor.

Find a Tour


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