More Facts About Pearl Harbor You May Not Know

January 12, 2017

You’ve read the history books, toured the memorials, and even listened to stories from surviving veterans, but there is still so much more to the attack on Pearl Harbor that you may not know. It’s a much talked about event, one of the worst attacks on American soil by a foreign power, and with that comes little gems of wisdom, like these tidbits of information about the devastating attack that may not be so well known.

It Wasn’t the Start of the Pacific Theater

Often when you learn about World War II, it’s posed that the Pacific Theater didn’t start until the United States of America joined the fray. Contrary to that, however, the war in the Pacific really started only moments before the attack on Pearl Harbor commenced.

Just hours prior to the first bomb hitting the USS Arizona, Japanese forces had landed in northern Malaya, which was under British control at the time. A large force of Japanese forces had disembarked from Thailand, aimed towards Malaya, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies.

Pacific Theater

The Attack Ultimately Failed

One of the main reasons Japan launched an attack on Pearl Harbor was to completely disable the U.S. Navy, effectively keeping them out of the war in the Pacific. While many of the Navy’s larger battleships, including the USS Arizona, were heavily damaged and sank to the bottom of the harbor, most that were lost were resurfaced and reentered the war several years later.

As history shows, the United States also wasn’t completely crippled and wound up entering the war, joining the Allied forces on both the European and Pacific fronts.

Germany Was Mostly Unaware of the Attack

Though it may seem logical that the Germans would have been knowledgeable of Japan’s plan to attack Pearl Harbor, that wasn’t necessarily the case. While the European power was aware of Japan’s plan to act in Southeast Asia and how it would inevitably attract the attention of the British and the United States, there was no direct link between Germany and Pearl Harbor.


Furthermore, the United States only declared war against Japan as President Roosevelt’s advisors felt it best to allow Germany to make the first declaration. Only after Hitler announced going to war with the U.S. did Congress unanimously agree to the war in Europe.

Heavy Japanese Tourism

It may sound odd for Japanese tourism to be a major factor to Hawaii’s economy, but that’s how the course of history has turned. As of 2007, Japan tourism to Hawaii was bringing in more money than American tourism and many of those tourists made Pearl Harbor a stop during their stay.

Despite Japan’s attack on the harbor and the war that commenced after, U.S. and Japanese relations have changed drastically, with the two forming an alliance in 1960 with the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation.

Pearl Harbor Visitor Center with Ford Island in Background

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