Pearl Harbor Attack Timeline

December 7th, 1941

November 26th, 1941

Japanese Navy left Japan

Adm. Chuichi Nagumo takes command of the Japanese First Air Fleet and begins moving towards Pearl Harbor. The movement was a response to the U.S.’s decision not to lift economic sanctions on Japan.

December 7, 1941

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor

Just before 8 a.m., a swarm of Japanese fighter planes descend on Pearl Harbor and begin dropping bombs. The attack destroys 20 naval ships and more than 300 planes, and more than 2,000 crew members lose their lives.

December 7, 1941

News of the attack spreads

Evening editions of daily newspapers spread the word. By evening, most of the country knows of the devastating attack.

December 8, 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war with his “Day of Infamy” speech

With a promise to "make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again," President Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan. Congress approves, and three days later, Germany and Italy formally declare war on the U.S., bringing the country into World War lI.

April 18, 1942

The Doolittle Raid attacks Tokyo

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle leads 16 American B-25 bombers on a mission to bomb Tokyo. The attack does little damage, but it does weaken the Japanese government's prestige and shake their confidence.

June 3-7, 1942

Battle of Midway begins

In a grueling four-day battle, the outmatched U.S. Pacific Fleet manages to destroy four Japanese aircraft carriers while only losing one of its own. The battle comes as a major U.S. victory, and it proves that the Japanese navy was not quite as invincible as previously believed.

August, 1945

Crew of Enola Gay prepares

Twelve men on a top-secret mission begin preparing their plane, Enola Gay. They’ve been told their mission will either shorten or end the war, but none of them know the extent of the destruction the mission will cause.

August 6, 1945

The U.S. drops the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima

Just after 8 a.m., the Enola Gay flies over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and drops the world's first atomic bomb. About 80,000 people die from the bomb and another 35,000 are injured, but the Japanese do not surrender.

August 8, 1945

The U.S. drops a second Atomic Bomb—this time on Nagasaki

Another atomic bomb devastates the city of Nagasaki, and the destruction moves Japanese officials to action. Finally, they consider surrender.

September 2, 1945

The Japanese surrender on Battleship Missouri

Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemutsu signed a declaration of surrender on behalf of the Japanese government and armed forces. Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur then signed the document of behalf of all the members of the newly-created United Nations.

Thank You

To all of those brave men and women who have fought, and continue to fight, to protect our freedom.

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