On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched an air raid on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Until September 11, 2001, the attack on Pearl Harbor was the deadliest assault launched against the United States. More than 2,400 Americans died and nearly and 1,200 more were wounded.

The first wave of attack hit just before 8 a.m. This attack involved more than 180 aircraft, including torpedo planes, bombers, dive-bombers, and fighters. The first targets were the base’s airfields and “Battleship Row,” an area of the harbor where seven of the port’s eight battleships were moored. The bombing was successful—four battleships sunk, three more damaged, three wrecked destroyers, three damaged cruisers, and a target ship and minelayer capsized. In addition to the shipyard losses, 188 aircraft were destroyed.

The following day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan—and formally enter World War II. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, a “date which will live in infamy.”

aircraft
Noun

vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.

air raid
Noun

attack, usually bombing, by aircraft.

assault
Noun

violent attack.

Battleship Row
Noun

(1941) series of docks at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, holding warships at the time of the Japanese attack.

empire
Noun

group of nations, territories or other groups of people controlled by a single, more powerful authority.

Noun

part of a body of water deep enough for ships to dock.

infamy
Noun

very bad reputation.

U.S. Navy
Noun

military branch whose mission is "to maintain, train, and equip combat ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas."

World War II
Noun

(1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)

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