A Dictionary of American History

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Author: Thomas L. Purvis  | Date: 1995

Pearl Harbor, Attack on

Pearl Harbor, Attack on (Hawaii) At 6:48 a.m. on 7 December 1941, Admiral Chiuchi Nagumo’s task force (6 carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 3 submarines, and 8 auxiliary ships) launched 184 planes against US Navy and Army forces under Admiral Husband Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter Short. Of 94 US Navy vessels in port, 70 were combat vessels: 8 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 6 light cruisers, 29 destroyers, 5 submarines, 1 gunboat, 9 minelayers, 10 minesweepers. Japanese bombing commenced at 7:55 a.m., followed by a second wave of 169 planes at 8:50 a.m. All enemy planes withdrew by 9:50 a.m. Japanese losses: 64 dead, 1 combat submarine sunk, 5 midget submarines sunk, 29 planes downed. US losses: 2,403 killed (2,008 navy, 109 marines, 218 army, and 68 civilians), 1,178 wounded (710 navy, 69 marines, 364 army, and 35 civilians). The Japanese sunk, capsized, or rendered inoperable 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 3 destroyers, 4 auxiliary craft, 63 army aircraft (out of 231), and 87 navy aircraft. Japan’s treachery blundered on three counts: (1) it failed to destroy Pearl Harbor itself, which restored all major ships sunk or disabled to combat duty except 2 battleships; (2) it attacked while all the Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers were at sea; and (3) it discredited peace sentiment in the US and led to immediate US declarations of war against Japan and Germany.

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Chicago: Thomas L. Purvis, "Pearl Harbor, Attack on," A Dictionary of American History in A Dictionary of American History (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Reference, 1995), Original Sources, accessed September 24, 2021, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=573AGUKUUQE73NP.

MLA: Purvis, Thomas L. "Pearl Harbor, Attack on." A Dictionary of American History, in A Dictionary of American History, Cambridge, Mass., Blackwell Reference, 1995, Original Sources. 24 Sep. 2021. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=573AGUKUUQE73NP.

Harvard: Purvis, TL, 'Pearl Harbor, Attack on' in A Dictionary of American History. cited in 1995, A Dictionary of American History, Blackwell Reference, Cambridge, Mass.. Original Sources, retrieved 24 September 2021, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=573AGUKUUQE73NP.