Thursday, April 11, 2013

On December 7, 1941, Japan did more than attack Pearl Harbor

One of the interesting facts about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is that on the very same day, December 7, 1941, Japan also attacked several other locations, including Hong Kong, Philippine Islands, Guam, and Wake Island. And the very next morning, Japan attacked Midway Island. All of these attacks have been pretty much ignored, and are not well known, even though President Roosevelt mentioned them by name in his address to Congress on the morning of December 8th, when he asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

When I learned about these other attacks, I was fascinated by how the small nation of Japan was able to secretly expand its military strength without the rest of the world paying much attention. Japan was able  to carry out all these surprise attacks in diverse locations, and do it in less than a 24 hour period!

I am further fascinated that these other attacks are hardly mentioned in the history of this period, perhaps because their attack on Pearl Harbor was so surprising and damaging to the American fleet.

The armada that Japan sent to attack Hawaii was huge, including six aircraft carriers carrying more than 350 attack planes (both high-level bombers, torpedo bombers, fighters, etc.), the pilots and service personnel to man them, plus two submarines which led the attack force across the Pacific, plus tankers for refueling, plus mini-subs that were assigned suicide missions to enter the harbor itself and attack any ships that were not sunk by their aerial attacks.

When war ends, hatred dies slowly. America hated both Japan and Nazi Germany, but the hatred for Japan seemed even deeper, because Japan had invaded our "land" by air without warning, in what was called "a sneak attack,"

It is interesting that in the years since WWII, our relationship with Japan has dramatically changed . . . from hatred to friendship, just as did the relationship between a Japanese pilot, Zenji Abe, and an American Marine, Sgt. Richard Fiske. We decided that this touching story deserved to be written down and preserved.

We tried our best to do that in our book and DVD, "Pearl Harbor Warriors." (See our online pages for full info).
Many years after the war, Zenji Abe and Richard Fiske together
at the USS Arizona Memorial present
their moving 'Roses' ceremony.

Japanese pilot Zenji Abe, on the deck of Japan's flagship carrier, Akagi, as it crosses the Pacific Ocean, on its way to attack Pearl Harbor.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Check out this video I made about the Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.