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Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

This new special edition explores the dramatic events of 7 December 1941, which propelled the US into the war. Inside: - How Japan and the US became enemies - Life on the base prior to the raid - An hour-by-hour account of the attack itself - Real-life stories from those who were there - The US's devastating revenge on Japan - Pearl Harbor's enduring legacy

País:
United Kingdom
Idioma:
English
Editor:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
Periodicitat:
One-off
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5 min.
it was like being engulfed in a tornado

Early in the morning of Sunday 7 Dec ember 1941, the inhabitants of the Hawaiian island of Oahu were woken by the drone of aircraft engines, the rattle of guns and the sound of bombs exploding. At 7.48am, 183 aircraft swooped in low over the sea. Torpedo bombers had surprised the United States Pacific Fleet at harbour, and within minutes all eight battleships moored there had been hit. Meanwhile, dive bombers screamed down over the island’s airbases. A further 170 aircraft roared in to attack a short while later in a second wave, so that by the time the radio announcer told Hawaiians what was happening, the cream of the Pacific Fleet lay sunk or crippled, while on the airfields, 188 aircraft were destroyed and a further 159 damaged. Witnesses were astounded…

18 min.
the gathering storm

In mid-September 1931, Japanese army officers involved in a plot to annex Manchuria – a northern Chinese region long coveted by Japan – received a warning telegram from Tokyo: “PLOT EXP OSED. ACT BEFORE TATEKAWA’S ARRIVAL.” Japan’s civil government had not authorised the plot, and had sent Major General Yoshitsugu Tatekawa to prevent it. Forewarned, on the evening of 18 September, when Tatekawa’s train arrived in the city of Mukden, the army officers whisked him off to the best teahouse in town, the Literary Chrysan themum, where Tatekawa was happily plied with tea, sake, a bed and a geisha. At 10.20pm, with the government’s envoy otherwise engaged, the plotters exploded a small bomb next to the Japanese-controlled railway tracks near Mukden. Although it did little damage, the Japanese army swiftly accused…

6 min.
the road to pearl harbor

1 September 1939 Nazi Germany invades Poland. In a lightning six-week “Blitzkrieg” campaign the country is conquered and its capital, Warsaw, is bombed and reduced to rubble. In a prearranged plan, Stalin’s Soviet Union occupies eastern Poland and the two totalitarian powers divide the country between them. 3 September 1939 Britain and France, fulfilling a guarantee to Poland, declare war on Germany after the expiry of an ultimatum demanding withdrawal is ignored by Hitler. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts the declaration of war on BBC radio. His announcement coincides with the war’s first air-raid warning – a false alarm. 9 April 1940 Germany invades Norway and Denmark. Denmark is subdued within hours, but Norway fiercely resists sea and air landings. British and French troops land in Norwegian ports, but withdraw after a badly bungled campaign.…

12 min.
life on pearl harbor

In 1941, Private James Jones had one overriding ambition: to become a great American novelist. Unable to afford college, the future author of the war classic From Here to Eternity had enlisted in the army and been shipped to Hawaii. One of 30,000 US soldiers – known as “dogfaces” – stationed there to protect the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Jones had wangled himself a role in the orderly room at Schofield Barracks. With its desks and typewriters, it was an excellent place to look busy while he was actually typing out short stories and poems and mailing them to literary magazines on the mainland. “Now that I’m a clerk in the orderly room, I’ve been spending all my spare time in there, writing,” he told his brother in a…

9 min.
preparation

APRIL/MAY 1940 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of Japan’s Combined Fleet, first conceives the idea of attacking Pearl Harbor “to give a fatal blow to the enemy fleet”. 7 JANUARY 1941 In his cabin aboard the battleship Nagato in Hiroshima Bay, Yamamoto composes a letter to Admiral Koshiro Oikawa, navy minister, in which he writes that a conflict with the US and Britain is “inevitable”. Therefore, says Yamamoto, “we should do our very best at the outset of the war with the United States… to decide the fate of the war on the very first day”. This would be best achieved by a “vigorous” attack on Pearl Harbor. 27 JANUARY Joseph Grew, the US ambassador to Japan, wires Washington with a warning he’s received from multiple sources that, in the event of conflict, the Japanese will…

1 min.
shigeru fukudome

Rear-Admiral Shigeru Fukudome served as Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s chief of staff from 1940 until April 1941. He said the idea of attacking Pearl Harbor was first mooted in early 1940. “[Yamamoto] had studied the attack plan strenuously and thoroughly,” he told his US captors in 1945. “His confidence was so great that he once told me: ‘If this plan should fail, it would mean defeat in the war.’ He would not have taken such a risk if he had not been fully confident of success.” Fukudome didn’t sail with the task force, but he tracked their progress from naval staff HQ, ready to order them back to Japan if the element of surprise was lost en route to Hawaii. “The general attitude was to take no more chances than absolutely necessary,”…