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Aviation Classics

Pearl Harbor - 75th anniversary

Welcome to Aviation Classics, a new series of high-quality glossy publications centred on the world’s greatest aircraft, the events in which they played crucial roles and those who flew, maintained and supported them. We begin with the Avro Lancaster, a type held in high regard by Bomber Command aircrew and an aircraft still admired by so many. The sight and sound of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s PA474 flying around the country will turn anyone’s head, and can bring a tear to the eye of those with a personal connection as it brings back emotional memories of fallen comrades and family. Over 55,000 Bomber Command aircrew didn't return home and many more were physically and mentally scarred. Ground crew, too, lost their lives with their efforts to keep the aircraft flying.

United Kingdom
Mortons Media Group, Ltd


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pearl harbor: the 75th anniversary

The wall of remembrance at the USS Arizona Memorial will be among the locations for commemorative events which will mark the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. (Courtesy, PA)“Throughout the entire action, and through all the arduous labours which followed, there was never the slightest sign of faltering or of cowardice. The actions of the officers and men were all wholly commendable; their spirit was marvellous; there was no panic, no shirking nor flinching, and words fail in attempting to describe the truly magnificent display of courage, discipline, and devotion to duty of all officers and men.”Pearl Harbor survivorOn December 7, 2016, America and the world will mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a series of commemorative events focused on those taking place…

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(Courtesy, PA)As the first of 353 Japanese aircraft broke through the clouds just a few miles off the coast of Oahu on the morning of December 7, 1941, it brought to an end America’s long-held policy of remaining officially neutral in the devastating war which was engulfing the world.By the end of the offensive which ensued, the US had lost more than 2000 military personnel in a sneak attack, Japan was revelling in what it believed to be a great and decisive tactical victory – and neither could yet imagine the way in which the events of that fateful Sunday had already changed the world.For America, torn between nearly 165 years of isolationism and a growing desire for a global role, the attack on Pearl Harbor sent a unifying wave…

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isolationism american foreign policy before 1941

Against the backdrop of Franklin D Roosevelt’s memorable speech to a joint session of Congress, the United States formally declared war on the Japanese Empire on December 8, 1941 – a direct response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.Not yet 200 years old as a nation, America was now embroiled in the Second World War. It was no stranger to this kind of mass conflict however; in its relatively short history the US had endured the War of Independence, a civil war, involvement in the First World War and several confrontations with European and South American forces as it expanded and established its territory to the west coast and beyond throughout the 19th century.Despite this familiarity with military engagements, it wasn’t until the attack on Pearl Harbor that the US…

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the war in europe the end of american neutrality

A British newspaper vendor holds a sign bearing a simple message: Europe is at war again. The Heinkel He 111, one of the technologically advanced aircraft designed and built in Germany during the 1930s as part of a clandestine rearmament programme, in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles. (Courtesy, Bundesarchiv)As America withdrew back in to isolationism following the Senate’s rejection of the League of Nations, the Republicans would also take control of the White House for more than a decade after Democratic President Woodrow Wilson left office in 1921. By the time his fellow party member Franklin D Roosevelt was elected in 1933, non-interventionism was the dominant school of thought and the new president had to concentrate on dragging America out of the slump that followed the Wall Street…

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the pacific theatre america, japan and the road to war

Japanese experts inspect the scene of the explosion on the railway line – the source of the Mukden Incident in 1931.While European leaders Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were dismantling the peace in Europe, the domination of the Japanese empire in Asia meant America faced the escalating threat of conflict from across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.As in Europe, the rise of nationalism and militarism in Japan was driven by the economic turmoil experienced during the 1920s as a result of post-First World War decline and then later the Wall Street Crash. Japan’s strength lay in its status as a manufacturing and industrial power, but that meant it required huge quantities of raw materials which it simply did not possess. It therefore became dependent on the western nations as its…

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the united states navy

An aerial view of Pearl Harbor Naval Station in May 1940 shows the array of US Navy forces at the base.Roosevelt’s ‘Great White Fleet’ leaves Virginia in December 1907.USS Langley, the first aircraft carrier of the US Navy.America was founded on a tradition of sailing and seafaring activities and the early colonies consisted of large communities of sailors and shipbuilding industries. It’s ‘Old Navy’ – that which existed from the start of the Revolutionary War through to the shortly after the American Civil War – played a crucial role in the eventual establishment of independence, but as the 1800s came towards a close it was clear that the US Navy was no longer fit for purpose and was in desperate need of immediate modernisation.In 1882, Navy Secretary William H Hunt…