Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor 75 Years Ago

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U.S.S Arizona

The attack on Pearl Harbor occurred 75 years ago on the morning of December 7, 1941. Just before 8:00 a.m., hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II.

2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy.”

The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941 in alliance with the United Kingdom. Subsequent events lead Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to declare war on the U.S., and war was waged with those countries on December 11, 1941.

In February, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered nearly 130,000 people of Japanese ancestry from their homes along the West Coast to incarceration camps at the interior of the country. More than half of the internees were United States citizens. The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans.

It is well known that investigations later found little evidence of Japanese disloyalty and concluded the incarceration had been the product of racism, recommending that the government pay reparations to the survivors. According to Wikipedia: “In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act, which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 to each individual camp survivor. The legislation admitted that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.”

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