This remarkable port, home to the great US Pacific Fleet, has been called "majestic," one of the greatest harbors in the Pacific. In fact, it's long been the envy of every nation that tried to control it. The sheltered blue-green oasis glitters with scenic, historic, and strategic importance - importance that predates the attack that drew the United States into World War II. Long before the morning of December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor had been captivating people with its dramatic beauty and provocative history.
Just before 8:00 am that Sunday morning, many of the sailors aboard naval vessels moored at Pearl Harbor were getting ready for leave and preparing for church services. In a few minutes, the colors would be raised on more than 185 naval vessels throughout the harbor. On Ford Island and around O'ahu, soldiers, Marines, and sailors at Army and Marine airfields and naval air stations were going through similar military routines.
The human toll of the war was unprecedented. The U.S. military lost over 106,000 in the Pacific; 2.1 million Japanese sailors, soldiers, and airmen died. From 1937, when Japan occupied China, to 1945 over 20 million civilians in the Pacific and Southeast Asian theaters died from military attacks, massacres, disease, and starvation.
Last updated: August 4, 2017