December 7, 2012

In Focus: World War II: Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the United States, bombing warships and military targets in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked the naval base in two waves, strafing targets, dropping armor-piercing bombs, and launching torpedoes toward U.S. battleships and cruisers. The U.S. forces were unprepared, waking to the sounds of explosions and scrambling to defend themselves. The entire preemptive attack lasted only 90 minutes, and in that time, the Japanese sunk four battleships and two destroyers, pummeled 188 aircraft, and damaged even more buildings, ships and airplanes. (Two of the battleships were later raised and returned to service.) Some 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack; another 1,250 were injured, and a huge shock was dealt to United States. After the attack, Japan officially declared war on the United States. The next day President Roosevelt delivered his famous “infamy” speech, and signed a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Within days, Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy also declared war on the United States, and the U.S. reciprocated soon after. (This entry is Part 7 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)

See more. [Images: AP, U.S. Navy]

December 7, 2011
Unflinching Portraits of Pearl Harbor Survivors



Seven torpedoes and two bombs struck the USS West Virginia. John Rauschkolb (above), then just 20 years old, felt the USS West Virginia shake violently as the torpedoes slammed into its portside below where  he stood as a Navy signalman. He witnessed comrades die within feet of  him and recalls explosions occurring in spots where he had just been  standing. The crew managed to counterflood a portion of the ship to  prevent it from capsizing, but the USS West Virginia sunk into  the muddy harbor floor, its deck left just above the water’s surface. In  a small boat, Rauschkolb made his way to the even worse stricken USS Arizona, where he helped recover bodies.

More than 100 men on the USS West Virginia died.  Rauschkolb was reported missing in action. His family, in Belleville,  Illinois, held memorial services for him on December 19, 1941, and then  received a telegram: “Navy Department is pleased to advise you later  reports received indicate that your son, previously reported lost, is a  survivor. The great unnecessary anxiety caused you is deeply regretted.”  After agony, ecstasy. The next night, Rauschkolb, reunited with his  family and friends, celebrated his 21st birthday.

Rauschkolb was discharged from the Navy in 1977 after 39 years of  service. In Pearl Harbor, on the 65th anniversary of the assault, he  shook hands in a gesture of peace with Japanese war veteran Takeshi  Maeda, who fired a torpedo into the USS West Virginia.


The attack on Pearl Harbor took place 70 years ago today. In 1948, Sherman Miles looked back on the tragedy in the pages of The Atlantic. Read More.

Unflinching Portraits of Pearl Harbor Survivors

Seven torpedoes and two bombs struck the USS West Virginia. John Rauschkolb (above), then just 20 years old, felt the USS West Virginia shake violently as the torpedoes slammed into its portside below where he stood as a Navy signalman. He witnessed comrades die within feet of him and recalls explosions occurring in spots where he had just been standing. The crew managed to counterflood a portion of the ship to prevent it from capsizing, but the USS West Virginia sunk into the muddy harbor floor, its deck left just above the water’s surface. In a small boat, Rauschkolb made his way to the even worse stricken USS Arizona, where he helped recover bodies.

More than 100 men on the USS West Virginia died. Rauschkolb was reported missing in action. His family, in Belleville, Illinois, held memorial services for him on December 19, 1941, and then received a telegram: “Navy Department is pleased to advise you later reports received indicate that your son, previously reported lost, is a survivor. The great unnecessary anxiety caused you is deeply regretted.” After agony, ecstasy. The next night, Rauschkolb, reunited with his family and friends, celebrated his 21st birthday.

Rauschkolb was discharged from the Navy in 1977 after 39 years of service. In Pearl Harbor, on the 65th anniversary of the assault, he shook hands in a gesture of peace with Japanese war veteran Takeshi Maeda, who fired a torpedo into the USS West Virginia.

The attack on Pearl Harbor took place 70 years ago today. In 1948, Sherman Miles looked back on the tragedy in the pages of The Atlantic. Read More.

(via mabelmoments)

9:04am
  
Filed under: pearl harbor history 
August 1, 2011
World War II: Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the United States, bombing warships and military targets in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked the naval base in two waves, strafing targets, dropping armor-piercing bombs, and launching torpedoes toward U.S. battleships and cruisers. The U.S. forces were unprepared, waking to the sounds of explosions and then scrambling to defend themselves. The entire preemptive attack was over within 90 minutes, and in that time, the Japanese sunk four battleships and two destroyers, destroyed 188 aircraft, and damaged even more buildings, ships and airplanes (two of the battleships were later raised and returned to service). Some 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack; another 1,250 were injured, and a huge shock was dealt to United States. After the attack, Japan officially declared war on the United States, which was followed the next day by President Roosevelt’s famous “infamy” speech, and his signing of a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Within days, Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy also declared war on the United States, and the U.S. reciprocated soon after.
Above: The USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in this December 7, 1941 photo. (AP Photo, U.S. Navy)

See more visceral photos from In Focus, or check out the rest of our World War II photo retrospective.

World War II: Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the United States, bombing warships and military targets in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked the naval base in two waves, strafing targets, dropping armor-piercing bombs, and launching torpedoes toward U.S. battleships and cruisers. The U.S. forces were unprepared, waking to the sounds of explosions and then scrambling to defend themselves. The entire preemptive attack was over within 90 minutes, and in that time, the Japanese sunk four battleships and two destroyers, destroyed 188 aircraft, and damaged even more buildings, ships and airplanes (two of the battleships were later raised and returned to service). Some 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack; another 1,250 were injured, and a huge shock was dealt to United States. After the attack, Japan officially declared war on the United States, which was followed the next day by President Roosevelt’s famous “infamy” speech, and his signing of a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Within days, Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy also declared war on the United States, and the U.S. reciprocated soon after.

Above: The USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in this December 7, 1941 photo. (AP Photo, U.S. Navy)

See more visceral photos from In Focus, or check out the rest of our World War II photo retrospective.

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