Pearl Harbor Attack Timeline

December 7th, 1941

November 26th, 1941

Japanese Navy left Japan

Adm. Chuichi Nagumo takes command of the Japanese First Air Fleet and begins moving towards Pearl Harbor. The movement was a response to the U.S.’s decision not to lift economic sanctions on Japan.

December 7, 1941

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor

Just before 8 a.m., a swarm of Japanese fighter planes descend on Pearl Harbor and begin dropping bombs. The attack destroys 20 naval ships and more than 300 planes, and more than 2,0000 crew members lose their lives.

December 7, 1941

News of the attack spreads

Evening editions of daily newspapers spread the word. By evening, most of the country knows of the devastating attack.

December 8, 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war with his “Day of Infamy” speech

With a promise to “make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again,” President Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan. Congress approves, and three days later, Germany and Italy formally declare war on the U.S., bringing the country into World War lI.

April 18th, 1942

The Doolittle Raid attacks Tokyo

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle leads 16 American B-25 bombers on a mission to bomb Tokyo. The attack does little damage, but it does weaken the Japanese government’s prestige and shake their confidence.