Pearl Harbor History

Take a deep dive into the attack on December 7th, 1941, when the Japanese Imperial Navy conducted a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Learn more about the U.S. leaders that were involved in making the decisions, a timeline of the events that took place that fateful day, as well as information about the U.S. ships and naval vessels that were found in battle. Join us on a journey to take a closer look at the tragedy that shaped America’s entry into World War II.


On December 7th, 1941, a day that has been embedded in our collective memory, we explore the timeline of the Pearl Harbor attack and how it eventually led to the U.S. joining World War II. Get a detailed look at the key figures involved, as well as the sequence of events that unfolded.

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It all started on the fateful morning of December 7, 1941, which led to the beginning of World War II. Now, more than 82 years later, Pearl Harbor has many stories to tell. Visitors to the historic site can learn more about the attack, the harbor's legacy, and the efforts to protect and preserve it.

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More than one ship was sitting in the harbor that day. In fact, eight battleships, three cruisers, and four destroyers were there when the bombs started to fall. Some sunk, sustained minor damage, or returned Japanese fire. Discover how these fine ships played a vital role on the "date that would live in infamy."

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Any event that looms as large in the timeline of American history as the attack on Pearl Harbor is bound to leave a number of leaders that define it. The more you discover, the more likely it is that you’ll come across certain names—on both sides of the attack. Here are some that you’ll definitely hear about as you dig deeper into the history.

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