The 1941 Pearl Harbor Day Experience

USS Arizona Memorial

“Attention every station and all the ships at sea. The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor by air. This is not a drill.”

US Flag Over USS Memorial

How many movies have centered around the events of Dec. 7th 1941? They all seem to start out with sailors, usually officers and their wives and girlfriends at a dance. Suddenly there is an announcement all the men have to report to duty, the Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor.

Here however I found original recordings of the broadcasts from December 7th, 1941 and the days that followed. Featured are cuts from congressional debate, if you can call it that, following FDR’s request for a declaration of war. If you think Congress sounds kind of crazy today, give this a listen.

Additionally radio reports demonstrate just how astonished and speculative the authorities were the time.

USS Missouri BB 63

A special guest interview is conducted with my 90 year old father in law, who was a teenage boy in Manila that day, then Dec. 8th 1941 due to the position of the Philippines across the date line.  The Japanese attacked there the same time as the attack in Hawaii.

During my own narrative I could not help but recall all the family stories that came with that event, like Sept. 11th 2001, the day is seared into the memory of all who were there or sat by the radio that Sunday. The production is about 34 minutes.


USS Bowfin SS 287

Washington Goes to War; The Extraordinary of the Transformation of a City and a Nation, David Brinkley, 1988 Knopf Publishing

Implacable Foes; The War in the Pacific 1944-45, Waldo Heinrichs and Marc Gallicchio, 2017 Oxford University Press

Day of Infamy, 1983, Kalmar Records




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