The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor arguably remains the single most important event in American military history, leading as it did to the United States’ entrance into World War II. Although hardly flawless in their execution, the Japanese landed a very heavy blow against America’s military on the morning of 7 December 1941. A substantial portion of the U.S. Navy’s battle line was either sunk or damaged at its moorings, and American airpower in Hawaii was crushed. Thousands of U.S. servicemen lost their lives. Most important, Pearl Harbor wounded the pride and shook American confidence to its core. The next six months would witness a harrowing series of Japanese victories that were only definitively checked at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
Pearl Harbor's Overlooked Answer
From official investigations to conspiracy theories, efforts to account for how the United States was caught so unprepared on 7 December 1941 have almost all failed to take into account that the attackers were wielding a quickly evolving aircraft carrier force that would revolutionize naval warfare.
By Jonathan Parshall and J. Michael Wenger