The whole free world should remember Pearl Harbor

December 7 marks the 66th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is certainly a day which will live in infamy, but it’s also a day that the free world should remember with gratitude. Up until December 7, while America had been helping England in sub rosa fashion, she had otherwise ostensibly sat out the war in Europe. The only country still fighting was England. Otherwise, Western, Northern, Central and parts of Eastern Europe were under Nazi control, while North Africa was held by the Italians and the Nazis. Every nation but England had either welcomed the Nazis, given up, or been destroyed into submission — and the sad truth was that England could not hold out much longer.

As John Meacham describes in the fascinating and delightful Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, Churchill was desperately working on Roosevelt to try to get ever more American support, including an open declaration of war, but time was running out and Roosevelt was playing coy. It was the devastating Japanese attack on the Pacific Fleet that catapulted a formerly unwilling America into the War. The Japanese had awoken the wrong sleeping tiger. Although there were many times during the course of the War that it looked as if nothing could turn back the Nazi and Japanese tide, it is clear in retrospect that Japan’s decision to bring America into the conflict sounded the death knell for those totalitarian nations.

And so I remember Pearl Harbor and the 2,386 Americans who died that day. But as a citizen of the free world, I also remember Pearl Harbor as the day the sleeping American tiger was unleashed, so that it could defeat the dark stain spreading across the world.

U.S.S. Arizona
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Comments

  1. freetime says

    As trajic as the bombing was, what always strikes me as the essential Americaness (can that be a word?) about the event is what happened after.

    The following is taken from a source that I have misplaced. My apologies to the author:

    ” By February 1942 the Navy had the battleships Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee; cruisers Honolulu, Helena, and Raleigh; destroyers Helm and Shaw; seaplane tender Curtiss, repair ship Vestal and the floating drydock YFD-2 back into service or at least repaired to the point that they could get to the mainland under their own steam for final repairs.”

    “They salvaged equipment from five more battleships, two destroyers and a minelayer. In 1942, they refloated the battleships Nevada, California and West Virginia and the minelayer Oglala. These were all returned to active service in the Pacific. Nevada was part of the Omaha Beach landings.”

    “Finally, they righted and refloated the CAPSIZED battleship Oklahoma, partially righted the CAPSIZED target ship Utah and recovered useable material from Arizona. “(can you imagine the engineering accumen involved in righting and refloating a battleship. These were people who somehow missed learning the word CAN’T in their upbringing)

    “After the attack, Japenese Admiral Yamamoto (the man who planned and organized the attack) said. “I fear tht we have awakened a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve.”

    Would anyone say that about us today?

  2. says

    The vets of WWII are fast becoming a fading memory. It is a shame that the legacy of freedom that they sacrificed for is being eroded by a stupid war and a stupid man. There is no axis of evil like there was on December 7th, 1941. It’s no wonder that the current generation doesn’t have a clue. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  3. jj says

    The engineering required to repair the damage done by Pearl Harbor was impressive, yes – but not nearly as impressive as the fact that a mere 44 months after we got hauled into the war, Berlin and Tokyo were smoking ruins; the armies, navies and air forces they had directed and deployed were gone; and their leaders were either dead or awaiting trial.

    There was a time you attacked the USA at your peril.

  4. says

    Although there were many times during the course of the War that it looked as if nothing could turn back the Nazi and Japanese tide, it is clear in retrospect that Japan’s decision to bring America into the conflict sounded the death knell for those totalitarian nations.

    America’s tradition and national character is American Total War. To forsake Total War for international harmony and appeasement is to forsake one’s ancestors and saviors.

    There was a time you attacked the USA at your peril.

    There was a time when America would go to war over Americans lives at risk or American rights being violated by foreign powers.

    Now if a couple hundred Marines die in Lebanon due to Iranian forces, people said “it’s time to go”. The Cold War was far more pernicious on the American psyche than it is given credit for. It was not just the 60s, after all, or rather it was the 60s because of the Cold War. Generations are molded by what wars they win or lose. If a generation lost a war, then it becomes crap. If a generation wins a war, then it becomes great.

    As simple as that. Obviously the current generations of Americans alive, don’t think it is a good thing to win wars anymore.

  5. says

    Book,

    Great post. I will cross post to your article from my Blog on Pearl Harbor.

    I remember the day well.. I was 12 years old and our family was in shock.

    “Remember Pearl Harbor” was a rallying call for years after VJ (Victory in Japan) day.

    We would do well to remember that treachery against our beloved country is well under way by Islamic Terrorism, internally as well as externally.

    ExP(Jack)

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