Remembering Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941.
The Anniversary of America’s entry into WWII.
Remember. A great deal has changed in geopolitics and world history in the last three-quarters of a century. Old enemies became friends and alliances have come and gone. But we at Browning think it is still important to periodically reflect on the sacrifices made by those who gave much, and even all, to ensure the freedoms we have today. And few examples are more poignant that the events at Pearl Harbor nearly 80 years ago.
America Goes to War. In the long march of world history, the most profound event of the 20th Century would have to be the Second World War. It was WWII that reshaped the global landscape in politics, social, economics, and technology and laid the foundations for the world in which we live today. While the multiple regional conflicts that evolved in the second global war of the 20th Century began in the 1930s, it is December 7, 1941, that marks the turning point in America’s direct participation. We honor and revere the brave men and women of "The Greatest Generation" who rose to the challenge of those times. Below is a brief historical overview along with a few highlighted historical connections related to John Browning and his contributions to the war effort.
You can listen to the actual radio news bulletin broadcast on December 7, 1941 reporting the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Manila here (this page is not afiliated with Browning in any way): https://crockettlives.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/remember-pearl-harbor/
While the critically important US aircraft carriers fortunately were not in port at the time of the dawn attack, numerous US battleships and other smaller ships were severely damaged or destroyed, including the battleship USS Arizona. Loss of life in the Pearl Harbor raid alone totaled nearly 2,500 US military personnel, plus many civilian casualties in the surrounding areas.
US public outrage and political reaction to the surprise attacks was both swift and certain. The following day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of the US Congress, asking for and receiving a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Shortly thereafter Nazi Germany declared war in the United States and America instantly found herself facing threats in both Europe and the Pacific.
You can hear FRD’s address to Congress here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roosevelt_Pearl_Harbor.ogg
America’s direct involvement in WWII began early on that Sunday morning in December 1941 and would continue through the following years, culminating in the formal surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945, followed the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945.
In the coming months we’ll post a series of historical articles on how John M. Browning-designed military firearms were used in some of the pivotal moments of this epic global struggle that reshaped the second half of the 20th Century and still echo today in our modern world.
We hope you’ll find them interesting and educational.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- Pearl Harbor Speech December 8 1941To the Congress of the United States.
Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.
Article copyright Browning November 2016. Photos are in the public domain, DOD images or used with permission. Written by Browning staff writer, Scott Engen.