Today, December 7, in 1941, at 7:48 a.m., Hawaii time, the Imperial Japanese Navy carried a strike out on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (then a territory, not yet a state).
The strike was intended by Japan as a preventative measure to keep the United States from interfering with military actions that Japan had planned for southeast Asia, and resulted in the sinking of four U.S. battleships, damage to four more, the sinking of two other ships, damage to nine more ships, the destruction of 188 aircraft, the damage of 159 aircraft, 1,178 military personnel wounded, 35 civilians wounded, 68 civilians killed, and 2,403 military personnel killed.
Instead of the intended effect of keeping the U.S. from interfering, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” said Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, apocryphally.
Later that day, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his famous “Infamy Speech” to a joint session of the U.S. Congress and urged them to declare war on Japan. They did so less than an hour later. They followed by declaring war on Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, and America entered World War II.