Battleship Era

December 7, 1941: Japan Launches a Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor

Dec 7, 2017
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack
Wikimedia commons / Official U.S. Navy Photograph NH 50930

In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The raid killed more than 2,400 Americans and prompted the United States to enter World War II.  Torpedoes and bombs sank four U.S. battleships, including the USS West Virginia, which lost two officers and 103 crew members.