Life.com: Pearl Harbor: December 7,1941
December 7th, 2010
03:49 PM ET

Pearl Harbor day: Looking back 'on a date which will live in infamy'

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 - "a date which will live in infamy," President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said at the time - was a defining moment in American and world history that led to the outbreak of World War II.

Japan effectively declared war on the United States on that day, in a move that many Americans - then and now - considered unprovoked. But Japan considered the attack inevitable for a number of political and economic reasons, making the conflict more complicated than generally acknowledged.

Images from Life.com commemorating the anniversary include a proposed draft of Roosevelt's "infamous" speech, scenes from Pearl Harbor on the day itself and America's reaction in the days to follow.

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Filed under: History • Japan • Military
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Yep

    America should have nuked the whole damn island instead of a couple of little villages!

    December 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      Big deal? They retaliate by burning alive hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Nagasake and Hiroshima. I feel sorry for THEM.

      December 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ham Sandwich

      too bad u werent on it.

      December 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veteran

      It was war. Pearl Harbor was a military base. Warming was sent but deemed not priority. Though it was awful that so many died at Pearl Harbor, it was a military target. Hiroshima was not a military target. We should have bombed a couple military bases but NOT cities full of civilians.

      December 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • tt725

      Here's a twist; my father-in-law lives with us. He was a Polish Army sergeant captured and interred by Russia in 1939 (Siberia). Pearl Harbor has become a symbol of his release (after 2 years). I happen to be a retired US serviceman, but this 95 year old man who was proud to kick butt as a tank commander at Monte Cassino in 1944, and eventually made it to America in the early 50s, does have a very slightly different slant on 12/7/1941. And after he took a deep breath of remembrance today, I can assure that he absolutely understands and respects the significance of this date to all Americans.

      December 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RUFFNUTT

    look at those women figherfighters, now they know how to handle a hose..

    December 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Disappointed

    Clearly, this day won't live in infamy. It's not even one of the main CNN articles. I had to go through a couple of pages to find this link. How sad.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GAREYMS

    You folks down south seem to forget that WWII started 2 years before Pearl Harbor.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rene'

      Not offiially. It was called "The Great European War".

      December 7, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • northerndoug

      Rene' – Don't kid yourself dude, it was WWII long before the mighty US entered. In fact, the US was the last country to enter the war. Europe was fully engulfed, so was N.Africa and all of eastern Asia. The only inhabited continent uninvolved was S America. Aussie and NZ were in, so was Canada. The German air force was all ready defeated and N Africa was essentially won, and while i will not deny the entry of the US on the side of the Allies ended the war years earlier than would have happened otherwise, Germany would have been defeated regardless.

      December 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Actually northerndoug,the war against Germany was won in the East,that is,the Steppes of Southern Russia. That's where the Germans had 60% of it's armed forces fighting and subsequently decimated.

      December 8, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel

    Tragically enough,today this country's following the self same policies that country followed then with the same devastating results. Some things don't change! Our Afghanistan today is their China of yesteryear!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim in Georgia

    A day that will live in infamy...
    The day my wife divorced me.
    Bummer on all fronts. 🙁

    December 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • allison

      Sorry to hear, jim. May life treat you better from now on.

      December 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Teddy

    It was the RIGHT decision to nuke Hiroshima & Nagasaki because projections say that if we hadn't, 50,000 more American soldiers would have died. So don't give me this kumbaya lib BS.

    December 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sshawd

      Probably closer to 1,000,000

      December 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. padi176715

    The combat photographers who took the pictures deserve a lot of credit. The women firefighters and MA3 Miller were denied their proper due in the awarding of medals for heroism. It was war, it was then and this is now. Let us do what we can to stop the wars of today and try to prevent wars tomorrow.

    December 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tt725

    Here's a twist; my father-in-law lives with us. He was a Polish Army sergeant captured and interred by Russia in 1939 (Siberia). Pearl Harbor has become a symbol of his release (after 2 years). I happen to be a retired US serviceman, but this 95 year old man who was proud to kick butt as a tank commander at Monte Cassino in 1944, and eventually made it to America in the early 50s, does have a very slightly different slant on 12/7/1941. And after he took a deep breath of remembrance today, I can assure that he absolutely understands and respects the significance of this date to all Americans.

    (If this is a dupe, I'm still trying to add this to the end of discussion rather than replying to someone's post; hmppfh!

    December 7, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jimmy the Iowa Kid

    the nuke had to be done, by nuking all them slant eyes, it saved our soilders! Go usa! lol

    December 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. alamodragon

    I'm in the Navy and know the importance of today. It's in our history, it's the blood that this country has shed that continues spill due to thinking out of the box. War is not something of a chess game anymore. Today's warfare is so precise and lethal that we could take out exactly who we want instead of making another mistake like Hiroshima and Nagasake. Politics run the military now and it's always our fault if we push the bar to make a "military statement". We prepare for war everyday in the military, running drills, qualifying for war readiness on our ships out at sea and we have yet to make a dent in this current war with terrorism.

    Pearl Harbor will NEVER be forgotten in the ranks of our military members. My take on this history will only be another one of the voices that doesn't get noticed due to being politically correct in resolving war. We can never make the mistake of retaliating with nuclear warfare but if we don't do something soon, we'll be conducting operations for World War III very soon.

    December 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. leemsquirm

    The US got a good well-deserved buttkicking for colonizing the hawaiian islands. Look on the map to see just how far out Hawaii is from mainland USA.

    December 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Victor Hess

    I personally salute and thank ALL World War II vets, civilians, scientists and anyone during that time who did their part to stop the violent, senseless, forceful attempted takeover of so many innocent people and their homelands. Freedom. Thanks to all the Allies. If it happens again, the good will rise up and repeat.

    December 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. that day now

    exists like a Bob Ross painting.

    December 8, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. that day now

    if i told you, you would cry.
    so just look at me
    and sigh.
    and
    know
    .

    December 8, 2010 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
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