Once Upon a Time in War is a photographic retrospect of the Great War, World War II, the Cold War, and the War on Terror ++about

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Photograph

TSgt Anglin, wounded in action during the Pearl Harbor attack, holding up the piece of shrapnel that had been removed from his arm/8 Dec 1941

TSgt Anglin, wounded in action during the Pearl Harbor attack, holding up the piece of shrapnel that had been removed from his arm/8 Dec 1941

Source / August 28, 2014 / 135

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Photograph

The Ewa Airfield hanger burning after being struck by the Japanese, 7 Dec 1941

The Ewa Airfield hanger burning after being struck by the Japanese, 7 Dec 1941

Source / January 28, 2014 / 41

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Video

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives: 

Yesterday, December 7th, 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 its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of 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. I regret to tell you that 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.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today 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. But always will our whole nation 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 that 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 it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

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, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

December 07, 2013, 5:00pm / 114

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Photograph

A burning aircraft on the airfield during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

A burning aircraft on the airfield during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

Source / December 07, 2013 / 146

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Navy sailors evacuate the USS California after the ship caught on fire and began to sink/7 December 1941.

Navy sailors evacuate the USS California after the ship caught on fire and began to sink/7 December 1941.

Source / December 07, 2013 / 118

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Photograph

Source / December 07, 2013 / 76

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Quote
No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not foretell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured accurately the martial might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all…We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force. The British Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the United States bound together with every scrap of their life and strength, were, according to my lights, twice or even thrice the force of their antagonists. No doubt it would take a long time. I expected terrible forfeits in the East; but all this would be merely a passing phase. United we could subdue everybody else in the world. Many disasters, immeasurable cost and tribulation lay ahead, but there was no more doubt about the end.

Silly people, and there were many, not only in enemy countries, might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand blood-letting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyse their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people. But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before – that the United States is like “a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.” Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.

— Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the Pearl Harbor attack and America finally joining the war, The Grand Alliance

December 07, 2013, 1:00pm / 232

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Photograph

The forward magazine of USS Arizona exploding after being hit by a Japanese bomb as seen from the deck of USS Solace, 7 December 1941

The forward magazine of USS Arizona exploding after being hit by a Japanese bomb as seen from the deck of USS Solace, 7 December 1941

Source / December 07, 2013 / 122

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David Birnbaum

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