December 7, 1941. “A date,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation, “which will live in infamy.” The surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor began at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time under a clear sky — perfect conditions for the swarms of Japanese fighter pilots to drop their bombs.
The images from that day are apocalyptic. Battleships obliterated, planes destroyed. Smoke. Flames. The next day, as the images of the carnage that killed 2,403 American men, women and children spread throughout the world, Roosevelt declared war on Japan. Not long after that, Italy and Germany declared war on the U.S.