Command Posts ran its first Pearl Harbor feature in December of last year.

As we head into the 70th anniversary of the attack, Command Posts will combine last year’s feature with new posts, for an ongoing “Reading and Viewing List.”

Original Documents

This Is Not A Drill

  • This dispatch announced the attack on Pearl Harbor. According to the National Archives, it was received at the Squantum Naval Reserve Aviation Base on December 7, 1941 from the First Naval District.

U.S.S. St. Louis War Diary

  • This is the Dec. 7, 1941, entry in the War Diary of the U.S.S. St. Louis, as well as a note referring to the U.S.S. St. Louis’ status that morning. According to the diary, “at 0756 the J.O.O.W. (Gunner W.G. Wallace, U.S. Navy) observed a large number of dark olive drab planes flying towards Ford Island from the direction of Aiea Landing. These planes dropped bombs on Ford Island and the vicinity.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Date of Infamy” speech

  • Compare the draft with the final to see the power of a few small edits.

Declaration of War

  • Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a declaration of war against Japan. Three days later, on Dec. 11, 1941, he signed declarations of war against Germany and Italy.

Declaring War Against Japan: S. J. Res. 116

  • Senate Joint Resolution 116, signed Dec. 8, 1941, declared war against Japan.

Dec. 8, 1941, House Tally Sheet

  • This is the Tally Sheet of the House of Representatives for Declaration of War Against Japan. If you look closely, under the R section, you can see the one nay—from Jeanette Rankin of Montana.

Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor “Chat”

  • President Franklin Roosevelt was ahead of his time, using the radio to “chat” with America.

Roosevelt and Churchill

“The Senate passed the all-out declaration of war eighty-two to nothing, and the House passed it three hundred eighty-eight to one.”  —F.D.R. to WINANT

  • The correspondence between President Franklin Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill in the days following the attack at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor and the 150th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights

  • Dec. 15, 1941, President Roosevelt addressed the nation, for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Given just a week after the attack at Pearl Harbor, his speech underlined the guaranteed rights of the American people as a threat to Hitler’s vision.

Roosevelt and Churchill, Christmas 1941

  • In late December 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill joined President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, D.C., for the Arcadia Conference. Dec. 24th, they delivered their Christmas greetings to the world, during the ceremony for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.

Cook Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller

  • In 1942, Cook Third Class Doris Miller was honored for his courage at Pearl Harbor. His Navy Cross Citation honored him for “distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941.”

Pearl Harbor Attack Investigation

  • July 20, 1946, saw the release of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Congress of the United States, Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 27, 79th Congress. It’s 600-plus pages long, but worth the time invested to read it.

Yamamoto and the Planning for Pearl Harbor by Mark Stille

  • Japan’s approach in 1941, which consisted of negotiations in parallel with preparations for war, never gave the negotiations any realistic chance of success unless the United States agreed to Japan’s conditions. Thus, increasingly, war became the only remaining option. Yamamoto alone came up with the idea of including the Pearl Harbor attack into Japan’s war plans and, because the attack was so risky, it took great perseverance on his part to get it approved. In a series of meetings on October 17–18, Yamamoto played his ace card. His staff representatives revealed that unless the plan was approved in its entirety Yamamoto and the entire staff of the Combined Fleet would resign. Since to Nagano the notion of going to war without Yamamoto at the helm of the Combined Fleet was simply unthinkable, this threat served to bring the Pearl Harbor debate to a close. The strikeforce (the Kido Butai) departed its anchorage in the Kurile Islands on November 26. The transit was undetected and by the morning of December 7, from a position some 200 miles north of Oahu, six Japanese carriers had begun to launch the first attack wave.

December 7-10, 1941: Luzon Island and “Ineptness” by Scott Walker

  • The Philippines and Hawaii are located on the opposite sides of the international dateline that bisects the Pacific Ocean. Because of this, the Philippines is “one day ahead” of Hawaii, by eighteen hours. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on Sunday morning, December 7, it was already early Monday morning, December 8, in the Philippines. At three o’clock on that dark Monday morning an urgent message reached Manila from Hawaii addressed to Rear Admiral Thomas C. Hart, commander of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet and ranking naval officer in the Philippines. The words were terse: AIR RAID AT PEARL HARBOR—THIS IS NO DRILL. With this shock, military plans and efficiency unraveled in the Philippines with unbelievable speed and ineptness.

70 Years Ago: December 7, 1941 by Jean Sasson

  • December 7 came on a Sunday in 1941. On that cold evening in the United Kingdom, a war exhausted Winston Churchill was sitting with American visitors Ambassador Winant and Special Envoy Harriman at the Chequers residence of the British Prime Minister. When time came for the nine-o’clock news, Churchill kept to his usual routine and turned on his wireless set. The three men listened quietly as the broadcast gave the latest information about the Russian front as well as the British front in Libya. Without elaborating, the newscast finished with a few brief sentences about a Japanese attack on American shipping at Hawaii, before a casual mention about a second attack on some British ships in the Dutch East Indies.

Military Families’ and Civilians’ Reactions to Attack on Pearl Harbor, by Walter Lord

  • As the service families numbly adjusted to war, much of Honolulu carried on as usual. The people in close touch with the Army and Navy knew all too well by now; but for the thousands with little contact—or perhaps out of touch for the weekend—the world was still at peace. . . . Some people tuned in between bulletins, heard only a gospel service or the incidental music that was used to fill in. Reassured, they turned off their sets again. Others harked back to Orson Welles’ broadcast of the Martian invasion . . . they weren’t going to bite on this one.

Walter Lord, Day of Infamy, and an Inspired 12-Year-Old Writer, by Eric Hammel

  • The summer I was twelve, I was marooned in bed for a week with scarlet fever. I can still remember how bored I was. My father bought me something to read. I remember him handing me a paperback book with a photo of the burning USS Arizona emblazoned on the cover. The photo was a red-orange color. The title read Day of Infamy, and the author was identified as Walter J. Lord. . . . At some point, halfway through the book, I had my Eureka moment: This is what I want to do with my life. This is what I wanted to write, and this is how I wanted to write it.

November 28, 1941: Enterprise Leaves Pearl Harbor, by John Wukovits

  • Admiral Halsey guided Task Force 2 out of Pearl Harbor on November 28, 1941, taking every precaution to make it appear as if he were leaving on another training exercise. At 7:00 A.M. on December 4, with his force 200 miles from Wake Island, Halsey launched the twelve Marine fighters, then turned his ships toward Pearl Harbor. If all went well, he would enter the channel at 7:30 A.M. on Sunday, December 7. Inclement weather proved an affable ally for Halsey, as it prevented him from being berthed inside Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attack started. Halsey’s ships steamed safely at sea while Japanese aircraft dropped their bombs on slumbering ships.

A Navy Family’s History of Service, by P.T. Deutermann

  • Check out the Deutermann Family Band of Brothers, at Pearl Harbor, in 1928. Author P.T. Deutermann’s family has a long history of military service.

Standing Ovation to Pearl Harbor Survivors, by Carol Edgemon Hipperson

  • December 7, 2010, marks the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those old enough to remember that fateful Sunday morning in 1941 can tell you in great detail exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Less than 24 hours later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it was “a date which will live in infamy.” He was right.

Military Academy Football and Pearl Harbor

  • November 29, 1941, Army and Navy battled on the football field. The program for that day included a picture of the USS Arizona, with the caption: “A bow on view of the U. S. S. Arizona as she plows into huge swell. It is significant that despite claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs.” Just a week later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Arizona was sunk, and the football players and others at the Academies joined together in support of WWII.

Pearl Harbor Day 2010, by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

  • Within every generation born in America there is the potential of there emerging another “Greatest Generation.” One of us meets almost daily with our youth in the military and working in politics, the other teaches college, and both of us are convinced this current generation does indeed have the “right stuff” preferably for peace, but if need be to defend that which we cherish and value. Though the living memories are fading, we the inheritors of those memories must never forget.


18 WWII Pearl Harbor survivors, from Wisconsin, return and recall their vivid memories one of the most infamous days in American history.

Additional Resources

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

  • After the Day of Infamy: Man-on-the-Street Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor

American Presidency Project

  • Messages, papers, and other documents from the U.S. presidents

Archive Online

  • We found the Pearl Harbor Investigation Report here, as well as a number of other valuable text documents, audio, and static and moving images.

Boston Public Library

  • Here we found information about the hearings, proceedings, exhibits, and so on, related to the Joint Committee on the Investigation of Pearl Harbor. Their online collection features valuable text documents, audio, and static and moving images.

Open CRS

  • Open CRS provides access to Congressional Research Service CRS Reports already in the public domain.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

  • Books, documents, correspondence and more.