Pearl Harbor: Did FDR Know?

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"For the United States, World War II lasted 1,351 days, but the nation's greatest defeat took only 110 minutes. In about two hours, Japanese planes from the strike force Kido Butai hit hard at the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor and at other military installations scattered across the Hawaiian island of Oahu" (La Forte xi).

A paralyzing blow struck Pearl Harbor. Japanese bombers, winging in from distant aircraft carriers, attacked on the "Black Sunday" morning of December 7, 1941. On December 4, silent and undetected several hundred miles northwest of Hawaii, Japan's sprawling flotilla of nearly three dozen ships pivoted from its easterly course to a southeasterly bearing. On the morning of December 6, they completed their final refueling. December 7, just before 6:00A.M., 183 planes had lifted from the decks of six carriers and were shaping their triangular formations for the first attack wave. Fifty-one dive-bombers made up the high squadron, with forty-nine level bombers below, and forty torpedo planes below them.

The second attack wave had been launched about an hour later, about 350 aircrafts. For more than an hour, bombs and bullets pelted down on the un-maneuverable American battleships. (The Pearl Harbor Attack) The thump of exploding torpedoes, the shriek of the bombs, the spit of bullets, the licking flames and oily black smoke over "Battleship Row", where the USS Arizona exploded and the USS Oklahoma lay belly up. Bleeding, mangled, charred, the wounded cried out in agony. Corpses floated in the harbor and came to rest nose down in the sand. When the last Japanese plane soared off, eighteen U.S. naval vessels including eight battleships had been sunk or heavily damaged. More than 180 aircrafts were destroyed, and another 120 crippled. 2,403 men were dead - 1,103 of them entombed in the battleship "Arizona", which sank...