Pearl Harbor

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Al Brick for Movietone News, “When ‘Arizona’s’ magazines exploded there was a roar that could be heard for miles. Then she was still.” December 7, 1941, (1406.2005)

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Kelso Daly, “Brought from his bed by the thunder of exploding bombs, this pajama-clad islander has rushed out on his terrace to scan with binculars smoke-swept scene. Back and forth Jap planes roared, while at Pearl Harbor other bombs were falling from other planes,” December 7, 1941 (1489.2005)


This Is How Some New Yorkers Reacted to War News
From time immemorial, the populace has always gathered in the public square at an announcement of a national emergency. These New Yorkers obeyed instinct to gather in Times Square last night, although they could have learned more listening to their radios. Photo by Leo Lieb.

Diplomats at the Japanese Consulate in New York hastily packed their papers in suitcases when they learned of the war. Photo by Wide World.

A cop was sent to the Nippon Club to lock the door so that no more Japanese could hang out there. PM Photo by Irving Haberman.

Ken Chow, a Chinese student reacted this way when reading a paper in Times Square. Photo by Wide World.


PM, December 8, 1941

Civilian Defense Chiefs of the City Get Ready
Mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s Emergency Board on Defense held a rush meeting at City Hall to consider methods of preventing sabotage, riot and mob violence against Japanese nationals. Left to right: Chief Inspector Louis F. Costuma, Fire Commissioner Patrick Walsh, Police Commissioner Lewis J. Valentine, the Mayor and Dock Commissioner John McKenzie. Public Works Commissioner Irving M.A. Huie was also there but was talking with other city officials across the room. PM Photo by Irving Haberman

These sailors were spending a quiet Sunday at the YMCA when they heard the war news that called them back to their ships immediately or to duty at their shore bases. Photo by Morris Gordon, PM.

Toitiro Takamutu was a correspondent here for the powerful Japanese newspaper Nichi-Nichi. Here he is explaining to reporters outside the Japanese Consulate just how it all happened.

77 years ago today, December 7, 1941, (Sunday, around 1 PM, in New York) the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii was attacked by over 300 Japanese planes. The next day, shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Day in Infamy” speech, “Yesterday, December 7, 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 U.S. declared war on Japan. In New York City many people gathered in Times Square to read news bulletins. Almost immediately Mayor La Guardia ordered Japanese subjects in New York to remain in their homes. La Guardia said on WNYC: “I want to warn the people of this city that we are in an extreme crisis… I now want to appeal to the people of our city to be calm… You must remain cool and yet determined. We are aware of the danger ahead but unafraid. In the meantime know that your city’s government is on the job and looking after your welfare and comfort and safety… So, in the meantime, good night, and we will remain on the job.”

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Weegee, [“Japs Bomb Hawaii”], 1941 (15232.1993)

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Weegee, [After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Times Square, New York], 1941 (15234.1993)

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