On This Day, Dec. 7, 1941, ‘A Day That Will Live in Infamy . . .’
1941 – The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II.
The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. There were simultaneous Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
From the standpoint of the defenders, the attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one (Arizona) were later raised, and six of the eight battleships were returned to service and went on to fight in the war.
The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.
1431 – In Paris, Henry VI of England was crowned King of France.
1732 – The original Covent Garden Theatre Royal (now the Royal Opera House) was opened.
1787 – Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution becoming the first of the United States.
1796 – John Adams was elected to be the second president of the United States.
1836 – Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president of the United States.
1907 – At London’s National Sporting Club, Eugene Corri became the first referee to officiate from inside a boxing ring.
1925 – Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 150-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 25 and 2/5 seconds. He went on to play “Tarzan” in several movies.
1926 – The gas operated refrigerator was patented by The Electrolux Servel Corporation.
1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta killed 119 people. It was America’s worst hotel fire disaster. The hotel founder, W. Frank Winecoff, was also killed in the fire.
1971 – Libya announced the nationalization of British Petroleum’s assets.
1972 – Apollo 17 was launched at Cape Canaveral. It was the last U.S. moon mission.
1972 – Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant. The man was then shot and killed by her bodyguards.
1982 – Charlie Brooks Junior, a convicted murderer, became the first prisoner in the U.S. to be executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville, TX.
1983 – Madrid, Spain, an Aviaco DC-9 collided on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing 727 that was accelerating for takeoff. The collision resulted in the death of all 42 people aboard the DC-9 and 51 on the Iberia jet.
1988 – An estimated 25,000 people were killed when a major earthquake hit northern Armenia in the Soviet Union. The quake measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale.
1992 – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Mississippi abortion law which, required women to get counseling and then wait 24 hours before terminating their pregnancies.
1993 – Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary revealed that the U.S. government had conducted more than 200 nuclear weapons tests in secret at its Nevada test site.
1993 – Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders suggested that the U.S. government study the impact of drug legalization.
2002 – In Amsterdam, Netherlands, two Van Gogh paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. The two works were “View of the Sea st Scheveningen” and “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen.” On July 26, 2004, two men were convicted for the crime and were sentenced to at least four years in prison each.
Source: Wikipedia.org; On-This-Day.com