Video: A day that still lives in infamy

posted at 2:00 pm on December 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Sixty-seven years ago today, the Japanese conducted a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that changed the nation, and the world, forever. The clip below combines footage from the Japanese Imperial Navy, the US, and some cheesy re-enactments to provide a compelling reminder of the destruction that day:

Before World War II, the US was an isolationist nation struggling through a protracted economic disaster, mostly uninterested in foreign entanglements. After this attack, America began its quick march to becoming a superpower projecting its might around the world. Pearl Harbor provided the impetus for that transformation, with a nation vowing never to be taken by surprise again — and succeeding for almost 60 years in preventing it.

If you have not read William Shirer’sThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I’d recommend it for today’s reading.  Shirer recounts the attack from the German perspective, and Hitler’s ambivalence about it.  While he admired the Japanese for attacking without warning, he felt that they had acted rashly and too early.  He wanted Japan to focus on the British in the Indian Ocean, not the Americans in the Pacific, in order to bring the UK to its knees and subjugated to Nazi Germany.  Despite his military treaty with Japan, Hitler initially hesitated to declare war on the US, hoping to keep them sidelined.  FDR head-faked Hitler into declaring war first in the end, overcoming initial Congressional resistance to fight a two-front war.

Almost 3,000 died that day in a war they didn’t know they were in.  That has its own parallels to 9/11.  Let’s remember all Americans who died in cowardly sneak attacks today, especially those who gave their lives 67 years ago as a painful beginning for the modern American nation.

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No, the definition of coward has nothing to do with taking an enemy by surprise or war declarations. At the very least, to be called cowards they’d have to be afraid and they were far from afraid. Same with Islamists.

Darth Executor on December 8, 2008 at 11:00 AM

After their “glorious victory,” the Japanese fleet didn’t stick around to complete their mission–to sink the US carriers. At least one officer was more afraid of loosing the honor of his effortless victory than taking the risks necessary to finish the plan.

As for the Islamists, suicide missions can be seen as cowardice: they believe it is a shortcut to paradise, where they do not have to deal with the consequences of their actions. The mindset has a way of turning our definitions on their head.

Count to 10 on December 8, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I love how if you go to they have a link that forwards the conspiracy theory that FDR knew Pearl Harbor and did nothing.

Stay Classy, MSN. Stay classy.

watchmen on December 7, 2008 at 2:08 PM

Well according to John “Mellon-Head” it’s possible the attack on Pearl Harbor didn’t happen because he wasn’t there and therefore he cannot say if the attack did or did not occur!

I’ll never get over that interview with John Menstrual-Cramp, the ego he must have to even suggest it’s possible the attack could not have happened because he wasn’t there to witness it just goes to prove how delusional lefty celebs are!

Liberty or Death on December 8, 2008 at 2:41 PM

I had the oppertunity to visit Pearl Harbor a month ago and was overwhelmed at being there with those brave Americans. Being born in the 50s I’ve grown up watching all the news clips and movies (Tora Tora Tora my favorite) and was taken off guard of just how moving being there is. I’m not a guy that is easily swept up in emotions, buy I could not help but shed a tear or two at actually being in their presence.
If you have the chance to visit the islands, take the time to experience the incredible history of Pearl Harbor. There are even survivors that are usually there to talk to people visiting.
This was spiritual moment hard to describe.

oakpack on December 8, 2008 at 2:48 PM