10 Facts About Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War

Simon Parkin

3 mins

09 Aug 2018

On 8 December 1941 United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a speech referring to the previous day as ‘a date which will live in infamy‘.

The speech was followed by a formal US declaration of war against the Japanese Empire, launching the US into the Second World War. Much of America’s involvement would be against Japanese forces in the Pacific theatre.

What follows are 10 facts relating to the Pacific portion of the war.

1. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941

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It was part of a Japanese offensive in the Pacific that marked the start of  the Pacific War.

2. Over 400 seamen died as the USS Oklahoma sank. Over 1,000 perished aboard the USS Arizona

Landscape

In total the Americans sustained around 3,500 casualties in the attacks, including 2,335 killed.

3. 2 American destroyers and 188 aircraft were destroyed at Pearl Harbor

USSwv

6 battleships sank upright or were damaged and 159 aircraft were damaged. The Japanese lost 29 aircraft, an ocean-going submarine and 5 midget subs.

4. Singapore was surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942

General Percival then abandoned his troops by escaping to Sumatra. By May the Japanese had forced Allied withdrawal from Burma.

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5. Four Japanese aircraft carriers and a cruiser were sunk and 250 aircraft destroyed in the Battle of Midway, 4-7 June 1942

It marked a decisive turning point in the Pacific War, at the expense of one American carrier and 150 aircraft. The Japanese suffered just over 3,000 deaths, around ten times more than the Americans.

6. Between July 1942 and January 1943 the Japanese were driven from Guadalcanal and eastern Papua New Guinea

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They had ultimately resorted to scavenge for roots to survive.

7. An estimated 60 per cent of the 1,750,000 Japanese troops who died in World War Two were lost to malnutrition and disease

starved-japan

8. The first kamikaze attacks occurred on 25 October 1944

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It was against the American fleet at Luzon as the fighting intensified in the Philippines.

9. The island of Iwo Jima was bombed for 76 days

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Only after this did the American assault fleet arrive, which included 30,000 marines.

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10. The atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945

Together with Soviet intervention in Manchuria, forced the Japanese into surrender that was officially signed on 2 September.