Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i Territory.

In the late 1930's the Empire of Japan was expanding into China, Southeast Asia and the Philippine Archipelago. Although a strong military force, the nation was small, and resource poor. Japan needed the oil rich lands to fuel her ambitions.

In 1939, the Navy moved a large Pacific Fleet, to Pearl Harbor, with the intent of force projection over the Pacific.

In July 1941, the United States stopped selling oil to Japan.

Japanese military saw this threat, and decided that they could damage the fleet before it could be deployed, that the United States would be deterred from further action in the Pacific. 

They miscalculated.

The Japanese military underestimated the American will. They struck Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This aerial attack sank, destroyed or damaged 40 warships. Of those, all but 3, Utah, Oklahoma, and Arizona, were salvaged, improved, and fought again to defeat the enemy. 

Pearl Harbor is still the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet, and a major military presence in Mid-Pacific.

Today, in Pearl Harbor, you can see the moving memorials to that fateful day, which, as FDR said, still lives in infamy. On that Sunday, America was shaken awake, and forced to take her place as the most powerful nation on Earth for the rest of the 20th century.

One of the most moving things about Pearl Harbor; you can stand on the deck of the Battleship Missouri, where, on September 2, 1945, the war ended. Looking forward past the massive 16-inch turrets, you can see the memorial to the beginning of the war, USS Arizona. Today you can clearly see the oil slick that marks the grave of 1,000 US Sailors and Marines that perished that morning. You can imagine the beginning, and the end, of the most devastating conflict to affect the civilized world.

For America, WWII began before 0800 Hawaiian time on December 7, 1941. This attack lasted about 2 hours. The war  ended at at 0900, Tokyo time, 02 September 1945, when the representatives of the Emperor of Japan and General MacArthur signed the instrument of surrender. This ceremony took 23 minutes.

The plaque reads:

Over this spot on 2 September 1945 the Instrument of Formal Surrender of Japan to the Allied Powers was signed thus bringing to a close the
Second World War.

The ship as at that time at anchor in Tokyo Bay.

Latitude 852117 North, Longitude 149 45 30 East

Okay, that's the history lesson, here are the pictures:

Arizona Memorial

Popular lore says that the USS Arizona was never decommissioned. While not strictly true, because she is sunk, and not a warship but a war memorial, she is still the property of the US Navy, and the US Park Service defers all jurisdiction aboard the Memorial itself.

Tropical Paradise

The beauty belies the carnage inflicted 65 years ago.

Control Tower, Ford Island

A busy airfield in 1941, this control tower saw the preparations for deploying the fleet, sea and airplane action, and on a sleepy Sunday Morning, an overwhelming force of Japanese aircraft.

An unlikely monument, it sts unused today as a leftover movie prop.

The warships attacked on Dec. 7, 1941 had a complement of Marines.

The Monument is bright and soaring, but a very somber place.

USS Missouri, BB-63

Mighty Mo, served in every war from WWII to the Persian Gulf,

USS Missouri

A 45,000 ton Iowa Class Battleship, was commissioned on 11 June 1944. Arriving in the Pacific in January 1945, Missouri supported the Iwo Jima invasion, and raids on Japan's home islands.

16-inch guns,

the most powerful ever on a US Warship. A crew of 75 men is required for each turret. Fireing rate is two rounds per minute, per gun.

A single 16-inch

shell weighs 2,700 pounds, and can penetrate an armored target 24 miles away.

View from the Arizona to the Missouri

Connected by the oil slick, and history.

Arizona's forward turret,

with Pearl City in the background.

View from the Mo to the Arizona

Note Arizona's oil slick.

USS Bowfin

Was launched December 7, 1942, and was considered Pearl Harbor's Revenge. Today she's a mnument to the "Silent Service."

Forward Torpedo

One 9 cruised in the Pacific, Bowfin sank 16 ships, sufering onely one casualty (a broken leg).

The Navy Brass.

Submarine space

Communications, 1940's style

Bowfin Deck

Want more information? Try http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm for great information including Action Reports from that day.

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