Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Bombing of Pearl Harbor

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On this day in 1941, the United States was sucker-punched by the Empire of Japan when 350 Japanese aircraft launched from six aircraft carriers destroyed 5 American ships and 188 aircraft, killing 2,388 and injuring 1,178 in under ninety minutes.

The raid, which began just before 8 AM, came in two waves; the first targeted the ships, such as the USS Arizona and the USS Utah, the second the nearby airbase and fuel tanks. The majority of the deaths that day were aboard the USS Arizona.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a rhetorical flourish even better than his usual, dubbed it 'a date which will live in infamy'; in these post 9-11 days, the academic and critical focus on the attack has shifted from the sheer horror of it to who might have known it was coming and did nothing to stop it, even though in the opinion of the Pop Culture Institute comparisons between Pearl Harbor and 9-11 are specious at best, and the very best of Republican obfuscation at worst.
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