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December 8th, 1941 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: A special session of parliament was held today to hear the prime minister explain Britain's declaration of war against the Japanese empire. Churchill told MPs that he had intended to time Britain's declaration to follow America's, which required the approval of Congress.

But then news reached London of a Japanese landing in Malaya. The cabinet at once approved the declaration, which was delivered to the Japanese envoy at 1pm today. In his broadcast tonight, the prime minister gave a warning that the extension of the war will lead to a shortage of warplanes for the next few months.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill begins making plans to visit U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt suggests a meeting for mid-January but Churchill is anxious to meet quickly in order to establish at least two priorities: the importance of the naval situation and primacy of Europe in the American war effort. (Jack McKillop)

FRANCE: Paris: Rue des Maronites. Attempted shooting of a French policeman.

POLAND: Chelmno (Kulmhof): In what could be a new stage in the much-discussed Nazi programme to annihilate the Jews, all the 700 Jews evacuated here from Kolo  have been murdered. 

Under the supervision of SS Major Christian Wirth, groups of 80, they were loaded into the back of a specially designed gassing van. The exhaust pipe led straight into their compartment; the fumes suffocated them all. The van reached a wood where it disgorged its grisly contents. The corpses gold teeth and fillings were extracted with pliers. Their clothes and jewellery having been removed, the dead Jews were thrown into a mass grave.

The first "death camp" is soon established at Chelmno using these mobile gassing vans. The victims' bodies are dumped into open pits some 2 miles (3,2 kilometers) away in a wooded forest. (Total victims: 360,000; survivors: 3.)

GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler admits that the eastern Blitzkrieg has failed and orders his generals to prepare for a long struggle.

Hitler issues Directive #39. It begins with these words: "The severe weather which has come surprisingly early in the East, and the consequent difficulties in bringing up supplies, compel us to abandon immediately all major offensive operations and go over to the defensive."

FINLAND: The Finnish 4th Division takes defensive positions along southern part of Maaselkä Isthmus. Good defensive positions have been reached on all directions and Marshal Mannerheim and President Ryti decide not to continue attack towards White Sea, because it has become politically unwise, since it has become probable that Germans will lose the war and the US has threatened to declare war if Finns cut the supply of Lend and Lease equipment by taking Archangelsk. (Gene Hansen)

U.S.S.R.:  The German Army's Group North withdraws from Tichwin, on the Leningrad-Vologda Railroad, under Soviet pressure. Army Group Center is slowly giving ground in the Moscow area.

     The first 25 T-34 tanks come off the Kharkov Tanks Works production line, which is located in the Urals

NORTH AFRICA: With 40 German tanks remaining, Rommel abandons the fight around Tobruk and starts a withdrawal. Between now and the 11th he will move his units back to Gazala, closely followed by British XII and XXX, Eighth Army. This shortening of his supply lines will help.

THAILAND: Simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor, on the other side of the international dateline, Japan invades. The Thai government surrenders.

HONG KONG: Japanese aircraft destroy the five planes on the RAF Kowloon airfield.

The Royal Rifles of Canada and Winnipeg Grenadiers, under command of Brigadier J.K. Lawson are caught by the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong; have not received training as front-line troops. The first Canadian units to fight in World War II have almost no air or naval defences and at 0800 hours, Japanese aircraft destroy all six RAF planes at Kai Tak airport. Two men of the Royal Canadian Signals are wounded, the first Canadian casualties in the camp at Sham Shui Po, as the Japanese 38th Division moves across the frontier of the New Territories.

CHINA: River gunboat HMS Peterel acting as communications centre for the British Consulate in Shanghai, is boarded by Japanese Naval forces on this day and given an ultimatum. When the ultimatum expires IJN cruiser Idzumo opens fire and sinks her in the port of Shanghai. (Alex Gordon)(108)

On night duty at the Bubbling Well police station, SMP sergeant Ted Quigley received a call from the Central station at 0040. The caller reported that Japanese troops had crossed over the Garden Bridge from Hongkew and were deploying artillery pieces along the Bund. In less than an hour, the Second World War in the Pacific would begin with the Japanese attack on Kota Bahru in Malaya, followed seventy minutes later with an attack on the American base at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese battleship HIJMS Idzumo had been built in Great Britain in 1899. Though obsolete, it still mounted powerful guns and was a symbol of Japanese might in Shanghai. Anchored in the middle of the Whangpoo, the ship was long a part of warship row. By contrast, the HMS Peterel retained only a few Lewis machine guns, and had been relegated to a diplomatic wireless station. She was only 185 feet long and displaced 310 tons. At 0420 a launch carrying Captain Inaho Otani, head of Japanese naval intelligence in Shanghai and a small party of Japanese sailors, approached the Peterel. After boarding her, Otani informed her commander, Lieutenant Stephen Polkinghorn, that Japan had declared war on Great Britain and, in order to keep the peace in Shanghai, he should surrender his ship. He then presented a written summons to surrender. Polkinghorn roared his response: "Get off my bloody ship!" The Japanese retreated down the gangway and the launch retired. When it was about one hundred yards away a red signal light was fired from the launch. Instantly, the roar of cannons split the night as the Idzumo, along with a Japanese gunboat, destroyer, and the artillery pieces on shore all opened up at point blank range. Peterel’s two Lewis machine guns went into action. But within minutes, it was all over. Peterel, a ball of flame, sank into the Whangpoo. Six crewmembers were killed and several were wounded. The surviving crew swam to the French Bund; many were picked up by Chinese in sampans who braved the burning oil and gunfire. Three of her crew had been ashore. Two of them gave themselves up within days, but the third, Petty Officer Telegraphist James Cuming, evaded Japanese capture for the entire war and worked with a Chinese resistance ring. A Japanese delegation to USS Wake found her captain not present; the ship surrendered. Living with his family in an apartment at the Customs House on the Bund, David Nicoll was awakened by the firing and thought Chinese troops were attacking a harbor installation. Wendal Furnas, in his room at the Foreign YMCA near the racecourse, thought stores of Chinese black market gasoline had exploded. Others heard the explosions, but went back to bed, until awakened by telephone calls. Bertram Monypenny, a sales manager for Lever Brothers, was preparing to "grunt at the wrong number" when the caller, a friend, asked him if he could hear the noise and added that he thought "it has started." Edwin Easley, a manufacturer’s representative, received several calls reporting the sinking of the Peterel and the seizure of the Wake. At St. John’s University, George Laycock was awakened at 0640 by the sound of planes roaring over the campus. They were flying low over the city, scattering leaflets written in several languages. In them, the Japanese announced that a state of war existed and that lives and property would by protected. (Greg Leck, from his book "Captives of Empire")

MALAYA: The Japanese invade Malaya early in the morning, landing on the east coast near Kota Bharu after a naval bombardment of beaches, and are vigorously engaged by Lieutenant General A. E. Percival's Malaya Command. The Indian III Corps (under Lieutenant General Sir Lewis Heath), which is responsible for all Malaya north of Johore and Malacca, employs the Indian 9th Division against the Japanese in the Kota Bharu area and sends the Indian 11th Division, already poised to move into Thailand, across the border to delay the Japanese on the roads to Singora and Patani. The Indian 9th Division, whose primary mission is to protect the three airfields in Kelantan (Kota Bharu, Gong Kedah, and Machang), fights a losing battle for Kota Bharu, from which it starts withdrawing during the night of 8/9 December. One Indian 11th Division column, driving toward Singora, engages a tank-supported Japanese force 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the frontier; another, advancing toward Pata  ni, is opposed only by the Thai police forces. In conjunction with ground attacks, Japanese planes strike repeatedly at airfields in northern Malaya and greatly reduce the strength of the RAF Far East Command. The RAF, after attacking Japanese shipping and troops in the Kota Bharu area, withdraws from the Kelantan airfields to Kuantan, far to the south. Singapore, the ultimate objective of the Japanese 25th Army in Malaya, is also attacked by air. (Jack McKillop)

     Seven Australian Hudson Mk. Is of No. 1 Squadron RAAF, attack the Japanese invasion force laying off Kota Bharu and sink one transport and damage two other transports and numerous barges. RAAF Hudson Mk. IIs of No. 8 Squadron and RAF Blenheim Mk. Is and Vildebeest Mk. IIIs also attack the invasion force damaging numerous barges. (Jack McKillop)

     The British Navy's Force Z under Admiral Tom Phillips gets underway in the evening to find the Japanese fleet. The force consists of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales (53), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (34) and British destroyers HMS Electra (H 27), Express (H 61) and Tenedos (H 04) and Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (D 68). (Jack McKillop)

 

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES

The first word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is received on Luzon by commercial radio at about 0330 hours local. Within 30 minutes radar at Iba Field, Luzon, plots a formation of airplanes 75 miles (121 kilometers) offshore, heading for Corregidor Island. P-40s are sent out to intercept but make no contact. Shortly before 0930 hours, after Japanese aircraft are detected over Lingayen Gulf heading toward Manila, B-17 Flying Fortresses at Clark Field, Luzon, are ordered airborne to prevent being caught on the ground. Fighters from Clark and Nichols Fields are sent to intercept the Japanese but do not make contact. The Japanese airplanes swing east and bomb military installations at Baguio, Tarlac, Tuguegarao, and an airfield at Cabantuan. By 1130 hours, the B-17 Flying Fortresses and fighters sent into the air earlier have landed at Clark and Iba Fields for refueling, and radar has disclosed another flight of Japanese aircraft 70 miles (113 kilomete

 rs) west of Lingayen Gulf, headed south. Fighters from Iba Field make a fruitless search over the South China Sea. Fighters from Nichols Field are dispatched to patrol over Bataan and Manila. Around 1145 hours a formation is reported headed south over Lingayen Gulf. Fighters are ordered from Del Carmen Field to cover Clark Field but fail to arrive before the Japanese hit Clark shortly after 1200 hours. B-17 Flying Fortresses and many fighters at Clark Field are caught on the ground, but a few P-40s manage to get airborne. Second Lieutenant Randall B Keator of the 20th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), shoots down the first Japanese aircraft over the Philippines. The P-40s earlier sent on patrol of the South China Sea return to Iba Field with fuel running low at the beginning of a Japanese attack on that airfield. The P-40s fail to prevent bombing but manage to prevent low-level strafing of the sort which proved so destructive at Clark Field. A

 t the end of the day's action it is apparent that the Japanese have won a major victory. The effective striking power of Far East Air Force has been destroyed, the fighter strength has been seriously reduced, most B-17 maintenance facilities have been demolished, and about 90 men have been killed. (Jack McKillop)

1:06 AM:  Marshall dispatches warning message to USAFFE.  Text.

2:00 AM:  Iba radar station detects an airplane or airplanes between Formosa and Luzon and notifies George.   George scrambles P-40's from Iba to intercept.  They are unable to locate the intruders and return to Iba.
2:30 AM:  Asiatic Fleet picks up message but fails to disseminate this to USAFFE.  Army ham operators at Fort Stotsenberg also pick up the message but do not forward this to authorities.
2:55 AM:  Lt Col William T Clement, USMC, Asiatic Fleet HQ duty officer, telephones Hart to tell him he is coming to his quarters at the Manila Hotel with an important message. 

3:00 AM:  Fort Santiago picks up US commercial wire service report on Pearl Harbor attack which contained no details.

3:05 AM:  Clement arrives at Hart's quarters and gives him the message stating Pearl Harbor had been attacked.

3:10 AM:  Hart despatches fleet message (text) and calls Purnell.  (Weintraub states Hart advised Sutherland but does not cite a source;  all other sources insist Asiatic Fleet did not directly notify USAFFE.)

3:15 AM:  Akin hand-carries copies of the commercial radio traffic on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to USAFFE headquarters and delivers them to Casey, who then notifies Sutherland;  Sutherland relays message to MacArthur by telephone. MacArthur begins dressing, reads Bible.

3:30 AM:  Naval Intercept Section at Fort Mills picks up "two messages" indicating attack on Pearl Harbor.  The duty officer, Lieutenant Rudie Fabian, calls Captain Bob Brown, Moore's ADC, who notifies Lt Col William C Braly, duty officer at the Harbor defence Command Post, who puts all harbor defenses on alert. 

3:35 AM:  Hart arrives at Marsman Building.

3:40 AM: (2:40 pm, 7 December, Washington time) Gerow telephones MacArthur and confirms that Pearl Harbor has been attacked.  Gerow may have indicated that there was extensive destruction at Pearl Harbor, though this is uncertain and MacArthur later denied that he was so informed.  In any event, there certainly was no direction to commence hostilities against Japan.

3:45 AM:  Hart sends out second message to Asiatic Fleet. TEXT

3:50 AM:  MacArthur arrives at USAFFE Headquarters.  Hart and Sayre are already present and confer with MacArthur until after 5:00 AM.

4:00 AM:  Brereton alerted by telephone call from Sutherland, alerts his Air Force to remain at the ready.

4:00 AM:  False report of air raid causes anti-aircraft fire to break out in Manila.

4:05 AM:  Vargas calls PA HQ (Fort Santiago?) and is advised war has broken out;  message is confirmed in second call to USAFFE HQ.  Vargas notifies Quezon by telephone.

4:30 AM:  (3:30 PM, 7 December, Washington time)  War Department sends message to USAFFE advising hostilities have commenced.  Message receipt delayed until 7:30 Manila time for unexplained reasons.

5:00 AM:  Brereton goes to USAFFE headquarters and attempts to meet with MacArthur.  Sutherland intervenes, instructs Brereton to wait for MacArthur's specific instructions.  Brereton suggests an air strike on Takao in Formosa, a Japanese staging area;  Sutherland suggests aerial reconnaisance first.  The contents and sequence of this discussion are both highly disputed in the Postwar memoirs of both.

5:15 AM:  Quezon, at Baguio (about 130 miles north-west of Manila), alerted by telephone that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. He returns to Manila.

5:30 AM:  Eubank flies from Clark to Neilson to confer with Brereton.

6:15 AM:  Malag, in the Davao Gulf, is hit by Japanese carrier aircraft.  USS William Preston, a seaplane tender, avoids damage, but two PBY  Catalina flying boats are destroyed and Ensign Robert Tillis was killed, the first American to die in the Philippines.

6:20 AM:  Japanese Zero fighters from Formosa attack and strafe the radio station at Aparri in northern Luzon.

P-35As of the USAAF 34th Pursuit Sqdn sortie against the 1st Japanese raid against Luzon. Returning pilots claim 3 Japanese aircraft shotdown. (Jack McKillop)

6:30 AM:  Supposition that MacArthur was advised of Malag and Aparri attacks.  There is no record of this occurring and no participant has recorded that MacArthur was ever so advised.

7:00 AM:  Quezon hands out a press release stating that the Philippines would not "fail" the United States.


7:10 AM:  Brereton, at Neilson, receives telephone call from Arnold instructing him to ensure the safety of his aircraft and recommending that they be dispersed.  Brereton informs him that he will have his aircraft in the air so that they will not be destroyed on the ground.

7:15 AM:  Brereton goes to USAFFE headquarters a second time and again requests permission to attack Takao.  Sutherland goes into MacArthur's office and comes out to say that MacArthur had denied permission as the US was not to make the first 'overt' act.  Sutherland instructs Brereton to return to his office.

? AM:  Quezon calls MacArthur repeatedly to urge that no offensive action be taken against Japan.  This is disputed:  neither MacArthur nor Quezon have left direct comment.  Eisenhower later claimed that, in 1942, Quezon had told him that MacArthur had wanted to keep the Philippines neutral.  On the other hand, Bulkeley states that Quezon "put the clamp on things" by insisting that no military actions be conducted beyond the three-mile limit.

7:30 AM:  MacArthur receives War Department message advising him that a state of war exists (text).  (I have not found an explanation for the delay in the receipt of this message, which was sent at 4:30 AM, Manila time.)

7:55 AM:  MacArthur receives telephone call from Gerow requesting "indications of an attack".  MacArthur informs Gerow of radar contact of air attack and says that "our tails are up in the air" (some sources time call at 7:35).

8:00 AM:  Radar contact with large force of planes approaching Manila.  Brereton orders 36 fighters to intercept but formation veers off before contact.  MacArthur reports this as having occurred at 9:30;  other sources say that it occurred two hours earlier or at 7:30. Gibbs orders 16 of 17 B-17's remaining at Clark to take off and to fly around to avoid being destroyed on ground.

8:05 AM:  Camp John Hay bombed.  Quezon reports attack to Vargas who reports it to MacArthur.

8:50 AM:  Brereton telephones USAFFE and is connected with Sutherland.  Brereton again requests permission to attack but, when asked about his targets, is not specific, stating that, at the least, there would be shipping to attack.  Sutherland, who may have consulted MacArthur, orders Brereton to “[H]old off for the  present".

8:55 AM:  Sutherland calls Wainwright and advises him of attack on Camp John Hay.  Sutherland orders Wainwright "to take every precaution against a possible Jap paratroop landing at Clark Field."

9:00 AM:  Brereton calls Sutherland and requests permission to arm bombers.  FEAF Command log shows a 9:00 AM entry restating Sutherland's orders that planes not be loaded with bombs.

9:10 AM:  Japanese Army bombers from Formosa attack Baguio and Tueguegarao (the latter being about 50 miles inland in northern Luzon).

9:25 AM:  Brereton is advised of attacks on northern Luzon bases.  Calls Sutherland to request permission to bomb Formosa.  Sutherland refuses.

9:30 AM:  Brereton receives call from USAFFE headquarters (caller not identified) instructing him to prepare for offensive action.  He instructs staff to prepare bomb mission, target unspecified.

10:00 AM:  Message 749 from Arnold received by USAFFE (partial text).

10:00 AM:  Sutherland calls Brereton to emphasize that defensive measures only were authorized and that all aircraft were to "remain in reserve".

10:05 AM:  Sutherland calls Brereton to order that he conduct photo reconnaissance of Formosa.

10:10 AM:  Eubank flies from Neilson to Clark to prepare for reconnaissance mission.

10:14 AM:  MacArthur calls Brereton to order a bombing attack on Formosa once the reconnaissance pictures were processed. MacArthur later denied saying this. 

10:15 AM:  Japanese Navy airplanes from the 11th Air Fleet are despatched from Formosa.  53 bombers and fighters are directed to hit Iba;  54 bombers and 36 fighters are sent to Clark Field.

10:30 AM: Station Cast intercepts, decodes and disseminates Japanese declaration of war.  Message not further relayed for some hours due to Navy security restrictions.

10:45 AM:  Brereton orders bombers readied for late-afternoon attack by the airplanes from the 19th B.G. based at Clark and  a dawn attack on December 9 by those from Mindanao, which were to be staged overnight through Clark .

11:00 AM:  Sutherland calls Brereton to check on status of photo recon mission;  he is advised that the bombing missions are now approved and so advises his own staff.

11:05 AM:  Postmaster at Aparri reports incoming aircraft by telephone to Fort Stotsenburg.

11:05 AM:  Brereton instructs B-17's to return to Clark and all fighter cover to return to refuel and for the pilots to have chow.

11:10 AM:  USAFFE issues statement that Clark Field had not been bombed.

11:27 AM:  Radar station at Iba picks up an incoming strike and relays message to Far East Air Force Air Warning at Nielson Field.

11:40 AM: Report of incoming strike received at Neilson.  18 fighters -- two squadrons of the 24th P.G. at Nichols -- were scrambled and sent to patrol Manila Bay and Bataan.  The third squadron was held back, possibly in reserve.

11:45 AM:  Campbell sends teletype to Clark advising of incoming strike.  Message not received.  Campbell then attempts direct radio contact with Clark and fails.  Campbell calls Clark on the telephone and speaks with a junior officer (name no longer known) who takes message and states he will pass it along.

11:55 AM:  Sutherland calls Brereton to check on status;  advised by Brereton that "a bombing mission would be sent out in the afternoon".

12:00 AM:  Japanese air strike on Iba Field. 53 Mitsubishi bombers and 53 Zeros strafe the field, destroying all 16 P40's stationed there and the Philippine's lone radar station.   (Some accounts list 18 P-40's as being destroyed.)  Total of 86 aircraft destroyed?

Japanese air strike on Clark.  54 Mitsubishi bombers and 36 Zeros destroy the 17 B-17's and other aircraft remaining at the field.

12:20 PM: Lieutenant Howard W Brown, a Signal Corps Officer from Fort Santiago, brought distribution copy of Japanese declaration of War to USAFFE HQ.  Brown taken in to see MacArthur.

12:30 PM: MacArthur called by Brady with report of destruction at Clark and Iba.  MacArthur, upon learning that his orders to remove B-17's to Del Monte had not been followed, chewed out Brady.

6:00 PM: MacArthur holds commanders’ conference to assess damage.

(Marc Small)

MARIANA ISLANDS: On Guam, Japanese aircraft bomb the island at 0827 and 1700 hours local. After getting underway and being attacked by Japanese aircraft, the USN minesweeper USS Penguin (AM-33), is scuttled in 200 fathoms (1,200 feet or 366 meters) of water about 1.5 miles (2,4 kilometers) off Guam to prevent capture. (Jack McKillop)

 

OCEANIA: Japanese aircraft bomb phosphate rich Ocean Island and Nauru Island in the South Pacific Ocean Island is a 1,500 acre (607 hectare) island about 242 nautical miles (448 kilometers) west-southwest of Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands. Nauru Island is a 21 square kilometer (8 square mile) island about 380 nautical miles (703 kilometers) west-southwest of Tarawa Atoll. (Jack McKillop)

 

WAKE ISLAND: At 1158 hours local, 34 "Nell" bombers (Mitsubishi G3M2 Navy Type 96 Attack Bombers) of the Chitose Kokutai (Naval Air Corps, 24th Air Flotilla) based on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, 620 miles to the south, attack the island at an altitude of 13,000 feet (3 962 meters) destroying seven of the eight F4F-3 Wildcats on the ground. The island is defended by 449 Marines of the Marine Detachment, 1st Defense Battalion, Wake Island, 69 Navy personnel and five USAAF communicators. The five Air Force enlisted airmen form a detachment of the 407th Signal Company, Aviation, based at Hickam Field, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, and had been sent to Wake in early November 1941 to establish a radio station to guide B-17 Flying Fortresses on flights from the U.S. to the Philippine Islands. Casualties among Marine aviators are especially high. (Gordon Rottman & Jack McKillop)

GILBERT ISLANDS: A company of the Japanese Army's 51st Guard Force occupies Makin Atoll. (Jack McKillop)

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: Starting today, Air Force, Alaska Defense Command B-18 Bolos fly armored reconnaissance each morning from Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, to Kodiak Island in the Aleutian Islands. (Jack McKillop)

CANADA: Canada Gazette notice (written on behalf of the King) "Whereas by and with the advice of our Privy Council for Canada we have signified our approval of the issue of a proclamation in the Canada Gazette declaring that a state of war with Japan exists and has existed in Canada as and from the 7th day of December, 1941.

Now, therefore, we do hereby declare and proclaim that a state of war with Japan exists and has existed as and from the seventh day of December, 1941.

Of all which our loving subjects and all others whom these presents may concern are hereby required to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly."  (Dave Hornford)

1,200 Japanese Canadian fishing boats are impounded. Japanese language newspapers and schools close. (Jack McKillop)

Corvette HMCS Fredericton commissioned.

Corvette HMCS Chambly arrived Halifax for refit. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A. President Roosevelt speaks before the US Congress requesting a declaration of war against Japan declares December 7 to be: "a date which will live in infamy.

In just eight minutes President Roosevelt today called on the Congress of the United States to declare war on Japan. It took a further 20 minutes for congressmen to vote America into the world conflict.

The senate passed the war resolution without debate by 82 votes. In the House of Representatives it passed by 388 votes to one. The sole dissenter was Jeanette Rankin of Montana, who also voted against the declaration of war in 1917. The resolution was then signed by Vice-President Henry Wallace as presiding officer of the Senate, and by Sam Rayburn, the speaker of the House, and taken by them to the White House, where the president signed it at 5.10pm Washington time.

The United States as a whole has learnt above all from the radio of the coming of war. Stations kept open all night, and recorded dance music was punctuated with appeals for Red Cross workers to report to headquarters, or for volunteers to contact air-raid wardens. After two years of remote but often angry debate about the possibility of the United States is united as never before by the prospect of war. Diplomats and members of Congress agree that the Japanese, by attacking the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, have taken the one action, out of many alternatives to them, that was certain to bring the United States into the war. Isolationism, the dominant philosophy here since 1919, is dead.

The isolationist Republican Congressman Hamilton Fish said today that he would volunteer for service, as he did in 1917. Herbert Hoover former president, also an isolationist, said: "We must fight with everything we have got." Only the arch-isolationist Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota continued to say: "The Japanese attack is just what Britain planned for us."

But the isolationist Chicago Tribune said that its readers must "strike with all our might to protect and preserve American freedom."

The city of San Francisco experiences a false air-raid alert with rumours of an enemy aircraft carrier 100 miles off the coast. More...


Roosevelt does not request nor does the US declare war on Germany and/or Italy.

The US is joined by Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Free French, Yugoslavia and some South American countries in the declaration of war against Japan.

Colombia broke diplomatic relations with Japan.

Costa Rica declared war on Japan.

Panama, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic declared war on Japan.

Union of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Free France declared war on Japan.

Declaration of war by The Netherlands and The Netherlands East Indies against Japan. (Dave Shirlaw)

2:25 AM:  Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor commences

2:28 AM:  Pearl Harbor sends en clare radio message to Navy Department, "AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR STOP THIS IS NO DRILL STOP END".  (The message was drafted by Rear Admiral Patrick N L Bellinger, Naval Base defence Air Force Commander, 14th Naval District, though it does not seem to have been recorded whether his signature or, for that matter, any signature, was appended to this message.) 

3:20 AM:   (2:20 PM December 7, Washington time) Japanese emissaries deliver declaration of war to Hull.

(Marc Small)

Corvette HMCS Snowberry arrived Charleston, South Carolina for refit. (Dave Shirlaw)

     The Commanding General 1st Air Force orders the I Bomber Command to begin overwater reconnaissance with all available aircraft to locate and attack any hostile surface forces which might approach the east coast. Similar reconnaissance is ordered off the west coast. (Jack McKillop)

     The Southeast Pacific Area is established with Rear Admiral Abel T. Bidwell in command. (Jack McKillop)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: In the Caribbean Sea, all USAAF Caribbean Air Force units begin flying antisubmarine patrols. (Jack McKillop)

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