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Pearl Harbor Attacked

Today in Masonic History Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces in 1941.

Pearl Harbor was and is a U.S. Naval Base on the island of Oahu.

In 1941 the United States had not yet officially entered World War II. At the time there was a strong non-intervention sentiment in the country. World War I was still on people's minds and many Americans did not want to see the country brought into another world wide conflict. One person who did not agree with this stance was then President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, a Freemason, had just over a year before signed the Bases for Battleships deal with Great Britain. The Bases for Battleships deal circumvented laws in place that prevented direct United States intervention with the war in Europe.

In the early morning of December 7th, 1941 the Japanese Imperial fleet attacked Pearl Harbor in a devastating blow. Thousands of Americans were killed or wounded in the attack. Eight American Battleships were damaged in the attack, 6 would be repaired and see further combat in the war.

The motivation for Japan's attack was to prevent American and British interference in battle plans that Japan had laid out for the Pacific. There were simultaneous attacks in the U.S. held Philippines as well as Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong, which were held by the British Empire.

An alleged quote from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, made famous by the ending of the movie Tora! Tora! Tora!, had the Admiral saying "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Although the quote is apparently made up for the movie, the sentiment was accurate at the time. Although the attack dealt a blow to America in the loss of equipment and more importantly in the loss of life it failed to sink key military equipment, namely United States aircraft carriers, that were already at sea when the attack happened.

A quote that did happen was on December 8th, when President Roosevelt addressed congress and referred to December 7th, 1941 as a "Day that would live in infamy". After the war, the Attack on Pearl harbor would called a War Crime since it happened when no official declaration of war existed between the United States and Japan.

The fact the aircraft carriers were already at sea when the attack happened and that Roosevelt was looking for a reason for America to enter the war in Europe have led some to claim that the United States and Great Britain knew of the attack and let it happen as an excuse to enter the war. Most mainstream historians find no evidence to support these claims.