Get Today in Masonic History into your Inbox. Sign up today for one of our email lists!
Need an article for your Trestleboard/Newsletter see our Use Policy

TODAY in Masonic History:

Facebook Twitter Google

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 preventing 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 were repaired and saw further combat in the war.

The motivation for Japan's attack was to prevent American and British interference in battle plans Japan 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 filled him with a terrible resolve." The quote was created for the movie, the sentiment was accurate at the time. 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, already at sea when the attack happened.

When President Roosevelt addressed congress the next day, he referred to December 7th, 1941 as a "Day that would live in infamy". After the war, the Attack on Pearl harbor was 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 Roosevelt was looking for a reason for America to enter the war in Europe have led some to claim 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.

To all who served on December 7th, 1941 or who lost loved ones, we thank you for your service and sacrifice.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.