Today In History Spotlights Dec. 7, 1941, Surprise Attack at Pearl Harbor

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Today’s History Spotlight

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Imperial Japanese forces under the order of Hideki Tojo conduct a surprise attack on the US naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of War against Japan, which was granted and signed the following day. This launched the United States into World War II as a major Allied Power, joining the forces of Britain, Free France, and the Soviet Union (which had previously been an Axis Power).

Directly following this, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini declared war on the US. Roosevelt addressed the public and informed them of the attack, as well as the declaration of war, calling December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy.” Over 2,300 people were killed during the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

What Happened On This Day – December 7

  • 2004 Hamid Karzai takes office. The Afghan politician took office as the President of the Islamic Republic in Afghanistan’s first direct democratic elections in history.
  • 1982 December Murders in Suriname. Fifteen prominent Surinamese men were kidnapped and subsequently murdered over 3 days by the military government. The men were known to have criticized the military dictatorship.
  • 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack was the impetus for the U.S.’s entry into World War II.
  • 1787 First state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. Because of this, it is sometimes called the First State.
  • 1732 Royal Opera House opens its doors. The popular performing arts venue in Covent Garden, London houses the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet.

Births On This Day – December 7

  • 1984 Robert Kubica – Polish race car driver
  • 1980 John Terry – English footballer
  • 1956 Larry Bird – American basketball player
  • 1949 Tom Waits – American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor
  • 1928 Noam Chomsky – American linguist, philosopher

Deaths On This Day – December 7

  • 1993 Félix Houphouët-Boigny – Ivorian politician, 1st President of Côte d’Ivoire
  • 1985 Robert Graves – English author
  • 1917 Ludwig Minkus – Austrian violinist, composer
  • 1817 William Bligh – English Admiral, statesmen, 4th Governor of New South Wales
  • 983 Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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