Exactly 80 years ago today, on December 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched a surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The attacks on the Hawaiian naval base and airfields set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately help decide the outcome of WW2.
The attack itself was later treated as a war crime as at the time the United States was a neutral country and had taken no part in any actions of World War Two.
Pearl Harbor’s vulnerability to a surprise air attack was well-known within US military circles and President Roosevelt’s decision to make it the main Pacific Fleet base in May 1940 raised a few eyebrows amongst those in the know. Roosevelt believed the presence of so much American military power would act as a deterrent in the area, but this proved to be anything but the case.