One Minute History: Attack on Pearl Harbor


December 7, 1941 - Hawaii - Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa hears the code phrase “East wind, rain” on his short wave radio, signalling an attack on America. North of Oahu, Mitsuo Fuchida, Commander of the Imperial Japanese fleet, launches 183 planes in the first wave of the assault. U.S. Army soldiers detect the fighters, but mistake them for American B-17 bombers scheduled to arrive from California. 7:48AM - The Japanese begin their attack, taking the Americans by surprise. “Air raid Pearl Harbor. This is not a drill.”  U.S. Navy ships moored at Battleship Row are devastated by armor-piercing bombs and torpedoes, while aircraft at Wheeler Field and Hickam Field are grounded by Japanese Zeros. American anti-aircraft punishes the second wave of the attack, forcing Admiral Nagumo to call off the third wave, which spares shore facilities that would have crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Ninety minutes after it began, the attack on Pearl Harbor was over.

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