Pearl Harbor is a landlocked port on the southern coast of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. The United States acquired the right to use Pearl Harbor as a coaling station in 1887. It became a naval base in 1900. Later, the Hawaiian Islands played a major role in the war as a base of operations against Japan. .
The attack on Pearl Harbor was the event that entered the United States into World War II. The December 7th 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a great defining moment in history. A single carefully planned and well-executed attack removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared, and now weakened, was abruptly brought into World War II. .
Early in the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese submarines and planes attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Nearby military airfields were also attacked by the Japanese planes. Eight American battleships and 13 other naval vessels were sunk or badly damaged and almost 200 American aircraft were destroyed. .
On Saturday, December 6th, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt made a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There was no reply. Later that same day, the U.S. code-breaking service began intercepting a 14-part Japanese message and deciphered the first 13 parts, passing them on to the President and Secretary of State. The Americans believed a Japanese attack was imminent, most likely somewhere in Southeast Asia.
On Sunday, December 7th, the Islands of Hawaii, near Oahu, the Japanese attack force under the command of Admiral Nagumo, consisting of six carriers with 423 planes, was about to attack. At 6 a.m., the first attack wave of 183 Japanese planes took off from the carriers located 230 miles north of Oahu and headed for the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. At 7:02 a.m., two Army operators at Oahu's northern shore radar station detected the Japanese air attack approaching and contacted a junior officer who disregarded their reports, thinking they were American B-17 planes which were expected in from the U.