Eighty years ago, on December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan unleashed an unprovoked attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor on a clear Sunday morning whilst soldiers and sailors innocently ate breakfast, prepared for church, raised the flag, and went about their business.-
Two waves of Japanese bombers, torpedo planes, and fighters — 353 in all — sent America’s Pacific fleet to the bottom of the mud, killing 2,403 Americans and dragging America into a world war.
The battleship Arizona — sunk, total loss, 1,177 KIA, remains sunk at Pearl Harbor;
The battleship California — sunk, refloated, returned to service February 1944;
The battleship Maryland — damaged by direct hits, returned to service February 1942;
The battleship Nevada — managed to get underway, beached itself to avoid clogging up the main entrance to Pearl, sunk, decommissioned in 1946, shipped to Bikini Atoll as a target ship for nuclear weapons tests, sunk by Naval gunfire in 1948;
The battleship Oklahoma — sunk, total loss, never repaired;
The battleship Pennsylvania — damaged by bombs while in drydock, returned to service March 1942;
The battleship Tennessee — minor damage, repaired and returned to the fleet in February 1942;
The battleship Utah — capsized, never repaired, remains at Pearl Harbor (the Utah is often overlooked as it was not moored on Battleship Row, but was at anchor off Ford Island after returning to Pearl following gunnery exercises); and,
The battleship West Virginia — sunk, refloated, returned to service July 1944.
The American Warrior SpiritWhat also happened that day was the re-awakening of the American warrior spirit that had driven the Colonies to revolt against the English King — who commanded the largest army and navy in the world and who hired the best Hessian mercenaries.
We are a nation born at the tip of a bloody bayonet wielded by free men who refused to knuckle under to a king.
General George Washington took a cobbled together underpaid, under-equipped, undertrained, amateur army of state militias and conducted a brilliant war against the most experienced officer corps (fresh from the Seven Years’ War on the Continent) and soldiers on the planet.
No George Washington? No United States of America.
America is only America when it is well led. We need leaders who are cast in the mold of Washington and Marshall.
The American military, the greatest startup
Post Pearl Harbor, from a small army of less than 175,000 men, more than 16,000,000 men and women would wear the nation’s uniform and engage in two bloody wars simultaneously ultimately bringing the Empire of Japan and the Third Reich to their knees in unconditional surrender while becoming the Arsenal of Democracy and creating an economic engine that has never been topped.
The leadership of America was entrusted to men. MEN.
Men like George C Marshall who Winston Churchill called “the Architect of Victory in World War II.”
Men who were serious, who harnessed their fears, men who believed in the goodness of our Nation, men who risked their lives, and men who learned the craft of war — air power, artillery, combined arms, tanks, amphibious landings, air/sea/land battle, Rangers, paratroopers, bombers, fighters, convoys, submarines, landing craft, nuclear weapons — and beat the most skilled practitioners of evil at their own game.
These were not men who saw their job as being an exercise in social engineering; they saw their job as being to win wars.
How did they do it, Big Red Car?
How did they do it?
They called upon the lessons of the American Revolution, Valley Forge, the unquenchable thirst for freedom that powers nations, and they called upon a just God to guide them.
And we got lucky — the Japanese failed to knock out the fuel point at Pearl, left our ordinance repair shops intact, and failed to find our four aircraft carriers. The American fleet got back in the fight years and years earlier than the Japanese believed possible.
And, then, the Marines came for the Japanese at Guadalcanal. The Army landed in North Africa. The Air Force bombed Germany. Our subs sunk enemy ships in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Med.
The American people endured rationing. Women took the war jobs in factories whilst their husbands, brothers, fathers went to war. We came together.
We were new at the game, but we mastered it quickly and we beat our enemies. America did this and in doing this defined our national character. We are a good people living in the best country on Earth and when evil almost vanquished good, America tipped the scales in favor of good. That is who we were.
More importantly, that is who we still are. The sons of tigers are tigers. We are a great nation and the last, best hope for mankind.
Why did the Japanese attack?
The Japanese depended upon the United States for its ferrous metal and oil. The Japanese Empire and the men leading it had delusions of empire, an innate warped sense of their own importance, a lust for power, and wanted to sever this relationship.
The Japanese answer was to conquer China, to seize the oil producing countries in the South China Sea, and to do this they had to eliminate the American fleet because they recognized that the American fleet was the largest impediment to their ambitions.
It is important to remember the why.
It all began with an economic premise of empire held by evil men.
Why is it important to remember the why, Big Red Car?
Ahhh, dear reader, because America and the world finds itself in a similar moment.