The Attack on Pearl Harbor: A Map-based Exhibition

Shortly before 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack against US armed forces in Hawaii. The Japanese aim was to devastate the US Pacific Fleet, and pilots targeted the Army, Navy, and Marine airfields before bombing the naval ships at Pearl Harbor. The attack lasted almost two hours and left 2,403 Americans dead and 1,178 injured. Japan formally declared war on the United States later that morning. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged Congress to declare war on Japan on December 8, 1941, and the vote in favor of war was nearly unanimous.

The Gilder Lehrman Collection acquired photographs from the Pearl Harbor attack, taken by both Japanese pilots and US Navy personnel. The images juxtapose American and Japanese views of the attack, as well as its devastating aftermath. Use the story map above to navigate through the attack geographically and chronologically, and learn more about the catastrophic event that pushed the United States into World War II.