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80 Years Ago Today - The Rising Sun Scorched Oʻahu, Pearl Harbor

2:38 AM · Dec 8, 2021

Eighty years ago today, the Rising Sun of Japan went supernova when Admiral Yamamoto's plan to carry out a daring and devastating surprise on the US Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor was carried out. Just after 7am HST, a newly developed technology called radar spotted 50 small aircraft making approach on the unsuspecting island of O'ahu. The initial radar report from the Opana Mobile Radar Station was misinterpreted by a lieutenant, and the Japanese retained element of surprise even after being detected. These misidentified Mitsubishi "Zeros" operational goal was to sink as many battleships as he could before the Americans knew that they had been thrust into WWII, and damage other assets in the process. The US military was caught entirely off guard, but escaped with it's greatest navel assists intact, as the aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet were out of port at the time of the attack, sparing them. Prior to WWII, nobody really knew how valuable aircraft carriers would become, focusing instead on very large battleships with think hulls and big guns. The versatility and deadliness of aircraft changed the paradigm of naval warfare within just a few decades after the Great War ended in 1918, making even primitive carriers the queens of the chessboard. Some Admirals noticed the changing landscape and commissioned more carriers, but they would take years to build before being able to fight. These factors meant that for the war for the Pacific both Japan and the United States would have a fixed amount of these Naval Queens, and neither side had that many. However, at the time WWII and the attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out Marshal Admiral Yamamoto was prioritizing battleships. The attack on Pearl Harbor was an opening haymaker punch to try and end the fight before it started, but a punch thrown to the body and not at the face. Hindsight is easy, but in an alternative history where the US carriers were in port at Pearl Harbor the morning of December 7th and designated the primary targets the war in Pacific could have gone quite differently. The decisive US victories of Midway and the Marianas might not have been possible if half of carriers the US had were sunk in the opening sneak attack. What happened in the wake of the attack changed the lives of the people living in Hawaii in a moment. The attack on Pearl Harbor would usurer in the US military's control of civilian life under Martial law that would dominate people's lives until the war was finished. Everything changed in an instant, schools were closed immediately and stayed closed for months, some having their campuses commandeered by the military. Gas masks were issued to civilians and required to be carried everywhere. Even the US currency in circulation was ceased and replaced with paper US dollars with "HAWAII" printed on them, just in case the Japanese did successfully invade the Hawaiian Islands they would not be able to use any cash ceased. But what impacted the people living in Hawaii the most were the forced blackouts, blackouts that were total in nature and lasted years. No streetlights, no electric signs, no light coming out the windows of homes, and in many areas the access to the coastline was removed, and shade cloth and barbed wire installed. Life wouldn't even begin to return to normal until mid-1943, roughly two years later, after the capacity of the Japanese navy was severely damaged and assessed as being no longer able to strike at Hawaii. These are just some musings of mine on the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, last year I made a much more detailed and thought out post, available here: The history of Hawaii, particularly Hawaii Island is not easy to obtain in detail. If anyone has some good references I would be interested.


The story on attact of the Pearl Harbor is now clearer to me bc of this article of yours! Mahalo Dane!

Dec 8, 2021

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