Let’s remember Pearl Harbor . . . and the start of the American era

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor . . . and the start of the American era

USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Source National Archives (Catalog ID 195617)

USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Source Natl Archives (Catalog ID 195617)


Wow! Magazine by Bookworm Room

We remember Pearl Harbor, not just because it was an infamous attack on a peaceful nation, but because it marked the start of America’s world dominance.

Today, we “remember Pearl Harbor,” the day on which the Japanese launched an unprovoked attack again the United States, killing 2,335 Americans serving in the military and wounding another 1,143, as well as killing 68 civilians and wounding 35 others. If you have ever been to the Pearl Harbor memorial, you know what a solemn and painful place it is. When I was there in 1988, the U.S.S. Arizona was still leaking oil, with one drop after another rising slowly to the surface, where each drop created a shiny, dark patch on the water. That oil was a surprisingly vital connection to a long-past tragedy.

Pearl Harbor is memorable not only because of the savagery of the attack and the devastating damage inflicted on America’s seagoing forces, but also because it marked the start of American world dominance. Although it took American might to help end WWI, after the war Europe and America returned to their respective corners.

The two continents, the old and the new, spent the next two decades indulging in various degrees of self-destruction, with America first enjoying the 1920s and then struggling with their aftereffects, and Europe watching passively as Germany bounced from bankruptcy and destruction, to revolution after revolution, to the Tacitus-like peace that Hitler and his fascists imposed on that unstable nation. They also sat things out when an increasingly belligerent Japan smashed through China, where the Japanese committed truly unspeakable atrocities against Chinese civilians.

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Bookworm is a fellow council member and author of Wow! MagazineFeel free to check out the exceptional archive of essays written by Bookworm at  Wow! and at her website, Bookworm Room.



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