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  • Historical Summary
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  • World War II 1939-1945
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  • National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Recalling Pearl Harbor: Oral Histories and Survivor Accounts


Students will:

  • Use oral histories and survivor accounts as primary sources.
  • Study oral histories and survivor accounts to understand the complexities of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Understand the importance of using more than one source to comprehend an event in a historical context.


1. Oral Histories:

2. Survivor Accounts:

3. Student Question Sheet

Small Group Activities

1. Choose either two or three oral histories and survivor accounts for this activity. Divide students into small groups. Then have students read through the excerpts. In their groups, students select one incident from the three accounts that stands out and discuss it with the rest of the class.

2. Now students put themselves in the shoes of a reporter. Students should imagine themselves as if they were reporting on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the days after the event. The students use the oral histories and survivor accounts as sources for their stories. The story should be about 300-words in length, and the emphasis of the story should be on accuracy and good writing.

Follow-Up Activities

Visit the NHHC website at and read more survivor accounts or oral histories.




Published: Wed Jan 11 14:09:55 EST 2023