Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

The Japanese Sneak Attack On Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor as seen from the pier
Description: Drawing, Charcoal and Chalk on Canvas; by Griffith Baily Coale; 1942; Framed Dimensions 26H X 77W
Accession #: 88-188-AI
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In November 1940, Admiral Stark presented Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox with a “Memorandum On National Policy,” in which he recommend the United States stop selling war material to Japan.  Public opinion was also in favor of this course of action, and passage of the “Two Ocean Navy” plan enabled the United States to implement restrictions.  Japanese expansion in Indochina further led the President to freeze Japanese assets in the U.S.  Facing economic ruin, Japan stated its demands and gave its diplomats a time limit for achieving them.  They failed, and on 17 November Admiral Stark send a “war warning” cable to the commanders at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.  On the morning of December 7, Japanese airplanes attacked Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403 people, military and civilian, and sinking or damaging 19 Navy ships.

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