It was a regular, beautiful morning on the island of Oahu. Young boys were playing a game of baseball, mothers were spending time with their daughters, and the United States naval base was sound asleep. Little did anyone know that December 7, 1941 would be marked as a historic tragedy when the Japanese surprise attacked the U.S. naval base on Hawaii.
The first article I found is from the New York Times by the United Press. It was published the day of the incident (12/7/1941) as a front cover news story. This article’s title is “Tokyo Bombers Strike Hard At Or Main Bases on Oahu”. One thing I noticed is that this article is lengthy just as a feature story would be in today’s paper. In our current, present day paper, a breaking news story would be covered with a lot of dominant images, graphs, and large headlines; an online breaking news story would be short, concise, and to the point. This 1941 article is a detailed story of what happened that morning at Pearl Harbor.
It focuses on the events of the morning, step by step. This article already stated “104 dead and more than 300 wounded in the Army forces alone as a result of the Japanese bombing of the Island of Oahu”. It seems as though the media and journalists are not trying to hide any information, but they are actually telling readers every bit of information they retrieve. The article also explains how the United States forces were not prepared in this attack, obviously, although they had known for a week that something was invading the U.S. territory. Sadly, the “identity of the planes was not definitely known”.
The article states that nonmilitary people were just watching the attack from a hill. There is, surprisingly, only one major source cited in this article; it is from a civilian (Merrit Laws) who saw the beginnings of the Pearl Harbor attack. Merrit Laws quotes are separated into three different paragraphs, one following after another. “I also saw what looked like dive bombers coming over in single file. Some of the ships dived down very low over the water to aim bombs at warships,” said Merrit Law. The end of the article is basically explanations of how the Japanese bombed the naval base whether is was dive bombers, two planes diving into each other, or planes shooting bombs at the base.
The second article I found is also from NYT, but published a day after December 7, 1941. This article concentrates on how Japanese people from New York City, Newark, Jersey City, Bayonne, and Paterson were sent to Ellis Island as prisoners because they were Japanese. American born Japanese citizens were also sent away.
It did not matter if you were a banker, silk importer, or a businessman, if you were Japanese you were arrested and taken away to Ellis Island. There are a lot more quotes in this article; however, the quotes are from broad sources. This article is extremely specific containing a lot of dates, times, and addresses.