december 7, 1941

Most American school children learn that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading us to join World War II. This week marks the 75th anniversary of Japanese-Americans being subsequently rounded up and interned as suspected enemies of the state. But there’s another tragic and untold story of American citizens who were also interned during the war. I’m a member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska and I’ve spent the better part of 30 years uncovering and putting together fragments of a story that deserves to be told.

In June 1942, Japan invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu, the westernmost islands of Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, an archipelago of 69 islands stretching some 1,200 miles across the North Pacific Ocean toward Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. From a strategic perspective, Japan wanted to close what they perceived as America’s back door to the Far East. For thousands of years, the islands have been inhabited by a resourceful indigenous people called Aleuts. During the Russian-American Period (1733 to 1867), when Alaska was a colonial possession of Russia, Russian fur-seekers decimated Aleut populations through warfare, disease, and slavery.

Shortly after Japan’s invasion, American naval personnel arrived with orders to round up and evacuate Aleuts from the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilof Islands to internment camps almost 2,000 miles away near Juneau. Stewardship of the internment camps would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USF&WS). Furthermore, orders included the burning of the villages to the ground, including their beloved churches, as part of a “scorched earth” policy. The Army’s stated purpose was to protect the Aleuts, who were American citizens, from the dangers of war. But one officer told astonished Aleuts that it was, as he put it, “Because ya’ll look like Japs and we wouldn’t want to shoot you.” That exchange is part of a documentary video called Aleut Evacuation.

The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity

Photo: National Archives, General Records of the Department of the Navy

USS Idaho underway with turret number one facing starboard, sometime in 1943. She was fortunate in not being at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, but as a result was not as extensively modernized as those ships requiring significant repair. She served throughout the Pacific campaign, mainly in shore bombardment roles.

Dorie Miller, War Hero

At 7:48 am on December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter planes and bombers began their surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In two waves of attack, the Japanese sunk 4 battleships, as well as damaged 4 more battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and 1 minelayer, along with destroying 188 aircraft. The early morning attack also killed 2,403 Americans and injured another 1,178. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, caused the United States to enter World War II.

African Americans supported the war effort. Although there were limited opportunities for them in the Armed Forces, 2.5 million black men registered for the draft and thousands of black women joined auxiliary units. African Americans generally served in segregated combat support groups with limited military engagement. On the homefront, African Americans supported the “Double-V” campaign, which meant victory against fascism abroad and victory against racism at home, in addition to supporting the March on Washington campaign in 1941, in an effort to demand equal employment in the defense industries.

“Above and beyond the call of duty” (NAID 513747)

As we remember the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, let’s not forget the heroic actions of Navy Messman Third Class Dorie Miller, who was born on October 12, 1919 in Waco, Texas. Miller joined the US Navy in 1939, and was made a mess attendant, then cook aboard the USS West Virginia. During the Pearl Harbor attack, Miller first ensured the safety of several crewmates, before he began firing at Japanese warplanes with a 50 caliber anti-aircraft gun. Miller shot down two Japanese aircraft (possibly downed two more) during the raid.  

“December 7th – Remember!!” (NAID 535613)

In RG 80 Correspondence Relating to Discrimination, 1941-1944 (National Archives Identifier 120920855) series, the file unit Dorie Miller (NAID 26416709) contains memorandums, letters, and newspaper coupons from the black community to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, encouraging him to admit Miller to the Naval Academy. As a messman, Miller was ineligible for military training, even though he was a hero in the Pearl Harbor attack. The letters and coupons from black newspapers to FDR received attention from the president and were forwarded to the Navy Department. However, Miller was too old to attend the Navy Academy. Only candidates for midshipmen between the ages of 17 and 21 were considered. Miller was 23-years-old.

Letter to FDR (NAID 26416709)

Coupons from black newspapers to FDR (NAID 26416709) [Published material found in this series may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the publisher for further information.]

Memo from the Navy Department (NAID 26416709)

Following Pearl Harbor, Miller received a Navy Cross from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. He would later receive the Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal – Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. In the spring of 1943, he was assigned to the USS Liscome Bay (still at the rank of messman), when he was killed during a Japanese submarine attack on November 24, 1943 near the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific.

Image of Dorie Miller (NAID 26416709) [Published material found in this series may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the publisher for further information.]

Via 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor: Dorie Miller, War Hero | Rediscovering Black History, written by Dr. Tina L. Ligon, Supervisory Archivist at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland

Follow the National Archives this week, including our accounts at @usnatarchives, @fdrlibrary, @preservearchives, @congressarchives, @riversidearchives, and @ourpresidents, as we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with images, stories, and documents from our holdings.

Explore more resources and events on the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor from the National Archives »


The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ship’s 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor. The 184-foot-long Memorial structure spanning the mid-portion of the sunken battleship consists of three main sections: the entry and assembly rooms; a central area designed for ceremonies and general observation; and the shrine room, where the names of those killed on the Arizona are engraved on the marble wall.

Arizona was the most heavily damaged of all the vessels in Battleship Row, suffering three near-misses and four direct-hits from 800-kg bombs dropped by high-altitude Kates. The last bomb to strike her penetrated her deck starboard of turret two and detonated within a 14-inch powder magazine. The resulting massive explosion broke the ship in two forward of turret one, collapsed her forecastle decks, and created such a cavity that her forward turrets and conning tower fell thirty feet into her hull.

The USS Arizona Memorial grew out of wartime desire to establish some sort of memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those who died in the attack. Suggestions for such a memorial began in 1943, but it wasn’t until 1949, when the Territory of Hawaii established the Pacific War Memorial Commission, that the first real steps were taken to bring it about. Initial recognition came in 1950 when Admiral Arthur Radford, Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), ordered that a flagpole be erected over the sunken battleship. On the ninth anniversary of the attack, a commemorative plaque was placed at the base of the flagpole. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who helped achieve Allied victory in Europe during World War II, approved the creation of the Memorial in 1958. Its construction was completed in 1961 with public funds appropriated by Congress and private donations. The Memorial was dedicated in 1962. According to its architect, Alfred Preis, the design of the Memorial, “Wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory….The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses…his innermost feelings.”

Contrary to popular belief, the USS Arizona is no longer in commission. As a special tribute to the ship and her lost crew, the United States flag flies from the flagpole, which is attached to the severed mainmast of the sunken battleship. The USS Arizona Memorial has come to commemorate all military personnel killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.


Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which officially catapulted the United States into the Second World War.

This illustration from 1943 depicts Doris “Dorie” Miller (1919-1943), an African-American sailor from Waco, Texas during that fateful morning in 1941 as he defends the fleet at Pearl Harbor from the USS West Virginia. Despite not being trained on the .50 caliber Browning, Miller impressively managed to shoot down an estimated 3 to 4 Japanese planes until he ran out of ammunition. At that point, Miller began to help moving injured sailors out of harm’s way before abandoning the ship.

For his efforts on that day, Miller was awarded the US Navy Cross and was lauded as one of the first American heroes in Second World War (as the pin shows).

Miller would unfortunately be killed in action onboard the USS Liscome Bay during the battle of Makin Island 1943.

(US National Archives, USAmericana)

Airman First Class | ED

Originally posted by x-sempre

June 7, 1941 | Tripler General Hospital — Oahu, Hawaii

Seaman Apprentice Harvey Clark was horribly sunburnt, most likely the worst case I’d ever seen. His skin was as red as a lobster, and he was cryin’ like a newborn baby just whipped on the behind. Those Navy men never knew when to put their shirts on, and mister Harvey was surely one of ‘em. “Now you’re just gonna have to go on and lay there for a while, mister Clark. You’ll be alright, but if you keep rollin’ around them bedsheets you’re gonna peel that skin right off.” His grunts and groans were of a little boy, you’d think a man in the military could take a sunburn every once in a while.

Keep reading

“USS Bennington (CVA-20) passes the wreck of USS Arizona (BB-39) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Memorial Day, 31 May 1958. Bennington’s crew is in formation on the flight deck, spelling out a tribute to the Arizona’s crewmen who were lost in the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Note the outline of Arizona’s hull and the flow of oil from her fuel tanks.”

(NHHC: USN 1036055)

Between two Atlantic convoy escorts, on December 7, 1941:
1st ship:
2nd ship:
—  Make Another Signal, by Captain Jack Broome, RN (Ret.)

anonymous asked:

Why is Enterprise so famous

Ah, Enterprise. I assume you’re taking about USS Enterprise, CV-6 or CVN-65? If so, there is a lot of reasons.
The first one: Enterprise is a name that has been in the U.S. Navy for centuries, with nine ships (including the soon-to-be-built CVN-80) having used the name. It’s been in the Royal Navy since the early 1700s, with fifteen ships named Enterprise or Enterprize.

Second: USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the most highly decorated carrier of WWII. She participated in every major fleet action except for two, earning twenty battle stars. She sank or damaged 263 ships, and downed 911 planes. From December 7, 1941, to May 14, 1945 - when a kamikaze blew one of her elevators hundreds of meters sky high - she fought in WWII.

At one point in the Pacific, when Lexington, Wasp, Yorktown, and Hornet were sunk, and Saratoga damaged, she was the only U.S. carrier remaining in the entire Pacific. Whole war strategies depended on CV-6’s survival and strength, Enterprise vs. Japan. After the war, she languished until 1958 when she was scrapped. Admiral Halsey had been leading an effort to save her by turning her into a museum ship, but he was unable to raise enough money.

Third: USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the first nuclear-powered ship, not to mention aircraft carrier, in the world. She ushered in the nuclear age for the navies of the world, and was the longest ship in the world. She was decommissioned in 2013, ending 51 years of service.

Fourth: Enterprise (OV-101), the space shuttle.

Originally to be named Constitution and rolled out on Constitution Day, thousands of letters to the White House convinced president Gerald Ford to name her Enterprise, after the ship from Star Trek. Speaking of Star Trek…

Fifth: USS Enterprise (XCV-330, NX-01) NCC-1701/A/B/C/D/E/J) plus ISS Enterprise (NX-01, NCC-1701). Originally supposed to be named after USS Yorktown (CV-5), she was renamed to Enterprise. Since then, Star Trek and therefore Enterprise has become one of the most famous scifi series to ever play on television. Amusingly, NCC-1701 is a Constitution-class vessel, just like how OV-101 was supposed to be named Constitution.

Sixth: Enterprise, Rent-A-Car. This company that you may or may not have rented a car from in this past was founded by WWII veterans.


Peggy Carter being so done with inaccurate WWII films (Pearl Harbor, 2001)

  1. Several of the nurses in the film have hair longer than would have been allowed. Military women weren’t permitted to wear their hair longer than just above their collar.
  2. The Willys Jeep M38 shown in this scene wasn’t produced until 1950.
  3. The Eagle Squadron badge shown on his right arm in this scene was only used for the No. 303 Polish Fighting Squadron, never was it used for any squadron in England for which this soldier was fighting in. 
  4. This woman is wearing a modern style bikini, something that didn’t appear until 1946 when Louis Reard and Jacques Heim introduced it in Paris. 
  5. Danny exclaims “I think World War II just hit us!” when in fact it wasn’t called “World War II” until 1948. World War I was still being referred to as “The Great War” at the time. 
  6. The Japanese Zeros depicted here are painted dark green, but during 1941 they were painted light grey. They weren’t painted green until 1943. 

-Original Prompt: Historically Innacurate World War II Movies
-The Attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941
-Happy CarterCentury week!