By December 7, 1941, Japan had long been a nation at war. Lacking natural resources, Japan looked outward to support its expansionist military exploits. In an attempt to curtail this expansion, the United States had put an embargo on oil exports to Japan. In turn, the Japanese could give either up the territory it had fought for in the past two decades or risk all-out war with the West by seizing American and European territories in the Pacific.

With Japanese representatives in Washington purportedly working towards peace, their military crept ever closer to American-, British- and Dutch-held territory throughout the Pacific. In what was to be a devastating several hours, Japan defied expectations by attacking Pearl Harbor, Wake Island Guam and the Philippines. On December 8, 1941, the day after the series of costly surprise attacks, the US declared war on Japan.

 

TRACE THE EVENTS OF DECEMBER 1941

PEARL HARBOR

12.07.41

GUAM

12.08.41 – 12.10.41
 

WAKE ISLAND

12.08.41 – 12.23.41

PHILIPPINES

12.08.41 – 05.07.42

SELECT A SPECIFIC BATTLE ABOVE TO VIEW INTERACTIVE MAPS, WATCH ORAL HISTORIES AND MORE.

FOR
TEACHERS

Download classroom materials for K–12, including lesson plans a historical overview and more.
 

SUGGESTED READING

Gain a deeper understanding of the events of this period and beyond.
 
 

 

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WWII

From December 7 to 9, 2011, the Museum commemorated the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the events that followed with the International Conference on WWII in New Orleans. Distinguished historians, journalists and veterans explored the war From Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal.

BRING THE MUSEUM TO YOUR TOWN

Find out how you can bring some of the most dramatic images of the war to your location with a copy of the exhibit Infamy: December 7, 1941. Options include a full traveling exhibit and a green option ideal for classrooms and non-traditional venues.
 

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RELATED EVENTS AT THE MUSEUM

December 7 – 9, 2011
The International Conference on WWII — From Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Pearl Harbor Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Film Screening — From Here to Eternity

Thursday, January 12, 2012
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Meet the Curators — Infamy — December 1941

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Film Screening — Forgotten Soldiers Documentary Premiere

Saturday, January 21, 2011
10:00 am – 11:30 am
Family Programming — Young Historians Tour

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Film Screening — Wake Island

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Film Screening — They Were Expendable

All events are free and open to the public. For more information on these and other events, visit our calendar.