Pearl Harbor

A list of rumors that will surely live in infamy.

Published Dec 6, 2019

Thick smoke billows up from stricken American warships (from left, USS West Virginia and USS Tennessee) along battleship row during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, December 7, 1941. (Photo by US Navy/Interim Archives/Getty Images) (US Navy/Interim Archives/Getty Images)
Image Via US Navy/Interim Archives/Getty Images

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise air attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing more than 2,400 Americans, sinking or damaging more than a dozen warships, and destroying more than 180 aircraft. The next day, in a speech memorializing the incident as “a date which will live in infamy,” U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a formal declaration of war. Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, responded days later by declaring war on the United States. It was America’s official entry into World War II.

The scope and severity of the event and its consequences made Pearl Harbor a ripe target for rumors, then and now.

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Historic image of the Titanic.
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pearl harbor movie still
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David Emery is a Portland-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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