December 1941

US and World Events plus Additional Resources


View a photo gallery of damage from the Pearl Harbor attack and a memo to the President about the damage. This memorandum (presumably prepared by the Navy Department) was one of the first written damage assessments presented to the President that afternoon of December 7, 1941. In his own hand, Roosevelt has indicated the date and time he received it.

1. A jumbled mass of wreckage of the U.S. destroyers Downes (left) and Cassin (right).

2. Original caption reads: “USS West Virginia and USS Tennessee after attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.” Archivist note: USS West Virginia, BB-48, sinking after being hit with seven torpedoes and two armor-piercing bombs. Alongside is USS Tennessee, BB-43, after being hit with two bombs and being damaged by the explosion of the USS Arizona. In the foreground are yard patrol craft which appear to be assisting in damage control and rescue operations.

3. This is the wreckage-strewn Naval Air Station at Pearl Harbor following the Japanese attack on the morning of December 7, 1941. In the background an explosion sends a mass of flames and smoke high into the sky. December 7, 1941.

4. Three US battleships left burning after the attack at Pearl Harbor, HI. Left to right: USS West Virginia, severely damaged; USS Tennessee, damaged; USS Arizona, sunk. December 7, 1941.