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Pearl Harbor 82nd anniversary facts: how many planes attacked, how many people died…

Thousands of Americans died in the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. 19 US Navy ships were damaged and four battleships were sunk.

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Joel CarrilletGetty Images

Around 8 a.m. on 7 December, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. The attack led to thousands of deaths and the United States formal entry into World War II.

The goal of Pearl Harbor was to disrupt the American Pacific Fleet. Japan had been expanding its presence in East Asia and the Pacific during the 1930s and the onset of the Second World War in Europe was a perfect opportunity to capture the “Southern resource area”, that is French Indochina, the Dutch East Indies, and the Phillipines, then under the control of the USA. By striking first in what was seeming an inevitable war, the Japanese hoped to buy time to reinforce their holdings and keep the much more powerful Americans at bay.

How many American ships were attacked at Pearl Harbor?

The naval base had nineteen navy ships and eight naval battleships, of which all were attacked and four sunk. In total, 2,403 Americans died in the attack, 68 of these people were civilians.

The most casualties were on the USS Arizona in which over 1,000 men were killed. 429 crewmen were also killed on the USS Oklahoma, which sank into the ocean after being attacked by torpedoes. Only 32 men were rescued from the ship and brought to safety.

How many planes attacked Pearl Harbor?

It has been estimated that Japanese Navy Air Service sent 353 aircraft to attack Pearl Harbor. This included fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers, and they were sent out to attack in two separate waves.

Pearl Harbor was not only attacked from the air, but also by heavy cruisers, battleships, and submarines.

129 Japanese men were reported to have been killed in Pearl Harbor and with 29 Japanese planes lost, an impressive return.

What happened after Pearl Harbor?

After the attack, public opinion regarding entering the war changed and a day later President Franklin Roosevelt officially declared war on Japan. Days after Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini declared war on the United States, bringing the US into the Second World War.