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Pearl Harbor

Listed under Battlefields in Honolulu, United States.

  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
  • Photo of Pearl Harbor
Photo of Pearl Harbor
Photo by Sherry Ott
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Like other sites of major incidents of warfare, Pearl Harbour must be spoken about in two different ways: as Hawaii’s largest natural harbour enclosed by green volcanic hills and as a place lodged in the history of human warfare.

The bombing of this major American military port was what charged America to finally enter the war and eventually to the dropping of the atomic bombs which flattened Nagasaki and Hiroshima and finished WWII. Two waves of attack totalling more than 350 individual bombers were let loose on Pearl Harbour wrecking half of the US’s Pacific fleet including a mineship, two destroyers and two battleships damaged beyond repair and killing around 2,500 men and injuring another 1,200.

The time, 7:48am and date December 7 1941 (interestingly for the Japanese the time and date are 3:18am on the 8th of December.) are now legend. Totally unprepared many men were woken to the sounds of bombs, planes were parked in tight formation, many artillery stores were locked shut and many ship board guns were unmanned during the entire battle. Some ships managed to fight back or flee, famously the destroyer USS Aylwin was got underway with only four very junior officers on board.

Only two ships the USS Utah and USS Arizona are still on the sea floor, though stripped of most of their weaponry. A figure of 20,000 hours diving time was reported during the rescue mission in terrible visibility due to the loss of oil and petrol and men in the water. Pearl Harbour is still a US deep water military base today. Scars and memorials include the US Ensign which is floated over Arizona on a white shrine which straddles the ship underwater, 250 people can stand on it and it is decorated with the names of all the men who died in the attack. An opening in the deck gives visitors a chance to see the Arizona’s wreck beneath. On shore is a more expansive memorial picking apart the events of the attack , many plaques and a visitors centre.

USS Arizona Information from the US National Parks Service.

Written by  Gerald Foe.

Other expert and press reviews

“Remembering the day of infamy”

Planes are zooming in, rat-a-tat-tat echoing around me, bombs exploding, smoke everywhere and the footage continues to roll past me in black and white. The Pearl Harbor attack; a day I’ve only read about. As I sit and watch the movie of the attack,… Read more...

Written by  Sherry Ott. Read more on Sherry's blog

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers


The short film prior to stepping on the boat was really a touching mini-documentary. Right when you step on the boat onto the USS Arizona, you can't believe you are viewing a part of history.

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