The saga of Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - December 8, 2019 - 12:00am

Today, the Catholic world celebrates the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The country also recalls, with some pain, the start of World War II. Our enemies then are now our allies. Japan, now a US ally, must have learned its lesson well. China should be forewarned that the US is a great friend but a very bad enemy. And the Philippines can’t be bullied forever.

Today, we recall how Japan executed the greatest treachery against the US and its allies. Early morning of December 7 (December 8 in the Philippines), thousands of Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, while most of the US sailors were still in bed or having breakfast. The blitzkrieg attack, in less than two hours, destroyed 20 American warships, burned 300 US warplanes and killed 2,403 sailors, soldiers, and civilians. Many Filipinos who were part of the US military forces, mostly in the US Navy, and some civilian Pinoy employees, also perished. This was treachery because it was surreptitiously and surprisingly executed before Japan declared war.

Japan thought meant to paralyze the entire US Pacific Fleet. The truth is most of the US warplanes were out on mission to Wake Island and Midway. And unknown to Japan, many of the US installations remained intact, including the oil storage depots, repair shops, shipyards, and submarine docks. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called an emergency joint session of Congress and declared: “Yesterday, a date which will live in infamy, the USA was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through absolute victory.” Those words proved prophetic a few years later.

Immediately thereafter, the USA declared war against Japan. It was almost a unanimous vote, except for the lone dissenting voice of a noted pacifist, Montana representative Jeannette Rankin, who always voted against all declarations of wars. Earlier in her career she also voted against the entry of the USA into World War I. But then again, the USA had to defend itself against the ambitions of the Japanese.

After the unprecedented and unduplicated four-term tenure of FDR, President Harry Truman was elected. On August 6, 1945, Truman authorized the nuclear attack on two cities in Japan. The B-29 bomber “Enola Gay” dropped the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima killing instantaneously no less than 90,000 people, mostly civilians. A few days earlier, US planes dropped leaflets warning the Japanese that very soon then a ''prompt and utter destruction'' was about to befall them. At least the US gave a warning, unlike the treachery in Pearl Harbor. Next was Nagasaki where no less than 80,000 died. Hundreds of thousands also died later due to radiation.

The US has demonstrated its will to fight back any form of treachery. China should be reminded now that the conflict between the USA and Japan in 1941 was because the Americans were defending China against the expansionism of the Japanese Empire.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with