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On the Front Page: A Look Back at Pearl Harbor


The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor via Wikimedia Commons / National Archives and Records Administration

A "day which will live in infamy" is how President Franklin D. Roosevelt described December 7, 1941. On that date, just a little before 8 in the morning, 353 Japanese bombers assaulted the U.S. naval base of Pearl Harbor at the Hawaiian Island, Oahu. The Japanese bombers sank three battleships, damaged others and destroyed 160 combat aircraft in two waves of attacks. However, the greatest devastation was the 2,403 lives lost and 1,178 wounded by the attacks. There have been hundreds of excellent written works documenting the attack on Pearl Harbor, but there is no better way to truly understand the sentiment of the day than seeing how the events actually unfolded—which is why newspapers are one of the best resources for historical research. The New York Public Library provides free access to hundreds of digitized newspapers to patrons with a New York Public Library card. Take a look at these front pages covering the attack on Pearl Harbor from across the United States and from around the world. The illustrations in The Boston Daily Globe  and the Chicago Daily Tribune  attest to the differing feelings on entering the war. The Los Angeles Times shows on its front page the first steps towards the Japanese internment camps that would eventually hold over 100,000 Japanese Americans. Also, the international newspapers, such as The Palestine Post, provide a global perspective on the United States finally entering the war.   

 In addition to thousands of print resources, NYPL also offers a large number of electronic resources to help you further explore important events in history. Take a look at the approximately 500 online research options available, many accessible from home with a library card. This blog post was researched entirely using NYPL's electronic resources, and we challenge you to go beyond the search engine and dig deeper online with NYPL.  

New York Times, Dec 08 ,1941.


Daily Boston Globe, Dec 08, 1941.


Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec 08, 1941.


New York Herald Tribune , Dec 08 ,1941.


Los Angeles Times, Dec 08, 1941.


Atlanta Daily World, Dec 08, 1941.


The Hartford Courant, Dec 08 ,1941.


The Globe and Mail, Dec 08, 1941.


The Palestine Post, Dec 08 ,1941.


The Irish Times, Dec 08, 1941.



Andrews, Bert. "Japan Declares War on U. S., Bombs Hawaii, Philippines, Guam; Congress to Act Today Tokio Troops Invade Malaya and Thailand." New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest.1 Dec. 2017.

Benson, Sonia, et al. "Pearl Harbor Attack." UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History, vol. 6, UXL, 2009, pp. 1205-1207. Gale Virtual Reference Library. 1 Dec. 2017.

Black, Brian. "Pearl Harbor." Encyclopedia of American Studies, edited by Simon Bronner, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1st edition, 2016. Credo Reference. 1 Dec 2017.

Endo, Rachel. "Internment Camps." Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife, edited by Jonathan H. X. Lee and Kathleen M. Nadeau, vol. 2, ABC-CLIO, 2011, pp. 606-610. Gale Virtual Reference Library. 1 Dec. 2017.

"JAPAN DECLARES WAR ON DEMOCRACIES." The Irish Times (1921-Current File): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

"JAPAN MAKES WAR ON AMERICA." The Palestine Post (1933-1950): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

"JAPAN STRIKES ALL OVER PACIFIC." Daily Boston Globe (1928-1960): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

"JAPAN WARS ON U.S. AND BRITAIN; MAKES SUDDEN ATTACK ON HAWAII; HEAVY FIGHTING AT SEA REPORTED." New York Times (1923-Current file): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

"JAPS DECLARE WAR, BOMB U. S. BASES PRESIDENT MEETS CONGRESS TODAY." The Hartford Courant (1923-1991): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

"JAPS OPEN WAR ON U.S. WITH BOMBING OF HAWAII." Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

“NATION RISES TO MEET JAPAN'S WAR DECLARATION AGAINST U.S." Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

"RAIDERS BLAST HONOLULU, AIR AND NAVY BASES." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.

Robertson, Douglas. "JAPAN ATTACKS HAWAII Tokyo Declares War on U.S. and Britain IMPERIALS OPEN 'BIG PUSH' IN LIBYA." The Globe and Mail (1936-Current): 1. Dec 08 1941. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2017.


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