Photograph from a Japanese plane of Battleship Row at the beginning of the attack
The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.
The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. Of the eight damaged, six were raised, repaired and returned to service later in the war. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded.
The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8) the United States declared war on Japan.