Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan.

 

At dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, six Japanese carriers launched a first wave of 181 planes composed of torpedo bombers, dive bombers, horizontal bombers and fighters against Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Here's a look back at that terrible day, which spurred the U.S. to enter World War II:

The attack wasn't just on Pearl Harbor, but included other military installations on the island. Huge losses were also suffered at Hickam, Wheeler and Bellows airfields, Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneoshe Bay Naval Air Station and Schofield Barracks.

The attack by 183 Japanese planes began at 8:02 a.m., as most people were waking up for what they thought was a quiet Sunday.Less than two hours later, 2,280 American servicemen and 68 civilians were dead, and 1,109 were wounded.Eight battleships were damaged and five were sunk, while three light cruisers, three destroyers, three smaller vessels and 188 aircrafts were lost.

The USS Arizona went down only nine minutes after being hit by a 1,760-pound bomb. Killed in the horrendous explosion were 1,177 crewmen.Things could have been even worse, if not for a goof by Japanese strategists. Their main targets were the U.S. fleet's aircraft carriers -- most of which were out of port that day.

Learn more about Pearl Harbor at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund home page. The site includes information on the USS Arizona Memorial, history, and a memorial registry. http://www.pearlharbormemorial.com/

EyeWitness to History.com's Attack At Pearl Harbor, 1941 includes a written account of a survivor. http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/pearl.htm