A Japanese torpedo bomber over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941.
Credit: Image courtesy of American Memory at the Library of Congress.
Today President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation designating December 7th "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."
On a serene Sunday morning 70 years ago, the skies above Pearl Harbor were darkened by the bombs of Japanese forces in a surprise attack that tested the resilience of our Armed Forces and the will of our Nation. As explosions sounded and battleships burned, brave service members fought back fiercely with everything they could find. Unbeknownst to these selfless individuals, the sacrifices endured on that infamous day would galvanize America and come to symbolize the mettle of a generation….
I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn day of remembrance and to honor our military, past and present, with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I urge all Federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff this December 7 in honor of those American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.
EDSITEment joins the nation by reflecting upon this fateful day in American History with resources to help students investigate the events leading up to the attack.
In the lesson, Turning the Tide in the Pacific, 1941-1943, students put themselves in the shoes of U.S. and Japanese diplomats in the final months of 1941, earnestly trying to reach a settlement that will avoid war. Through the use of primary documents and an interactive map and timeline, they consider whether there was any reasonable chance of preventing the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific.
For the longer historical view, The Road to Pearl Harbor explores the rise of animosity between the United States and Japan beginning in World War I and continuing over the next two decades. The National History Education Clearinghouse website, teachinghistory.org comments “this unit is full of rich primary source material and a wide variety of related classroom activities.”
EDSITEment Student Interactive: How to Win a World War: East Asia and the Pacific in WWII includes map of the World War II Pacific Theater students can use to follow the campaigns.
For additional resources follow Thinkfinity resources link: Remembering Pearl Harbor including activities for younger students like Wonderopolis, How to unlock a secret code? For middle school students, link to a lesson from Xpeditions, Getting Involved in War which introduces them to the causes of the War and considers the reasons Japan decided to attack Pearl Harbor.