Attack on Pearl Harbor. This diorama in a scale of 1:1250 built by Günter Gdanske depicts the situation at Pearl Harbor, seconds before the attack started. It is displayed on deck 9 of the museum.
Sunday, December the 7th 1941 was in the words of the President of the USA Franklin D. Roosevelt „a date which will live in infamy.“ At 7:48 am the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched their Hawaii Operation against the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy: the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
The naval base situated near Honolulu suffered a surprise air raid that lasted for 2 hours. The USA was at that moment a non-belligerent state in World War II. Japan aimed to neutralize the US navy with a preventive strike. The material losses at Pearl Harbor were immense. A total of 2403 US-Americans were killed (68 civilians) and 1143 were wounded.
At the same time as the Attack on Pearl Harbor (December the 8th in East Asia) Japan launched coordinated attacks on Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Wake Island, the Philippines, and Guam. The next day (December the 8th in the USA), the USA declared war on Japan, starting the Pacific War. By December the 11th, Japan´s European allies, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany declared war on the USA thus truly globalizing World War II.
The situation that led to this must be understood against the background of the geopolitical tensions that had existed in the Pacific region since the end of the 19th century. Among other things, they consisted of the opposition of the colonial, economic and military interests of the Japanese Empire and the United States of America in the region.
Although estimates are difficult, about 33 million people died in the East Asian theatre of war between 1937 and 1945. It ended in 1945 with the dropping of two American atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent surrender of the Japanese Empire. The threat of nuclear weapons was to set the tone for the next emerging global conflict, the Cold War.
This diorama in a scale of 1:1250 built by Günter Gdanske depicts the situation at Pearl Harbor, seconds before the attack started. It is displayed on deck 9 of the museum.