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  • On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces

  • attacked the US at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

  • The attack claimed over 2,400 American lives

  • and sank multiple Navy ships.

  • But what happened immediately afterward?

  • Well, today we're going to take a look

  • at what happened immediately after the attack on Pearl

  • Harbor.

  • But before we get started, be sure to subscribe to the Weird

  • History Channel and let us know in the comments

  • below what other war timelines you would like to hear about.

  • OK?

  • So let's head back to a day that lived in infamy.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • The attack on Pearl Harbor changed day-to-day life

  • in Hawaii for years afterward.

  • Within hours, the army declared martial law

  • throughout the territory, and at 6:00 PM

  • that evening a strict curfew went into effect.

  • The army even ordered all public places closed, including bars.

  • But that was just the beginning.

  • The army actually went as far as to temporarily prohibit

  • the sale of alcohol throughout the entire state.

  • Schools were closed, and all food sales

  • were suspended so the military could inventory the island's

  • food stocks.

  • Gasoline rations went into effect almost immediately.

  • And while that state of martial law

  • was a response to the attack, it would remain

  • in effect in Hawaii until 1944.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • The first report about the Pearl Harbor attack

  • reached the mainland around 2:00 PM Eastern time

  • on December 7, 1941.

  • Short and to the point, it read "Air raid, Pearl Harbor.

  • This is no drill."

  • President Roosevelt was one of the first

  • to learn of the attack from Secretary

  • of the Navy, Frank Knox.

  • In fact, it all happened so fast,

  • the attack was actually still in progress

  • as Roosevelt began to weigh his next move.

  • He called Press Secretary Steve Early

  • and ordered him to release a statement

  • to the media, which still hadn't learned of the bombings.

  • Early put together a three-way call with the major news

  • services, and their first bulletin went out at 2:22 PM.

  • It read--

  • Flash-- Washington.

  • The White House announces Japanese attack

  • on Pearl Harbor.

  • Once the news was out, it spread like wildfire.

  • Radio networks across the country

  • even cut into their broadcast to report on the emerging

  • situation.

  • As the attack continued, a reporter

  • with NBC's Honolulu affiliate climbed

  • onto the roof of the Honolulu Advertiser building.

  • Carrying a microphone and a telephone,

  • the reporter phoned in the first eyewitness

  • account of the attack.

  • The battle had been raging for three hours at that point,

  • and the reporter told viewers, many of whom

  • were initially skeptical that the US would really

  • be attacked, that--

  • It is no joke.

  • This is a real war.

  • This first eyewitness account was quickly

  • followed by reports of Japanese airstrikes in Thailand

  • and the Philippines.

  • The Japanese were also sending soldiers into Hong Kong

  • to seize the British colony.

  • It was a massive coordinated effort,

  • and it seemed to be working.

  • Working in concert with the military,

  • FBI agents quickly descended on Hawaii

  • to round up suspicious persons, and around them up they did.

  • Within 40 hours of the attack, more than 2,000 people

  • were detained.

  • And with the state under martial law,

  • these people had no right to habeas corpus or a trial

  • by jury.

  • One suspect was 13-year-old Walter Oka, a Japanese-American

  • accused of tracking military ships in the days

  • before the attack.

  • FBI agents descended on Oka's home.

  • But once they realized he was just a child,

  • they dropped the investigation and hopefully felt

  • pretty embarrassed about the whole thing.

  • All the images of the Pearl Harbor bombing

  • were immediately censored.

  • Military personnel seized both still and motion pictures

  • of the attack.

  • And by noon, the army had blocked

  • the transmission of any unauthorized information

  • about the raid.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • As reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor

  • began to fill the radio, listeners across the country

  • panicked.

  • Among the genuine information was plenty of misinformation,

  • and the false reports only fueled the chaos.

  • CBS News incorrectly reported that Japanese paratroopers had

  • been spotted in Honolulu and had been sighted off Harbor Point.

  • The same station reported a handful of civilian casualties

  • in Honolulu and dive bombers attacking the city

  • from a Japanese aircraft carrier.

  • They also claim that aerial dogfights were raging

  • in the skies over Honolulu.

  • None of it was true, but at the moment

  • the general public had no way of knowing that.

  • And the misinformation fueled anxiety

  • about the extent of the attack.

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  • As everyone's fear-based reactions kicked in,

  • Japanese-Americans quickly fell under blanket suspicion.

  • This made things extra complicated

  • since in Hawaii at the time 37% of all residents

  • were of Japanese heritage.

  • These people were heavily scrutinized,

  • and even President Roosevelt promoted

  • the idea of removing all Japanese people

  • from the island of Oahu.

  • However, the military realized such around up would

  • be impractical and would affect the labor

  • division on the island.

  • Later in 1942, Roosevelt would force 120,000 Americans

  • of Japanese descent living on the mainland

  • to live in internment camps during World War II.

  • Out of fear, Japanese people living on the islands

  • hit anything that linked them to Japan.

  • Members of the Nakasone household, for example,

  • made sure they didn't have any images of the Japanese emperor.

  • Jane Kurahara, who was a child living in Honolulu at the time,

  • later recalled that she wasn't supposed

  • to speak Japanese anymore, saying

  • it was almost like a sin.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • In San Francisco, Upton Close, and NBC radio personality,

  • phoned the Japanese consulate to find out more about the attack.

  • On the phone, the Consul General Secretary Kazuyoshi Inagaki

  • said the attack was a complete surprise to the consulate.

  • On the air, Close, himself, speculated

  • that the claim could be true.

  • He reasoned that it was easily possible that the bombing was

  • a coup engineered by a small portion of the Japanese Navy

  • that had gone fanatic.

  • He even asserted that it might be

  • possible for the Japanese government

  • to repudiate the action and repair the injury to America.

  • However, inside the consulate panicking Japanese officials

  • were burning sensitive documents.

  • The blaze grew out of control, and the fire department

  • was called to put out the fire.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Americans on the West Coast, the closest part

  • of the mainland US to Japan, worried

  • about additional attacks.

  • On the afternoon of the bombing, San Francisco's NBC station

  • reported that there was no indication whatsoever

  • that any sabotage had taken place

  • or that any Japanese spies or saboteurs were at work.

  • Not taking any chances, in Los Angeles

  • the County Sheriff rushed to Little Tokyo

  • to take charge of the district.

  • According to reports, the sheriff

  • gathered up a number of volunteers

  • and set up a watching post to keep an eye on the Japanese,

  • but they didn't see anything that

  • required any kind of action.

  • In fact, people on both sides of the fence

  • remain calm and decent.

  • Not surprising when you remember they were also all Americans.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Meanwhile, back in Hawaii, the military

  • wasn't taking any risks.

  • Worried that Japanese-Americans could be loyal to Japan

  • after the attack, the military ordered all Japanese residents

  • to turn over banned items.

  • This included radios and binoculars

  • that might be used to signal Japanese forces,

  • as well as any firearms.

  • Japanese-Americans were suddenly enemies in their own country.

  • And with martial law declared, they had no right

  • to defend themselves in court.

  • As night fell on the West Coast, the states

  • of Washington, Oregon, and California,

  • concerned about being attacked, observed a blackout.

  • Residents were asked to turn off all their lights

  • once it was dark so that enemy aircraft couldn't identify

  • cities.

  • Civilian radio stations also went off the air

  • since aircraft could also locate cities using radio waves.

  • When darkness fell in Seattle, radio station KIRO

  • announced that every light of any kind in the area

  • must be out by 11 o'clock.

  • Residents were informed that the test their blackout,

  • they would have plenty of time between the hours of 7:00

  • and 11:00.

  • This time was to be used, among other things,

  • to get heavy black paper and heavy drapes to seal windows.

  • No headlights were to be used on automobiles,

  • and no lights whatsoever were to be showing anywhere

  • on the Pacific coast until 30 minutes after daylight.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • In Seattle, people took the blackout very seriously.

  • In fact, when it went into effect,

  • a mob targeted businesses that did not turn out their lights,

  • leading to a riot.

  • It began at 4th Avenue and pike street downtown.

  • The lighted letters of the Foremen and Clark

  • store shown even during the blackout.

  • A crowd gathered, throwing rocks at the lights.

  • Over the course of an hour, rioters

  • smashed most of the 12-letter sign, then moved

  • on to other lights.

  • Teenager Ethel Chelsvig soon became the leader of the mob.

  • She shouted, break them, turn them out, and asked the crowd

  • if they would really just stand by and do nothing

  • while the lights threatened the very life of the city.

  • Chelsvig was detained and when questioned by the police,

  • she told them, this is war.

  • One light in the city might betray us.

  • She was eventually fined $25 for disorderly conduct.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Newsrooms quickly prepare their headline stories

  • on the Pearl Harbor attack.

  • Typographers searched for their largest typefaces.

  • Around the country, the headlines read "War,"

  • and readers snatched up the papers the morning

  • after the attack.

  • The San Francisco Chronicle concluded, if war had to come,

  • it is perhaps well that it came this way--

  • wanton, unwarned, in fraud, and under a flag of truce.

  • And in the Los Angeles Times, an editorial read,

  • Japan has asked for it.

  • It was the act of a mad dog, a gangster's parody

  • of every principle of international honor.

  • On the morning of December 8, 1941, less than 24 hours

  • after the attack, President Roosevelt

  • gave a speech to a joint session of Congress.

  • The speech went down in history, where Roosevelt's assertion

  • that December 7th would be a day that would live in infamy.

  • He asked Congress for a declaration of war

  • against Japan, and they gave him one that very day.

  • Three days later, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy,

  • declared war on the US.

  • The rest, as they say, is history.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • So what do you think?

  • Did anything about the timeline surprise you?

  • Let us know in the comments below.

  • And while you're at it, check out some of these other videos

  • from our Weird History.

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On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces

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