Taken from a documentary about WWII, this is a short section about the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. [Reader's Digest Classic Collection-World War II Combat Chronicles ©MMIV Questar Inc.]
Much has been written about this 'day in infamy'...I found this, and this. I learned a lot. Also look at War On Terror News here, for the sheer numbers of that day.
From the BBC:
Although Pearl Harbor started the Pacific War, a war that Japan would lose badly, the attack itself was no failure. The Japanese wanted to cripple the Pacific Fleet and give them the space to invade South-east Asia. They did: Japan won every major battle until Midway in June 1942. By that time it occupied territory from Manchuria to the East Indies, and from India's borders to deep into the Pacific. The attack on Pearl Harbor bought Japan the space and time it needed.
Although only chance saved the American aircraft carriers, their survival was a major blow. However, the primary problem with the attack was the planning. Had Japan focused beyond the fleet and targeted the crucial shore facilities and oil reserves, it could have inflicted far greater and more lasting damage. As it was, of the ships damaged or sunk on December 7th 1941, only three - the Arizona, Oklahoma and Utah - were damaged beyond repair, and Utah was already obsolete. Japan gave America the chance to rebuild its fleet and re-enter the fight with brand new kit.
Even worse, rather than crushing American morale as planned, the attack united the country behind Roosevelt and behind war. Americans were incensed by Japan's failure to declare war until later that day: the sneak attack fuelled American determination to fight on, even in the face of the setbacks of early 1942....
Much more here.
Lest We Forget