The attack on Pearl Harbor has gone down in history as one of the most tragic events in American history. It was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States' entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.
Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. The image above shows The USS Shaw, which had just been docked there, exploding on impact. This was a Mahan-class destroyer, named for Captain John Shaw, that sustained major damage from several bomb hits by Japanese forces during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The spectacular explosion of her forward magazine provided this brutal shot, one of the most iconic photographs of the attack.