Attack on Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941
The attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II was the most costly defeat ever suffered by the United States, but, as it proved, it was for the Japanese the most costly victory. Their infamous attack violated one of the major principles of warfare: if you strike a king, strike to kill. The attack on Pearl Harbor knocked out the Pacific fleet, but it did not knock out the United States; rather it united the American people and fired its will to victory as nothing else could have done. Within six months of Pearl Harbor, a reconstructed and vastly enlarged American navy inflicted on the Japanese at Midway their first naval defeat, and one from which they never recovered. Within one year, the nation the Japanese had hoped to knock out launched successful offensives in two quarters of the globe - the Solomon Islands and North Africa - and both were crowned with victory.