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Transcript of Pearl Harbor
could be so bright
Elizabeth P. McIntosh Article (Primary Source)
A Civilians First Hand Account
December 7, 1941 was a day that will forever live in infamy in American History. It was a day that ordinary citizens and military personnel living in Hawaii will never forget. They were the ones that experienced this tragedy first hand. There were extreme differences in everyone's experiences that Sunday morning. People viewed the occurrences of that day from a safe vantage point while others were in the danger zone. The different experiences brought about various emotions in people. Military personnel and civilians had extremely different emotions thriving within them that day.
Elizabeth P. McIntosh's Account:
December 7, 1941
" A date which will live in infamy"
On December 7, 1941 the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor was neutralized by Japanese military forces. The
Overview of The Pearl Harbor Attack
stated that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor relied on " meticulous preparation, the achievement of surprise, and the use of aircraft carriers and naval aviation on an unprecedented scale". The attack was extremely detrimental to Pearl Harbor and the surrounding areas. Copious amounts of civilians and military personnel were extensively wounded or killed during the raid.
Military Emotions Vs. Civilian Emotions
Military Personnel First Hand Account
Commander Hubert 'Dale' Gano's Account:
The Attack on Pearl Harbor
Elizabeth P. McIntosh interviews a sailor
In December 1941, Elizabeth Peet McIntosh was a reporter for the Honolulu Star- Bulletin. In the days following the attack McIntosh "wrote a story directed at Hawaii's women..."(McIntosh). Her article of the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor went unpublished because her "editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting for readers..."(McIntosh). I chose this as my primary source because McIntosh vividly describes the horrendous scenes she came across on December 7, 1941. She also put her heartfelt emotions into the article. This source also captured my attention because it made me wonder what the Sailors and other military personnel experienced and thought during the attack.
In her article McIntosh stated that she " reported for work immediately on Sunday morning when the first news - Oahu is being attacked - crackled over the radio...", McIntosh was in disbelief of the attack. She felt the " numb terror that all of London [knew] for months". The fear of being helpless overtook McIntosh. She feared the "ripping sensation" of "shrapnel coursing through [her] chest"(McIntosh). Fear not only overtook McIntosh, it also overtook the bodies that were being taken into the hospitals, "fear contorted their faces"(McIntosh). The emergency rooms were painted in an image of fear, blood shed, and death. McIntosh wrote "that Sunday after dusk there was the all- night horror of attack in the dark." The people of Hawaii feared another attack, they were "wrapped in fear"(McIntosh).
U.S. Navy Commander Hubert 'Dale' Gano & wife Margaret Ellen 'Johnie' Gano.
The famous USS Arizona
The USS Arizona's magazine explosion, December 7, 1941.
On the morning of the attack Commander Gano and his wife Johnie were merely contemplating going to church. The decision to not go "was made for [them] by loud explosions"(Gano). Hubert Gano was stationed at the Naval Air Station. According to Gano the buildings on the NAS saw minimal damage, in comparison to the rest of Pearl Harbor. The Military personnel responded instinctively, Gano stated that everyone responded exactly as they had been trained. Military personnel such as Gano were "put into a state of shock."(Gano), while civilians were stricken with fear. Gano stated that he saw no fear manifested by the people around him. On the day of the attack all military personnel acted on their duties, they did not abandon their stations out of fear.
From the research that I did I have come to the conclusion that the attack on Pearl Harbor instilled fear into the hearts of civilians and military personnel, as well. Although, the military personnel were more in a state of shock. The civilians that lived near Pearl Harbor were burdened with fear, they were incapable of living their everyday lives. The constant fear of being attacked again consumed them. Civilians also feared that members of their family that were in the military were in constant danger. The shock that many men in the military felt was turned into motivation. Motivation to do everything in their power to ensure that a large scale attack like that never happened again. Men such as George D. Phraner, an Aviation Machinists aboard the USS Arizona stated that "at first there was a rush of fear, the blood started to flow real fast. It was then that general quarters sounded over the speaker and everything became automatic." For many of the men in the military everything "became automatic" because their training is second nature to them. The fear that they felt was set aside and their instinct to do their duty took over.
Excerpt of the Statement of Lt. Comdr. S.G. FUQUA, U.S.N. of the attack on the U.S.S. ARIZONA, 7 December 1941.
"The personnel of the antiaircraft and machine gun batteries on the Arizona lived up to the best traditions of the Navy. I could hear guns firing on the ship long after the boat deck was a mass of flames. I can not single out any one individual who stood out in acts of heroism above the others, as all of the personnel under my supervision conducted themselves with the greatest heroism and bravery."
- Lt. Comdr. S.G. Fuqua, U.S.N.