Remembering Pearl Harbor: 'We shall win'

Seventy years ago today, Japan launched a surprise attack on America's Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, drawing the United States into the second World War. More than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack, including four Marylanders, all of whom were serving aboard the U.S.S. Arizona: Fireman 1st Class Howard T. Anderson; Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Clyde J. Rawson; Yeoman 2nd Class Jack M. Restivo; and Shipfitter 3rd Class Victor C. Tambolleo. The war that followed would take a terrible toll — including 770 from Maryland killed, 928 wounded and 18 missing in action. Americans greeted the news of the attack and of Japan's declaration of war with shock, horror and anger — but also a tremendous resolve. This is what The Sun had to say on its editorial page the next morning, Dec. 8, 1941:

Japan's declaration, following by a few hours her sudden attack on Hawaii, puts the United States into the second and most terrible war of the nations.

Like most of the attacks planned by the Axis partners, this one, too, was sprung after deceitful discussions and maneuvers. It was begun by Japan on the day after the United States Government, through President Roosevelt, made a friendly and respectful appeal to the Japanese Emperor for a peaceful settlement of the issues in dispute. News of it came at the very moment when Secretary Hull was receiving Japans' two envoys, pretending still that they were representing a friendly power.

Thus the United States enters the conflict with its record clear. It has stood from the beginning for a series of principles without the observance of which a peaceful and progressive comity of the nations is impossible. These principles the Japanese, like the Nazis and the Fascists before them, have called "obsolete." The world they envisage and the world they are slaughtering millions to achieve is a world divided among the strong and ruthless nations, with the weaker and the honorable as their slaves.

That world is not for the people of the United States. We cannot and will not submit to the destruction of international honor, the levying of tribute on the weak by the strong, the parceling out of the world and its resources among the self-appointed dictators of human affairs. Since force is to be the determining factor, we resort to force.

The United States is today the strongest nation in the world. It has the greatest fleet. It has an air force already powerful beyond our hopes, and it has an industrial potential able to multiply many times and in short order its present striking power. It has a people proud of their heritage and conscious of their might. It knows the meaning of freedom and the cost of maintaining freedom.

Therefore, we enter the conflict, which has thus been brought to us, with no sense of fear and no forebodings. WE know we shall have to pay a high price for our freedom, but we also know that we shall be able to account for Japan in the Pacific and at the same time continue to give the fullest aid to Britain and the other nations now beating back Hitler and his allies in Europe.

We have the right on our side. We have our unmeasured force. We shall win.

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