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Attack on Pearl Harbor
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It started quickly. At 7.55am on Sunday 7 December 1941, the first wave of two Japanese aircraft flotillas began their deadly and low flying attack on the US Pacific Fleet, moored at Pearl Harbor on the Pacific island of Oahu. In the next two hours, five battleships had been holed and sunk, another 16 damaged, and 188 aircraft destroyed.  Three US aircraft carriers, usually stationed at Pearl Harbor but had been assigned elsewhere on the day, they survived purely by chance. The attacks killed less than 100 Japanese but over 2,400 Americans, with another 1,178 injured.
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Although Pearl Harbor started the Pacific War, a war that Japan would eventually lose badly, the attack itself was no failure. The Japanese needed to cripple the Pacific Fleet and allow them 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.
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