5 Things You Didn't Probably Know About Pearl Harbor

In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise military attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. To mark the anniversary of that event, here are five things you probably didn't know about Pearl Harbor....


The Japanese Bombers Were Originally Mistaken for U.S. Aircraft Radar operators at Pearl Harbor were expecting a group of U.S. aircraft to fly into the area on December 7, so they weren't particularly alarmed to see two groups flying toward the base that morning. Because they assumed that the groups on radar were U.S. planes, the operators didn't issue any warnings. That turned out to be a huge mistake as those groups on radar were the Japanese planes that attacked Pearl Harbor.

The USS Arizona Still Leaks Fuel The day before the attacks, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel, nearly 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel helped ignite the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship, but shockingly, some fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage. The Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day.


Most of The Ships That Were Sunk Were Resurrected Nine battleships were sunk in the bombing attack. Fortunately, since the ships were docked and therefore sank in shallow water, the navy was able to raise seven of them. In fact, the navy was able not only to resurrect the ships, but also to repair them so they could be used during World War II. Only the USS Arizona and the USS Utah were irrecoverable.

Veterans of The Attack Can be Laid to Rest at Pearl Harbor Survivors of Pearl Harbor have the option to join their lost comrades and make Pearl Harbor their final resting place. Crew members who served on board the USS Arizona during the attack may choose to have their ashes deposited by divers beneath one of the sunken Arizona’s gun turrets. Roughly 30 Arizona survivors have chosen this option. Other military survivors can choose to have their ashes scattered wherever their ship was located during the attacks.

Hawaii Was Put Into Martial Law After Pearl Harbor For Three Years After the Pearl Harbor attack, Hawaii  spent  three years under Martial Law. The military forced a curfew onto Hawaiians at night, forcing everyone to be indoors with their electricity completely off, and anyone who was outside after hours would face arrest or possibly even shot.  Residents were also forced to build bomb shelters and barbed wire fences and have an identification card. Alcohol of any kind was banned–as was taking any photographs–and food was rationed. The military also confiscated the tourist-laden hotels on the beaches of Waikiki.Hawaii was a territory at the time, so the military’s treatment of Hawaiians after Pearl Harbor helped set forth the initiative for Hawaii to become a state.