National Archives at Boston

Featured Documents of the Month from NARA at Boston

Pearl Harbor Telegram

Radiogram to military installations. Textual Records from the Department of the Navy. U.S. Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Squantum, Massachusetts. (1930 - 09/01/1943); Record Group 181: Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments, 1784 – 2000; National Archives at Boston.
National Archives Identifier 596244

"A date which will live in infamy. . ."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt address to Congress, December 8, 1941.

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, was attacked by Japan. In less than 2 hours, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was devastated, and more than 3,500 Americans were either killed or wounded. The incident triggered a mobilization for war. On December 8, the United States declared war against Japan; on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States.

This small, short document symbolizes and foreshadows the events and world climate that would define the last half of the twentieth century.