The actual broadcast from KGU Honolulu by phone of the Attack on Pearl Harbor 12-7-1941
The surprise was complete. The attacking planes came in two waves; the first hit its target at 7:53 AM local time, the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan.The Japanese launched a total of 353 aircraft in the attack leaving behind chaos, 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. Of the eight battleships damaged during the attack, six returned to service. Five Japanese midget submarines joined in the attack. None were effective. One was found beached after the attack making its two-man crew the first Japanese prisoners of war.
Farther to the west, the Japanese struck at Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand in a coordinated attempt to use surprise in order inflict as much damage as quickly as possible to strategic targets.
American intelligence, with the benefit of intercepted Japanese messages, had known for some time that Japan was planning an assault, but military leaders had no idea precisely when and where. Hawaii, they assumed, was so far away from Japan that the Japanese navy could never mount an effective attack. Japanís carrier-launched bombers found Pearl Harbor totally unprepared.
The first radio broadcast from station KGU in Honolulu the day of the attack captured the events as they unfolded over several hours. From the roof of their Honolulu studio's building, the radio reporter described significant damage in a transoceanic telephone call to NBC radio headquarters in New York City. What was unknown at the time was that Japanese invaders used the station's signal to lead them to Pearl Harbor.
Word of the attack reached President Roosevelt as he lunched in his oval study on Sunday afternoon. Later, Winston Churchill called to tell him that the Japanese had also attacked British colonies in southeast Asia and that Britain would declare war the next day. Roosevelt responded that he would go before Congress the following day to ask for a declaration of war against Japan. On Monday, December 8, 1941 FDR signed the declaration of war granted by Congress. One day later both Germany and Italy, as partners of Japan in the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the US.