At 7:55am local time on December 7, 1941, forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. This act led to Franklin Roosevelt giving his famous “Day of Infamy” speech before the Congress the next day, resulting in a declaration of war that brought the United States fully into World War Two. To help honor this event and the men who sacrificed their lives, not only at Pearl Harbor on this day, but throughout World War II, National Geographic Education has developed an interactive timeline of the attack at Remembering Pearl Harbor.
On the Pearl Harbor Attack Map, students will get basic information about the attack, then they will begin following the timeline of the attack from the sighting of the first periscope form a Japanese submarine at 3:42 am to the departure of the Japanese forces at 1:00pm. As they progress through the sequence of events, they can click on links that provide more detailed information about the specific event, including interviews from veterans of the attack from both sides. There is an option on the left of the map to zoom in and out on specific areas around Hawaii to the level of individual ships. You will definitely want to have the sound on for both the narration and interviews, but there is an option to turn off the ominous music in the background.
As students click on the “full story” links, they are greeted with a short paragraph explaining the event as well as photographs from the National Archives that help show the conditions or provide a record of the attack at that moment. Interviews from veterans are both in print and audio, but the audio is transcribed. Each full story also contains a print option.
Not only will students gain a deeper insight and understanding of this event in history through the Pearl Harbor Map, they will also gain skills in many other areas as well. The concept of cause and effect and sequencing is prevalent throughout. There is an analog clock as well in the bottom right that will help with telling the time as it corresponds to the times (in a 24-hour, military style clock) at the bottom of the timeline. Having the text of interviews available with the audio will also be helpful to students who may have difficulty with listening and/or reading skills as they offer a very interesting read along.
Also of interest:
- Pearl Harbor Timeline – From the National Archives, drag and drop copies of primary source documents about the Pearl Harbor attack into a timeline to develop the sequence of events. The documents are all readable scans of the originals.
- Smithsonian’s History Explorer – Links and lessons from the Smithsonian Institution for teaching World War II (and other American conflicts) through an interactive Flash exhibit of museum artifacts.
- The Perilous Fight – An interactive, flash based timeline of World War II using maps, documents and color photographs from PBS.
- FDR’s Day of Infamy Speech – From archive.org, you can download or stream the full audio recording of Roosevelt’s December 8, 1941 speech.