2012 Pearl Harbor Day

December 10, 2012 by  

2012 Pearl Harbor Day, When Japan launched an attack on Dec. 7, 1941, at the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, it did so with very little warning, causing tremendous shock to many Americans.

“Witnesses were seeing these planes, and people were saying, ‘Those are the greatest drills they’ve ever done,’” said Dr. Thomas Agostini, military professor at South Dakota State University. “People were genuinely shocked by it.”

Agostini was the featured speaker Saturday at the third annual “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” held at the Yankton Elks Lodge. The event was sponsored by the Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses Honor Society of U.S. Veterans.

During his presentation, Agostini discussed Japan’s reasons for the attack.

“What could motivate the Japanese to become so aggressive?” he asked.

While Japan was a democratic country during the 1920s, the country underwent a transformation both politically and economically in the 1930s, Agostini said.

“Japanese schoolchildren had their books rewritten for them,” he said. “They were taught they were the superior race of people. They were taught not to question their teachers, and they were taught to memorize their text rather than learn it.

“So you have a generation that was brought up prior to World War II to obey without question, to do as they were told, and that their nation was the greatest nation on earth. And all of those things helped justify Japanese aggression politically.”

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