On this day, December 8

december 8
On this day, December 8 | Photo: Cavite Navy Yard burns from a Japanese air raid, 10 Dec 1941 @USNHistory


On this day, December 8, in 1941, at 7:55 am in Hawaii (1:55 am in the Philippines), Japan mounted a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, decimating the U.S. fleet in the Pacific. News reached the Philippines at 2:20 am Philippine local time. Immediately after, at 8 am, Japanese aerial bombings commenced on major Philippine cities.

With Japanese encroachment on mainland East Asia & Taiwan threatening to nip the soon-to-be independence of the Philippines in the bud, the first law enacted by the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935 under President Manuel Quezon was in preparation for a formidable national defense.

In Aug 1943, Quezon formally invited Douglas MacArthur as his adviser, creating for him the position of Field Marshal of the Philippine Army, even while the U.S. maintained its full control of Philippine defense, foreign affairs, & currency under the transitory government.

From 29 June to 10 July 1938, Pres. Quezon had an Official Visit to Japan on a mission of goodwill. He chose to be transported on a Japanese ship, instead of an American one. He also visited Katipunan leader Artemio Ricarte in Yokohama, Japan.

In January 1941, diplomatic channels between the United States and Japan have become very tensed, and Japan showed no signs of de-escalation. As such, on 26 July 1941, U.S. Pres. Franklin Roosevelt ordered the establishment of the USAFFE.

On this day, December 8, in 1941, the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was bombed without warning by 353 Japanese air bombers, effectively damaging 19 American ships (8 of which were battleships), and 188 aircraft. 2,403 were killed, while 1,178 were wounded.

On 10 Dec 1941, Cavite Navy Yard was bombed while a 3-pincer advance began from Taiwan, landing in Aparri and Vigan. On 22 December the Japanese 14th Army landed in Lingayen.