On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a sneak attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was assumed by the Japanese war department that such a huge blow to the American military would demoralize America, causing us to recoil in disgrace, leave the Pacific to the Japanese and stay out of the War.
The Japanese did not understand the American psyche. America's citizens had been struggling and debating whether or not to get involved directly in the events of the war being waged by the Axis powers. Japan, instead of merely frightening America, gave us a reason to feel that this was our fight too.
The covers below illustrate the thinking of the times in the days and years following Pearl Harbor:
After twelve issues of battling Nazi spy rings, Cap takes the fight to the Pacific.
Too young to enlist, the Young Allies join in anyway.
I love how the Japanese labeled their Counterfeit bond plant. And in English, no less.
These covers are very much of their time. Today, We understand the Japanese better and they understand us better. And though the art contains racial stereotypes that today seem crude and ignorant, the goal was to show that we would not take defeat lying down.
If there is a lesson to be learned from 12/07/41, and I believe there is, it may be: It is better to be vigilant, than to be vengeful.
R.I.P. Pearl Harbor victims.