7 Dec 1941
  • USS Arizona received two bomb hits during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. The second bomb hit led to the detonation of her forward ammunition magazine, which led to her sinking. 1,177 were killed, including Battleship Division 1 commanding officer Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd and her commanding officer Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • At about midnight at the very beginning of the day, Tatsuta Maru was ordered to reverse course. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Fusata Iida passed away. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Naoji Iwasa passed away. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel ordered his forces to pull back by about 10 miles toward the Gazala Line, abandoning the Tobruk objective. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • American steam-powered schooner Cynthia Olson, under charter of the US Army, was shelled and sunk by Japanese submarine I-26 with no survivors; two US Army personnel were on board. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese troops invaded Khota Baru, Malaya, two hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. A series of landings in nearby Thailand initially met stiff resistance, but the Thai government negotiated for an armistice within hours. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese aircraft bombarded Singapore, Guam, and Wake, while two Japanese destroyers shelled Midway Atoll, causing 14 casualties and damaging much equipment. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Hitler published his notorious Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) decree which allows the Gestapo to dispose of their prisoners without trace. ww2dbase [TH]
  • After suffering a heart attack, Feldmarschall von Brauchitsch tendered his resignation. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH]
  • The office of the US Navy Chief of Naval Operations ordered unrestricted air and submarine warfare against Japan. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Isaac Kidd became the first US Navy flag officer to be killed in action during WW2. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Mitsuo Fuchida led the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining over the target area throughout both waves of attacks to observe the degree of damage done to the American fleet. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • The commanding officer of the US Marine Corps 7th Defense Battalion at American Samoa ordered his troops to man their positions as he was informed of the attacks on American positions across the Pacific Ocean. He also called the Samoan Marine Reserve Battalion to active duty. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet forces captured Tikhvin, Russia east of Leningrad. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet 30th Army attacked German 3rd Panzer Army at Klin while Soviet 50th Army attacked German 2nd Panzer Division near Moscow, Russia. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Hesperus sank German submarine U-208 115 miles west of Gibraltar, killing the entire crew of 45. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Canadian corvette HMCS Windflower, escorting Allied convoy SC-58 off Newfoundland, collided with Dutch freighter Zypenberg in poor visibility due to fog and sank; 23 were killed. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • It was announced that from midnight the British Empire would be at war with Finland, Hungary and Romania. ww2dbase [AC]
Australian New Guinea
  • One day prior to the opening of the Pacific War (owing to the International Date Line), the first three Australian Hudson medium bombers arrived at Rabaul, Bismarck Islands; they were under the command of Flight Lieutenant John Murphy. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese armored cruiser Izumo sank British river gunboat HMS Peterel in Shanghai, China. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • River gunboat USS Wake was captured by the Japanese in Shanghai, China. ww2dbase [CPC]
Hawaii
  • Two strike waves were launched against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Akagi's torpedo planes were instrumental in sinking the battleships USS Oklahoma and West Virginia. Vice Admiral Nagumo ordered a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • USS Helena suffered a torpedo hit during the Pearl Harbor raid at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii. ww2dbase [Main Article | Event | CPC]
  • Operation Z: 360 Japanese carrier aircraft (104 bombers, 135 dive bombers, 40 torpedo bombers, and 81 fighters) attacked Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, sinking or damaging 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 1 anti-aircraft training ship, 1 minelayer; destroying 188 aircraft; and killing 2,459 (57 of which were civilian) and wounding 1,282 (35 of which were civilian). The Japanese lost only 29 aircraft and 5 midget submarines; 55 were killed and 10 were wounded. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | TH]
Japan Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a British Hurricane fighter, his 29th kill, at 0930 hours near Sidi Omar, Libya. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • Shokaku participated in the two strike waves against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Chuichi Nagumo ordered a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Taiwan United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill had lunch with Duchess of Marlborough Alexandra Mary Cadogan and her son Marquess of Blandford John Spencer-Churchill. He had dinner with US Ambassador John Gilbert Winant and W. Averell Harriman; after dinner, they learned of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in the US Territory of Hawaii. He would later write that he "slept the sleep of the saved and thankful", relieved that the United States was finally in the war, and Britain was no longer alone. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British RAF airmen returning from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk areas of northern Russia began to arrive in Britain by ships. ww2dbase [CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt met with Chinese ambassador Hu Shih at the White House in Washington DC, United States, had lunch with Harry Hopkins, and at 1347 hours he was interrupted by a telephone call from Frank Knox, informing him of the Pearl Harbor attack. At 2030 hours, Roosevelt gave a briefing to a small group of Congressmen. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Dec 1941
USS Maryland burning in foreground and USS Oklahoma capsizing in the backDraft number 1 of RooseveltDraft number 1 of RooseveltDraft number 1 of Roosevelt
See all photos dated 7 Dec 1941

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

7 Dec 1941 Interactive Map




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Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943