7 Dec 1941
  • At about midnight at the very beginning of the day, Tatsuta Maru was ordered to reverse course. ww2dbase [Tatsuta Maru | CPC]
  • Fusata Iida passed away. ww2dbase [Fusata Iida | CPC]
  • Naoji Iwasa passed away. ww2dbase [Naoji Iwasa | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel ordered his forces to pull back by about 10 miles toward the Gazala Line, abandoning the Tobruk objective. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | 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 [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | 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 [Walther von Brauchitsch | TH]
  • The office of the US Navy Chief of Naval Operations ordered unrestricted air and submarine warfare against Japan. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • 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 [Arizona | CPC]
  • Isaac Kidd became the first US Navy flag officer to be killed in action during WW2. ww2dbase [Isaac Kidd | 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 [Mitsuo Fuchida | 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 [Siege of Leningrad | CPC]
  • Soviet 30th Army attacked German 3rd Panzer Army at Klin while Soviet 50th Army attacked German 2nd Panzer Division near Moscow, Russia. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | 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 [New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 1, Bismarck Islands | CPC]
  • River gunboat USS Wake was captured by the Japanese in Shanghai, China. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese armored cruiser Izumo sank British river gunboat HMS Peterel in Shanghai, China. ww2dbase [Izumo | CPC]
  • 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 [Pearl Harbor Navy Base and Ford Island Naval Air Station | Akagi | 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 [Attack on Pearl Harbor | Pearl Harbor Navy Base and Ford Island Naval Air Station | TH | Detailed Timetable]
  • USS Helena suffered a torpedo hit during the Pearl Harbor raid at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii. ww2dbase [Attack on Pearl Harbor | Helena (St. Louis-class) | CPC | Detailed Timetable]
  • Light carrier Hosho departed the Inland Sea, Japan with a large fleet. ww2dbase [Hosho | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a British Hurricane fighter, his 29th kill, at 0930 hours near Sidi Omar, Libya. ww2dbase [Hans-Joachim Marseille | 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 [Shokaku | CPC]
  • Naka departed Mako, Pescadores islands to escort the Philippine Islands invasion force. ww2dbase [Mako Guard District | Naka | CPC]
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 [Winston Churchill | 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 [White House | Franklin Roosevelt | 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

7 Dec 1941 Interactive Map

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

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Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945