Pearl Harbour – its legacy and questions about American global power

Eight decades on, the impact of the Japanese shock attack continues to reverberate as the US confronts a different Asian challenge – from China.

A photo from Dec 7, 1941, showing the USS Arizona battleship burning and sinking in the attack on Pearl Harbour by about 200 Japanese planes. PHOTO: AFP
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Just over 80 years ago, on Dec 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy carried out one of the most audacious and consequential military operations of World War II.

At around 8am, on a sleepy Sunday morning, about 200 Japanese planes descended in waves on the headquarters of the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. The bombs and bullets unleashed by the Japanese assault damaged or destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and scores of planes. More than 2,400 American lives were lost. The entire attack lasted less than two hours.

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