At 7:55 A.M. a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack sank or severely damaged eight battleships, three destroyers, and several other ships plus 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to stop the attack. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.
The day after the attack President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan 82-0. The House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter, Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana, was a devout pacifist who had also cast dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War 1.