Monday, January 24, 2022
Diary of Events of 3 Weeks Following Bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 - presumably kept by a Young Woman from Perry, Maine
Small diary from 1921 that was used for the on the spot observations of someone reacting to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and for about three weeks after. The diary was apparently then set aside.
There are a couple mentions of Eastport, Maine, and the handwriting looks very similar to that of Rachael Virginia (Golding) Pottle (1915-2013), "Virginia", long time resident of Perry, Maine, and daughter of the iconic Rob Golding (1875-1969), who was a mentor to Maine humorist Marshall Dodge of Bert & I fame.
Transcription - bold font and links mine - you can feel the shock, uncertainty, hope and resolve
December 1941, Sunday 7
At dawn today the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - the U.S. Naval & Air Base there.
Pres. Roosevelt sent a message to Emperor Hirohito over a week ago - it requested that Japan withdraw from China & cease hostilities - it also made generous concessions of trade between U.S. and Japan. The answer to this message was not delivered until twenty minutes after the Japan attack was launched.
Monday 8 and Tuesday 9
Japanese representatives have been discussing the "Far Eastern situation" - in Washington for the last few weeks. Even while discussion was going on Japan's ships & planes were on their way to bomb Honolulu.
3000 casualties including 1500 dead were reported in Hawaii.
The liner Pres Harrison is thought to be either sunk or captured near the Yangtse river.
Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, England & China have declared war on Japan or all the Axis.
The Pres. of the U.S. spoke to Congress at noon today (Monday). The House & Legislature declared war on Japan 43 min. after Pres. R. spoke.
The whole nation was shocked & enraged at the underhandedness of the attack by Japan.
Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11
Monday night there were air raid alarms in San Francisco & the whole West Coast was ordered blacked out. Some thought it was only a test but the Army said that enemy planes came within 1/2 hour of the Golden Gate bridge. Some stores left their neon & show window lights on & had them promptly broken by people in the street.
Tuesday afternoon New York City had 2 alarms. Both were thought to be tests. Boston stopped all street traffic & all cars entering the city at the same time.Sheriffs & other law officers were notified to be alert for aircraft all along the Atlantic coast as far as Eastport [Maine]
Wednesday morning San Francisco had an early alarm & fires were found burning in the shape of arrows pointing to Seattle. Fifth columnists are sought.
Friday 12 and Saturday 13
Japanese sunk 2 British ships near Hongkong - the Prince of Wales (on which Pres. R. & Winston Churchill held their conference in the Atlantic last summer) & the Repulse.
Thurs. morning Italy & Germany both declared war on the U.S.
Germany says that because of the weather she has given up the idea of taking Moscow This winter. The Russians have been winning consistently around Moscow for the last few weeks.
It is rumored that Hitler is planning to strike on the Atlantic coast next.
The government has ordered work to be resumed on the airport at Eastport & that one runway must be completed in 3 weeks. Work will be continuous - 7 days a week.
Japanese have landed on Luzon island about 250
Sunday 14 & Monday 15
miles from Manilla, but American troops are "mopping up" the remainder now.
Our Navy has sunk the Jap. 29,000 ton battleship Paruna & put another out of control - the Congo [Kongo].
Friday morning San Diego & Los Angeles had a brief alert.
The Manilla reporter said that people stood in the street & cheered an American aviator as he had a dog fight with a Jap. plane almost directly over the city.
Some Phillipino natives brought in 3 Jap. av. - trussed up like wild animals.
I heard the eye witness account of the sinking of the 2 British ships by the C.B.S. reporter Cecil Brown who was on the Repulse as was torpedoed. He said there were about 87 planes attacking & he mentioned no protecting British planes in the vicinity although the action took place only 150 miles from the great British airbase at Singapore.
Sec. of the Navy
Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17
Frank Knox arrived safely in Honolulu yesterday where he went to see for himself what was the extent of the damage done at Pearl Harbor last Sunday.
Saturday - he returned to San Francisco but would make no statement until he had talked with the president.
The Navy has been unable to communicate with Guam either by cable or radio today & it is thought that Japs may have taken it.
Midway & Wake Is. are still holding out however.
Russia has declared herself on the side of the U.S. against Japan.
The U.S. is in a much better atmosphere on the home front now than in the last world war because of the change in attitude of some of our southern neighbors. Mexico was the cause of much trouble in the last war but is now in complete accord with us against Japan & G. & I. Most other South and Central American countries have either declared war on one
Thursday 19 and Friday 19
or more of the Axis partners or are giving the U.S. use of their air & harbor facilities.
The Polish government declared war on Japan today.
Russia says that she will observe her neutrality pact until the Allies have the upper hand in the Pacific - because Russia does not want to divide her forces but wishes keep her Troops concentrated on the European front.
The Germans are still retreating from Moscow with great loss of life.
In Serbia it is rumored that the Germans have picked the wrong "Quisling" to head the Loyalist forces & that he (Neditch) [Milan Nedic] is fighting with the Russians instead of against them. Gestapo agents sent to investigate are mysteriously killed.
Alan Hale [presumably Arthur Hale] in the newscast "Confidentially Yours" said tonight that Navy experts seemed to feel that the bombers which attacked Pearl Harbor