A surprise and devastating attack
” It was like standing in a farmyard and shooting chickens and hens. “
This colorful comparison of what happened in the attack on Pearl Harbor is used by the guest of host Michel Jean, Pierre Dufault, during the RDI special show highlighting the 60e anniversary of this historic event.
The journalist and history buff tells in detail in this first extract the course and context of this attack.
It was at seven and 55 minutes in the morning of December 7, 1941 that the planes of the Japanese army appeared in the sky of the roadstead which shelters the American naval base of Pearl Harbor in the archipelago of the islands of Hawaii.
In two successive waves and in less than two hours, the Japanese airmen inflicted significant damage on the navy and the air force of the American army.
The death toll is 2,403 Americans killed and 1,178 injured.
Half of the victims end up on the USS Arizona battleship which was sunk.
The US Pacific Fleet sees a large part of its planes and 20 of its ships destroyed.
In retrospect, however, Pierre Dufault assesses that the American losses at Pearl Harbor were not so heavy considering the scale of the operation.
Most of the damaged ships have been refloated.
As early as 1943, the latter in turn attacked the Japanese navy and army.
Moreover, according to Pierre Dufault, the Japanese were negligent during the attack.
For example, they did not destroy large oil tanks or the infrastructure, such as dry docks, in which ships could be repaired.
On the other hand, the shock and anger caused by the attack among the American public was extraordinary.
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor without warning, the American people concluded.
If it should be noted that the American intelligence services suspected that something was preparing, the latter did not know either the place or the time.
In this second excerpt, Pierre Dufault explains the considerable impact that the offensive against Pearl Harbor had on the course of World War II.
The United States is allying with the Great Britain of Winston Churchill, which is fighting Nazi Germany alone and which is at the end of its rope.
The Americans are also allying with the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin, which changed sides after being attacked by its supposed ally, Nazi Germany.
The result of this reversal in alliances will ultimately be the total defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945.
An injustice in Canada
In Canada, the assault on Pearl Harbor will have very serious consequences for the Japanese community, which resides particularly in British Columbia.
This is explained by a report by journalist Claudine Viallon presented on the show. SRC hello December 9, 1991 and hosted by Madeleine Roy.
Canada, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, recalls Claudine Viallon, feared an attempted invasion of the country by Japan.
The Canadian government suspected that Canadians of Japanese descent, especially fishermen, could provide intelligence to the enemy.
From February to October 1942, Ottawa confiscated property and imprisoned in internment camps 22,000 Canadian citizens of Japanese origin, including Ted Wakabayashi.
The latter did try to enlist in the Canadian army. But, he was refused because he was seen as a potentially enemy in the pay of Japan even though he was born in Canada.
Ted Wakabayashi prefers to forget this part of the story which reminds him of very painful memories.
On September 22, 1988, the Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, formally apologized for the abuses committed against the Canadian-Japanese community during World War II.
After 1945, the United States and Japan became close allies.
On May 27, 2016, US President Barack Obama traveled to Hiroshima, the Japanese city on which on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb that killed 140,000 people.
Barack Obama was the first sitting US president to travel to the martyred city to deliver a message combining the strength of friendship and symbolic reconciliation with the Japanese people.
Then on December 27, 2016, as told in a report by journalist Hugo Lavallée presented to the Telejournal, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe together make a historic visit to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.
Geneviève Asselin hosted the News.
This is the first time in 75 years that a Prime Minister of Japan has visited the scene of the attack on December 7, 1941.
In Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor, the two leaders did not apologize for the violence and horrors of the past.
But they paid tribute to the victims and spoke of closing the wounds.
In a context of increased tensions in Asia in recent years, journalist Hugo Lavallée also notes that Barack Obama, who would soon be leaving the White House, may have used his speech to issue a warning to his successor Donald Trump.