The wreckage of the USS Arizona ablaze after the attack.

The history of our first three months at war must be painted in somber colors. The United States Navy suffered the worst losses in its history. Guam and Wake were captured by Japan. In quick succession the enemy overran most of the Philippines, seized Hong Kong, swept over Singapore, principal bastion and base of the United Nations in the Far East, and reduced various strategic points in the Netherlands East Indies one by one. As these lines were written, the surging tide of conquest was nearing Rangoon, entry port for the Burma Road, and was imperiling India. Southward it was menacing Australia. In the West, the Anglo-American "life line" to Britain and Iceland had been safeguarded and strengthened; but Germany had commenced long-range submarine raiding operations in our coastal waters. All over the world, ship sinkings were increasing to totals which approximated those of the war's worst months, and freight

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

  • HANSON W. BALDWIN, military and naval correspondent of the New York Times; author of "The Caissons Roll," "United We Stand!" and other works
  • More By Hanson W. Baldwin