Pearl Harbor attack
Warship, the USS Shaw, explodes during the Japanese surprise attack on the US Pacific fleet at their base in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, on 7 December, 1941Getty

As the US marked the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Barack Obama said the attack absorbed "America into a conflict that would change the course of human dignity and freedom". On 7 December, 1941, Japan launched an aerial assault on the US naval base in Hawaii, killing scores of Americans and destroying ships.

The day has been designated as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day by law in the US and is observed every year with the country paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the attack.

"Nearly seven and a half decades ago, as dawn broke over the island of Oahu, bombs broke through the sky as Japanese forces launched an unprovoked attack on our Nation," Obama said. "More than 2,400 precious lives and much of our Pacific fleet were lost, yet the ensuing unification of our people proved mightier than the attack that aimed to weaken us."

The attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service took place on a Sunday. It came as a big surprise as the US navy did not receive any warning, nor was there a declaration of war.

A total of 2,203 Americans, including 1,177 sailors on warship USS Arizona alone, were killed and over a thousand of them were injured. The attack was part of Japan's strategy to thwart any American military response to its planned conquest of Southeast Asian territories. Two US warships sank and many were damaged in the attack.

The attack prompted the US to declare war against Japan the next day. To mark the day, IBTimes UK presents a few archive photographs of Japan's bombing.

Pearl Harbor attack
USS California on fire in Pearl HarbourGetty
Pearl Harbor attack
The blackened sky from the smoke tells the plight of Pacific fleet in the attackGetty
Pearl Harbor attack
The entire Pacific Fleet after the attackGetty
Pearl Harbor attack
Japanese newspaper details attack of Pearl Harbour and Japan's declaration of war on 8 December 1941.Getty
Pearl Harbor attack
Japanese pilots receiving final orders for bombingGetty
Pearl Harbor attack
USS Arizona burnsGetty
Pearl Harbor attack
The USS Arizona burns as USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia sinkGetty
Pearl Harbor attack
Sailors stand amid wrecked watching as the USS Shaw explodes in the center background. A damaged USS Nevada is also visible in the middle backgroundGetty