A bunch of us kids were playing in a Pittsburgh street Sunday afternoon Dec. 7, 1941 when we heard the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor.
Into my house we rushed and turned on the big console radio, listening in fascination to live descriptions of the bombardment of the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii. Major destruction occurred, including sinking four of eight battleships.
Words cannot describe our fury with the treachery of this surprise attack. The U.S. declared war on Japan the next day. A couple of days later, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the U.S., resulting in our declaring war on both these countries. Thus, our entry to WWII.
Pittsburgh, a major supplier of steel, could be considered a prime target. We had blackout practices and, like all of U.S., engaged in scrap drives for steel, aluminum and rubber. Many products were strictly rationed — including gasoline, sugar, tires, meat and bread — in order to ensure ample supplies for military use. A draft was instituted; my dad entered service as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers, serving time in England and North Africa.
Never miss a local story.
It is interesting to note that our great WWII enemies, Japan and Germany, are now among our staunchest allies.
R. Paul Baumgartner