Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World At War, 1941
by Stanley Weintraub
Christmas 1941 found the whole world immersed in war and the United States still stunned by the shock of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stanley Weintraub’s Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World At War, December 1941, describes this single month, a sliver of time, as we prepared to fight a long, costly war that defined a century and continues to shape our world. It makes a nice vacation read and includes well known and not so well known stories about that time.
On December 13th Winston Churchill boarded the Duke of York, beginning a treacherous journey across the Atlantic, reaching Washington on the night of December 22. He sat down to a simple late night supper with President Roosevelt who made a toast to “our common cause.” In the days that followed many the great figures of that war, men who would become household names, met day and night to create the glimmer of a plan to defeat the Axis powers. At the very same time, in other parts of the world, the allies faced defeat, losing the Philippines, Malaysia and points across the Pacific to the Japanese. Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese on Christmas Day, the same day Admiral Chester A Nimitz arrived at Pearl Harbor to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.
The day after Christmas an armored car pulled up to the loading dock at the Library of Congress to deliver the precious documents of the founding of our country, carefully packed, to a train that would take them to Ft. Knox for safekeeping. On New Year’s Eve a ship carrying soldiers wounded at Pearl Harbor sailed into San Francisco. The next day The Joint Declaration of War Aims was signed by 26 nations at the White House. The world was at war.
In this short, 200 page book, Weintraub sets the stage for this defining era in history.