How Much Do You Know About Pearl Harbor?


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: youtube

About This Quiz

The infamous Pearl Harbor incident still remains as devastating, as intriguing and as controversial as ever. Do you think you can identify important facts, figures and speculations about that incident? Then try taking this quiz to see how well-versed you are about history.

While speculations and theories abound surrounding this incident, it’s no surprise that the whole world was also shocked about it back then. Even if it is an event that happened more than seven decades ago, an event as huge as this one will not -- and should not -- be forgotten. In fact, it is one of the most talked-about events during the 20th century, because it has affected world relations tremendously. 

Sure, this incident may also appear like "merely" one of the important topics in historical studies (something that gets revisited in the academic circles only), but what we could all learn from Pearl Harbor is that an incident as monumental as this one could still happen today. In fact, several decades later, an attack of the same devastation and magnitude happened again at the beginning of the 21st century -- 9/11 -- and the effect is just the same, but now amplified worldwide due to media.

 Interesting and intriguing, isn't it? So, who can still remember the remnants of the big world wars out there? Test your military and historical knowledge with this quiz about Pearl Harbor -- and learn something new today.

The infamous Pearl Harbor incident is essentially what kind of event?

When we say Pearl Harbor, that usually pertains to the military attack that happened decades ago. The world remembers such horrors up to this day.


The attack on Pearl Harbor was essentially an attack on which country?

The USA was the intended recipient of this Pearl Harbor attack. Uncle Sam got triggered!


In which U.S. state is Pearl Harbor located?

Pearl Harbor is located in one of the picturesque islands of the state of Hawaii. But a grotesque scenario ensued that day ...


What country attacked Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese Imperial Army was responsible for wreaking that much havoc in U.S. soil. They continued to wreak havoc in other countries after that, as well.


The Pearl Harbor attack eventually became part of which larger war?

Actually, World War II was already happening in other parts of the world prior to this attack. But it was mostly happening in Europe.


What kind of military installation was targeted at Pearl Harbor?

While there were Army and Navy people there, Pearl Harbor was essentially known as a naval base. It was a large one housing many soldiers, so it was really ripe for an attack.


What date was the Pearl Harbor attack?

The Pearl Harbor attack happened on December 7, 1941. That’s one date etched in the minds of veterans up to this day.


Who was the U.S. president during the time of the Pearl Harbor attack?

Franklin Roosevelt was unfortunately beset by the Pearl Harbor attack. As the reigning U.S. president of the time, he had to do something ...


Was the Pearl Harbor attack deliberate or by chance?

The Japanese Imperial Army planned for months to orchestrate a series of attacks targeting important areas connected to the war. So aside from Pearl Harbor, they also planned — and attacked — other places under U.S. and Allied control, specifically in the Southeast Asian region.


Which day of the week did the attack happen?

It was a genius plan to attack the enemy on a Sunday. That means the enemy knows the lax habits of their targets during a given week.


In which specific island of Hawaii was Pearl Harbor located?

Oahu is actually located somewhere in the western part of the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu. Pearl Harbor is considered as a lagoon harbor in that island.


Yes or no: Was the US already at war with Japan before the Pearl Harbor attack?

Even if some parts of the world were already at war, America wasn’t — yet. This event changed all that.


What kind of ships were deliberately bombed by the Japanese?

There were huge battleships docked on the naval base harbor. Naturally, these will be the sitting duck targets that are the first to go.


Did the attack happen in the morning, noon or night?

It was just a little past 8 in the morning when the Japanese fleet arrived and started bombing the harbor like crazy. Everyone was literally taken by surprise.


Who was the Japanese emperor during the time of this attack?

Emperor Hirohito was the current emperor when Japan struck Pearl Harbor.


What was the name of the U.S. battleship first bombed, which trapped around a thousand soldiers inside as it sank?

It was reported that a nearly 2,000-pound bomb dropped on the USS Arizona, rendering it incapable for battle.


Aside from the USS Arizona, which other battleships were targeted in the attack?

USS California, USS Utah, USS Maryland, USS Tennessee, USS Pennsylvania, USS West Virginia and USS Nevada were the other battleships damaged during the attacks. The Japanese sure knew what they were targeting!


Rounded off, how many US battle airplanes were destroyed in the attack?

The Japanese targeted more than 300 airplanes peacefully parked on land so that they wouldn’t be flown for action. Now that was a smart military move, indeed.


Out of all the important warfare crafts destroyed, which ones were spared?

It was a good thing that the U.S. aircraft carriers weren’t docked on Pearl Harbor that fateful Sunday morning. They avoided being harmed, which made them useful during the war proper later on.


The battleship named USS Oklahoma was hit badly by what kind of Japanese ammunition?

Unfortunately, the USS Oklahoma capsized when it was hit by torpedoes.


What were the Japanese hoping for when they attacked Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese Imperial Army thought that it could destroy or paralyze the U.S. armed forces within the Pacific Fleet. The other Allied countries’ respective forces in the Pacific were also eyed as targets that need to be annihilated.


In his famous speech after the attack, President Roosevelt earmarked the attack day as a “Date which will live in ___.”

President Roosevelt gave his now-famous “Infamy Speech” in front of the U.S. Congress a day after the attack. It was “A date which will live in infamy” in the American psyche.


As a consequence of the attack, what did the U.S. do?

America's government decided to declare war on Japan due to this bombing incident. A majority of the people agreed.


At the time of the attack, Japan was part of which faction of the war?

The Axis Powers was the collective term used for those nations instigating war during World War II. Yes, Japan signed up for that!


Which Axis countries “supported” Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack?

Nazi Germany was the leading nation in the malevolent side of World War I, and also World War II. A fascist Italy also joined this dark side during WWII.


The attack came in how many waves?

The Japanese planned a first wave of attack which caught the U.S. Navy by surprise. But a second wave was even more surprising to the already surprised forces.


Sadly, how many thousands of people were killed on that day of infamy?

Accounts record that around 2,300 to 2,400 people were estimated to have been killed or died trapped in sunken vessels during the attack. The number was a combination of military personnel as well as civilians staying on the islands.


Surprisingly, U.S. storage tanks were not bombed on the base. What were these tanks holding?

Oil tanks inside storage units were spared by the Japanese. The focused their waves on all types of warcraft, be it the air or water type.


Were the U.S. and Japan in good terms prior to the attack?

Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. already disagreed on many moves that the Japanese were making years before the attack. These moves led them to impose a trade embargo that penalized commerce with Japan.


What was Imperial Japan’s ultimate goal during the time of the attack?

Imperial Japan was intent on building an empire all over the so-called Far East, which generally means Asia.


Tojo Hideki was the ruling politician who ultimately gave the go-signal for this attack. What was his position in the Japanese government?

Prime Minister Tojo Hideki’s government was actually communicating with the U.S. government to lift the trade embargo. However, conflicting reports and sentiments ultimately led him to choose to go-signal the attack and head for war with this superpower.


When the the U.S. radar first detected the incoming fleet of attackers, what was their reaction?

The men stationed at the radars in Oahu were apparently told to dismiss the radar reading of flying fleets. They thought those were the mainland U.S. fleets scheduled to arrive there during that time.


Because of the gross negligence of the top leaders in Pearl Harbor, what happened to these superiors?

Both the Navy commander and the Army commander in-charge of Pearl Harbor were relieved from their posts due to the attack.


Was the U.S. Congress unanimous in their agreement for America to go to war with Japan?

When President Roosevelt asked the Congress to approve his declaration of war, the representative of Montana voiced her dissent against the plan. Her name was Jeanette Rankin, who also dissented for the US to join World War I.


Can you guess how many Japanese warplanes were used for the Pearl Harbor attack?

An estimated of 350 or so planes were used by the Japanese Imperial Army to attack Pearl Harbor. Some of them flew low enough to gun down whatever they could shoot on the grounds of the naval base.


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