As the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor rang in, author and researcher Craig Nelson offered a comprehensive look at the attack, during the first half of the show. He worked with a research team on a five-year process for his exhaustive new book, Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness. They culled oral histories from both American and Japanese perspectives, including then-child survivors, pilots, sailors, soldiers, admirals, and veterans. Nelson contends that America was born as a super-power on December 7, 1941, when hundreds of Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers savagely attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii destroying the US naval fleet and killing 2,403 men. The act forced America into WWII and changed the world's destiny.
Before the attack, the Japanese were in the midst of trying to takeover all of Southeast Asia, and their "Operation Hawaii" was, according to Nelson, a plan by Admiral Yamamoto, who thought that if they destroyed Hawaii, the US would give up and not interfere with their conquest of Asia. While the attack was a surprise to FDR and the US, there had been rising concerns about Japan beginning one month earlier, Nelson said, adding that there was a mysterious ad that ran in the New Yorker magazine that seemed to presciently refer to the event two weeks before it happened.
He also detailed the horrific situation US sailors found themselves in during the attack, when they had to choose between staying aboard their sinking ships, or diving into waters aflame with burning ship fuel. One interesting account he presented was of a Japanese pilot who dive bombed Pearl Harbor. He subsequently found out that Japan had attacked the US without a declaration of war, and got Japanese aviators from the Pearl Harbor attack to sign a letter of apology. He then came to America and sought to share the letter with the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, and eventually became good friends with a Marine survivor.
Open Lines were featured in the latter half of the show. Virginia, aged 85, recalled how as a 10-year-old, she survived the Pearl Harbor attacks. Her father was a retired gunnery officer and in charge of the instrument shop on Ford Island, and had he been at work that day, he would have been killed. "My mother gave me my gifts that morning because she was afraid we wouldn't be alive that Christmas," Virginia revealed. Mark from St. Louis remarked that Pearl Harbor was a huge intelligence failure for the US. From Waterloo, Ontario, Michael, talked about his study of demonic transient possession, and how "normal" humans suddenly commit murder and have no recollection afterward.