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50 Pearl Harbor Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about Pearl Harbor? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to Pearl Harbor (History). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
Related Questions & Answers:   Hawaii (States F-L)  
1 How many US sailors and soldiers were killed in the attack?
Answer: Around 2000

Around 2000 people died in the attack, most of them from the battleship USS Arizona.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
2 How many battleships were moored at Pearl Harbor?
Answer: 8

There were nine battleships moored at Pearl Harbor the USS Arizona, USS Pennsylvania, USS Nevada, USS Oklahoma, USS Tennessee, USS Maryland, USS Utah, USS West Virginia, and USS California.

The USS Pennsylvania was in dry dock, the other eight were in Battleship Row.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
3 The 1941 attack by Japanese forces on the USA occurred in Pearl Harbor situated on Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. On which of the Hawaiian Islands is this military base situated?
Answer: Oahu

Pearl Harbor is an American naval base situated on the island of Oahu about ten miles west of Honolulu. It serves as the base of operations of the United States Pacific Fleet and its bombing propelled the entrance of the USA into WWII. Originally, it was a shallow bay but was later enlarged to accommodate large vessels.
    Your options: [ Maui ] [ Oahu ] [ Kauai ] [ Hawaii ]
  From Quiz: Don't Wake a Sleeping Giant
4 War between the the United States and the Empire of Japan seemed inevitable. Where did the United States expect the Japanese to strike first?
Answer: Philippines Islands

US Naval intelligence expected an attack in the Philippines first if hostilities broke out between the two countries. No one believed Pearl Harbor was within reach of an attack despite the fact that it was proved it was vulnerable by a carrier strike during war games.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
5 What was the name of the commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet?
Answer: Admiral Yamamoto

Yamamoto was against plans to go to war with the United States. But once the decision to go was settled amongst the Japanese leaders, he gave all of his efforts in conducting a successful operation.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
6 How many battleships were at Pearl Harbor Battleship Row excluding USS Pennsylvania, which was in dry dock?
Answer: 7

The eight battleships present at Battleship row were: USS Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Tennessee, California, Nevada and West Virginia. The last ship, The USS Colorado was at the US mainland for repairs.
    Your options: [ 3 ] [ 6 ] [ 9 ] [ 7 ]
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
7 Where did the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor originate?
Answer: Took off from aircraft carriers

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor by planes that took off from aircraft carriers. They used six aircraft carriers and 300+ planes.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
8 Who were the respective leaders of Japan and the United States at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack?
Answer: Emperor Hirohito and President Roosevelt

Hirohito was the emperor of Japan from 1926-1989 and approved the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor in order to limit American forces in an effort to conquer China and Southeast Asia. Franklin Roosevelt responded to the attacks with his "Day of Infamy" speech followed by a declaration of war against Japan and subsequent entry into WWII.
  From Quiz: Don't Wake a Sleeping Giant
9 What was the majority mood of the American public prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor?
Answer: isolationist

Prior to Pearl Harbor the majority of the American people were isolationist and wanted no part in another war. Many sympathized with the Allies and wanted to help, but the majority wanted no part in another European war.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
10 How many carriers did the Japanese use in the attack?
Answer: six

SIX-Akagi,Kaga,Hiryu,Soryu,Zuikaku, and Shokaku.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
11 What were the names of the aircraft carriers that the Japanese used in the attack on Pearl Harbor?
Answer: Akagi, Kaga, Shokaku, Hiryu, Soryu, Zuikaku

From these 6 aircraft carriers over 300 planes were launched. The planes did damage to battleship row but did no damage to American aircraft carriers. The American aircraft carriers were away on training missions or delivering fighter planes to Midway.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
12 What did the Japanese call the operation that was to attack Pearl Harbor?
Answer: Operation Z

The Japanese Combined Fleet (Kido Butai) that was assembled to attack Pearl Harbor was called Operation Z. It centered around the carriers Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, Shokaku, Soryu, and the Zuikaku.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
13 Who was the commander of this attack force?
Answer: Admiral Nagumo

Nagumo-Not all Japanese militarists agreed with the choice. Some thought that he should have called for a third strike, some even suggested he should have invaded the islands.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
14 At about what time of what day did bombing commence in Oahu?
Answer: 7:48 Sunday December 7,1941

At 7:48 the lead bomber Mitsuo Fuchida yelled 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' which meant they had achieved total surprise over the Americans. Then they commenced bombing.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
15 Who was in command of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl harbor on the morning of December 7th, 1941?
Answer: Admiral Kimmel

Admiral Husband Kimmel was in command of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on the morning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Regretfully, he was also made the scapegoat along with General Short for this disaster.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
16 When Admiral Yamamoto decided to go ahead with plans for this attack who was the main person to work out the details for the plan?
Answer: Commander Genda

The man that theorized the mass carrier strike force.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
17 On the airfields that the Japanese attacked, which one was the airfield sheltering seaplanes?
Answer: Kanohe Naval Air Station

Kanohe NAS was badly hit by Japanese planes in the attack. Many of the Seaplanes and PBYs at Kanohe Naval Air station were destroyed in the attack.
    Your options: [ Wheeler Army Airfield ] [ Ford Island Naval Air Station ] [ Ewa Marine Corps Air Station ] [ Kanohe Naval Air Station ]
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
18 What USS battleship was hit by bombs, with one entering the magazine causing even more damage and causing the ship to sink with almost total loss?
Answer: USS Arizona

The USS Arizona was sunk and considered a total loss. The USS Utah and Oklahoma were also sunk but with fewer deaths. Today there is a memorial over the Arizona.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
19 The Pearl Harbor incident was only the second time in history that America was attacked on its home soil by another country. Which nineteenth century war is regarded as the first?
Answer: War of 1812

Although Hawaii was not a state at the time, the incident was still considered by Americans as an attack on their country. It was a decisive defeat for the United States and became synonymous with the concept of a "surprise attack". The War of 1812 was fought in the USA against Britain to resolve outstanding issues from America's quest for independence.
    Your options: [ Mexican - American War ] [ War of 1812 ] [ Spanish - American War ] [ Battle of Guayama ]
  From Quiz: Don't Wake a Sleeping Giant
20 Which US destroyer sighted a Japanese submarine on the morning of December 7th, 1941?
Answer: USS Ward

The USS Ward (DD-139) sighted a midget submarine on the morning of December 7th. The USS Ward is given credit with firing the first shots at the Japanese by America in WWII.
    Your options: [ USS Ward ] [ USS Burton ] [ USS Cassidy ] [ USS Morgan ]
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
21 Who was the U.S. Army commander of Hawaii area at the time of the attack?
Answer: General Short

General Walter C. Short.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
22 What was the only airfield that managed to get planes in the air without any of them being shot down?
Answer: Haleiwa Fighter Strip

Haleiwa Fighter Strip became famous for launching P-40s into the attack. It was also the only airfield on Oahu not to be attacked. Now it is abandoned and only the small space for the runway and a few building foundations remain.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
23 How many U.S. ships were sunk?
Answer: 6

Six ships were sunk: the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS Oglala, USS California, USS West Virginia, and the USS Utah!
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
24 Japanese losses during the attack on Pearl Harbor were relatively light, including 29 aircraft, 5 midget submarines, few lives lost and the capture of servicemen. How many were captured?
Answer: 1

Kazuo Sakamaki was the one and only officer captured by American forces becoming the first prisoner of war during WWII. He was a midget submarine crewman that fell unconscious underwater while investigating a failed detonation of his vessel. Subsequently, he was found by a Hawaiian soldier and taken into custody where he remained for the rest of the war.
  From Quiz: Don't Wake a Sleeping Giant
25 Why were the aircraft on the airfields parked side by side on December 7th, 1941?
Answer: to prevent sabotage

The aircraft at Bellows, Ford, and Hickam Airfields were parked side by side in order to prevent sabotage. No one believed an attack was possible, but sabotage was possible. Instead, the neatly parked aircraft made excellent targets for the Japanese Zeros.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
26 Who was the U.S. Navy Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet at the time of the attack?
Answer: Admiral Kimmel

Admiral Kimmel and General Short were blamed for what happened,but were exonerated a few years later.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
27 How many battleships were sunk in the attack?
Answer: 4

The four battleships sunk on the day were the USS Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia and California. Every ship at Pearl Harbor was rebuilt except for three of them. The USS Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma were decommissioned after the attack.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
28 How many Japanese planes were shot down?
Answer: 29

The Americans were only able to shoot down 29 planes. The Americans were taken by surprise and couldn't shoot down more.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
29 In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the quote, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve" was credited to which Japanese admiral?
Answer: Isoroku Yamamoto

Although the quote is attributed to Yamamoto, there is no hard evidence that he actually said it. Some published books containing reliable sources could not verify this quote, whereas others claim that in fact the quotation was found in his diary. However, regardless of the exact wording of the quote, Yamamoto believed that the attack was a huge error of judgement.
    Your options: [ Hiroyuki Agawa ] [ Isoroku Yamamoto ] [ Ogata Taketora ] [ Daisuke Takahashi ]
  From Quiz: Don't Wake a Sleeping Giant
30 A US radar station at Opana Point detected the oncoming first wave of Japanese planes. Why was this warning ignored?
Answer: It was assumed to be an incoming flight of US B-17s.

The radar technicians had never seen such a large signal and passed the information to the officer on duty. The officer on duty assumed it was an incoming and scheduled flight of B-17s arriving from the mainland.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
31 This battleship had 1,177 deaths more than any other ship that day.
Answer: U.S.S. Arizona

Most of them are still entombed in the ship which is now a National Historical Landmark. Although the repair ship Vestal was moored next to her the draft of the Vestal was not deep enough to stop the Arizona from receiving torpedo hits. But it was not torpedo hits that caused her doom, instead dive bombers did most of the damage scoring a hit next to her number 2 turret which penetrated the deck and exploded in her magazine. Bits and pieces of the ship and its crew were scattered throughout Ford Island and the harbor itself. The captain lay dying on the deck still giving orders to save his crew. Captain Van Valkenburgh along with Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The graduating class ring that belonged to Admiral Kidd was found. The United States Naval Academy graduate's class ring had fused with a part of the ship's bridge. Probably as a result of the heat generated by the explosion of the forward magazine.
    Your options: [ U.S.S. Utah ] [ U.S.S. Maryland ] [ U.S.S. Oklahoma ] [ U.S.S. Arizona ]
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
32 How many United States servicemen lost their lives in Pearl Harbor?
Answer: 2300

Over half of all deaths were on the USS Arizona. Also more deaths were caused at Hickam Airfield. In addition, 68 civilians were killed.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
33 Where did the majority of the deaths occur during the attack on Pearl Harbor?
Answer: aboard the USS Arizona

The majority of the deaths occurred aboard the USS Arizona. A Japanese dive bomber scored a hit on the battleship igniting a magazine. Over 1,000 crew members perished.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
34 This battleship was the only battleship to get underway and to try and escape the carnage.
Answer: U.S.S. Nevada

Nevada with her brave crew tried to exit the harbor into open sea. Upon seeing what she was trying to do the Japanese swarmed all over the ship,trying to sink her and thus blocking the entrance into Pearl Harbor. Although there was death and destruction throughout the harbor,the Nevada was a great inspiration to those still fighting the Japanese. Ultimately she did not make it out of the harbor,the commander decided to beach the ship at a place called Hospital Point. He did not want to risk being sunk in the vicinity of the harbor entrance.
    Your options: [ U.S.S. Pennsylvania ] [ U.S.S. Oklahoma ] [ U.S.S. California ] [ U.S.S. Nevada ]
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
35 The U.S. raid on Tokyo was called the ______ raid.
Answer: Doolittle

The Doolittle raid was a small bombing raid by the US on Tokyo and other cities on Honshu island. It was the first time that army bombers (B-25 Mitchell) took off from a Navy carrier (USS Hornet). It was a little revenge for Pearl Harbor.
    Your options: [ Revenge ] [ American ] [ D-day ] [ Doolittle ]
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
36 How many lives were lost on the USS Arizona?
Answer: 1100

Over 1100 men died there. After the war, when survivors died their ashes were taken there if that person requested it.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor
37 Six months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans would further engage Japan in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Which pivotal battle resulted in Japan's first decisive naval defeat of WWII?
Answer: Battle of Midway

As in the Pearl Harbor operation, Japan during the Battle Of Midway sought to end the presence of the United States in the Pacific and East Asia as a strategic power, thereby assuring their dominance of the region. The Japanese plan backfired as American code breakers were able to determine attack locations, resulting in an ambush which ended up in heavy naval losses that the Japanese never fully recovered from.
    Your options: [ Battle of Shimonoseki ] [ Battle of Midway ] [ Battle of the Coral Sea ] [ Battle of Nagumo ]
  From Quiz: Don't Wake a Sleeping Giant
38 The Japanese failed to destroy any of the US carriers based at Pearl Harbor. Were they aware that they were not in port?
Answer: Yes, their spy network told them they were not in port

The Japanese had an extensive spy network operating out of Hawaii. The Japanese spy network informed them that the Enterprise, Lexington and Saratoga were not in port days before the attack. Despite this, they decided to proceed with the attack.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy
39 There were forty-eight civilian deaths. How did most of them perish?
Answer: Friendly fire

Most were killed by friendly fire.In the rush to fire back at the attacking planes some of the fuses on the ammunition used by the anti-aircraft guns were not set. Thus most of them came back down and exploded in the area of downtown Honolulu. One of those places hit was a saimin stand that killed 12 people.
  From Quiz: Attack on Pearl Harbor
40 And finally, what side of Oahu was Pearl Harbor on?
Answer: Southern side

Pearl Harbor is on the Southern side of Oahu. The airfields are scattered all around Oahu. Bellows and Kanohe are on the Eastern side of Oahu, Haleiwa field is on the North-West of Oahu, Wheeler is in the center of Oahu and Hickam, Ewa, and Ford island are in the South.
  From Quiz: Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
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