President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was right — Dec. 7, 1941, has indeed proven to be a date that has lived in infamy. Seventy-five years later, we recall the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that ushered America into World War II. To mark the Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary, some TV networks will be airing programs looking back at the fateful event. Here are some of the notable shows about the Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary, as well as other programming related to the ensuing war in the Pacific, that will be airing today.
Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Programming (All Times Eastern)
Wake Island: The Alamo of the Pacific — Dec. 7 at 10am on History Channel. It’s a story of survival on a desert island — and it helped change the course of World War II. Within hours of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, about 1,600 US marines and civilians found themselves under surprise attack from Japan on a tiny Pacific Island. This two-hour special takes six survivors of the siege of Wake Island back to the scene of their heroic stand. They retrace those horrific days in which they suffered eventual capture, beatings, and imprisonment, yet survived to tell their stories.
Tora, Tora, Tora: The Real Story of Pearl Harbor — Dec. 7 at 12pm on History Channel. Dec. 7, 1941, was a historical turning point — the world was forever changed after the fateful Japanese attack against the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It resulted from a combination of interrelated and complicated factors — and at any point, the dangerous operation could have been called off before its commander radioed back the code words “Tora, Tora, Tora” (Tiger, Tiger, Tiger), which meant complete surprise had been achieved. Here is the real story of the “Day of Infamy.”
The Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor — Dec. 7 at 12pm and 9pm; Dec. 8 at midnight on Smithsonian Channel. Smithsonian Channel’s new series The Lost Tapes relies entirely on radio reports, television footage, rarely seen photos and other media — no narration or interviews — to look back at major historical events. The series kicks off with a look back at the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which led America into World War II, as we approach the Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary.
Pearl Harbor: 75 Years Later — Dec. 7 at 2pm on History Channel. This documentary special takes a journey through the “date that will live in infamy” by exploring the biggest stories and lesser known details that still surprise us 75 years later. Accounts from experts, military minds, and even those who lived through it will show how this tragedy continues to shape our country today.
What Went Down: “Pearl Harbor” — Dec. 7 at 3pm on Military History Channel. Is the historical portrayal of the attack on Pearl Harbor as seen in movies accurate? Dr. Donald Goldstein, co-author of the best-seller At Dawn We Slept, leads a team of producers on a site survey of Pearl Harbor to revisit the attack and the lucky shot that sunk the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. Weaving together interviews with survivors who share their stories from that fateful day, along with computer animation, this special re-creates the Pearl Harbor attack.
Pearl Harbor: The Truth — Dec. 7 at 4pm on History Channel. This year marks the attack on Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary. The truth behind Pearl Harbor is explored through new revelations from previously undisclosed documents that expose the appalling intelligence and military blunders that allowed the early warning signs of the Japanese attack to be missed. The documentary uncovers a cover-up that concealed a shocking catalogue of errors, and possibly made scapegoats of high-ranking military officers, as well as their family’s ongoing quest to clear their name.
WWII in the Pacific Marathon — Dec. 7 from 5pm-8pm on American Heroes Channel. Three episodes of WWII in the Pacific, kicking off with the episode “Waking the Beast,” in which Japan gambles all and attacks the U.S. In the first months of the war it looks as though Japan is unbeatable. Then the U.S. fights back, with the war engulfing Asia and launching an entirely new form of naval warfare.
Pearl Harbor (2001) — Dec. 7 at 8pm and 11pm on AMC. Back-to-back airings of the fictionalized, big-screen account of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Michael Bay directed the film, which stars Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Colm Feore, Mako and Alec Baldwin.
Codes and Conspiracies: “Pearl Harbor” — Dec. 7 at 8pm and 11pm on American Heroes Channel. A look at some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor, including questions about whether the attack was truly a surprise, and who really fired the first shots of the Pacific War.
Pacific Secrets: Pearl Harbor — Dec. 7 at 9pm; Dec. 8 at midnight and 6pm; Dec. 9 at 5am on American Heroes Channel. Mysterious stories about what happened at Pearl Harbor have emerged over the years. This program investigates a fleet of midget subs that launched a covert assault from the sea long before the first planes arrived at Pearl.
Pearl Harbor: The Heroes Who Fought Back — Dec. 7 at 10pm; Dec. 8 at 1am and 7pm; Dec. 9 at 2am on American Heroes Channel. For the Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary, this is the U.S. premiere of an all-new special. From rescuing their comrades to returning fire on the Japanese, these are the true stories of those that sacrificed and fought back for our country – from sailors to airmen to everyday civilians – all extraordinary heroes who rose above and beyond the call of duty on that fateful day in 1941. The special features interviews with numerous experts, historians and authors, who share the dramatic, lesser-known stories of some of Pearl Harbor’s greatest heroes, including John Charles “JC” England, a 20-year-old radio man who made four rescue trips below deck of the capsizing USS Oklahoma to save his fellow sailors; Phillip Rasmussen, an Army Air Corps lieutenant who raced in his pajamas to find a working airplane and successfully led a counter-aerial attack on the Japanese, earning the nickname, “the pajama pilot”; Doris Miller, an African-American messman in the U.S. Navy who refused to abandon the USS West Virginia, instead manning an anti-aircraft machine gun to return fire to the enemy; Julio De Castro, a leading caulker and ship builder who led a team to rescue a total of 32 men who were trapped below deck of the sinking USS Oklahoma; and Donald Kirby Ross, the first man to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II for his remarkable role in saving the USS Nevada, a pivotal ship that played a large role in the success of D-Day a few years later.
Myths of Pearl Harbor — Part 1 airs Dec. 8 at 8pm and 11pm; Part 2 airs Dec. 8 at 9pm and Dec. 9 at midnight on American Heroes Channel. A two-part documentary that seeks to clear up mysteries surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor Declassified — Dec. 8 at 10pm; Dec. 9 at 1am on American Heroes Channel. This is a one-hour forensic dissection of an event within the event that galvanized the world and led to America’s declaration of war.
Rock the Troops — Dec. 13 at 9pm on Spike. Taped on location at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, and hosted by Dwayne Johnson, this special is an entertainment experience created to honor, inspire and captivate the men and women of America’s armed services. During the special, Johnson pays tribute to America’s fallen heroes at Pearl Harbor, and also salutes two soldiers who survived the Japanese attack — Alfred Rodrigues, SKC U.S. Navy (Retired), age 96; and Herb Weatherwax, SSG U.S. Army (Retired), age 99.