December 7th 1941

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At 7:48am on December 7th 1941, the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii was attacked by 353 Japanese aircraft, launched from six aircraft carriers, precipitating the entrance of the United States into the Second World War.

Major news stories had been covered on the radio before, of course, and radio recordings had been made for more than a decade. Nevertheless, this is by far the most contemporary material available for a breaking news story. Edited down from nearly twenty hours of original recordings, this sound collage presents these events as they occurred from the perspective of a radio listener that day.

Generally I layer music over speech clips, but in this case I have included only music as it was broadcast on that day. The sound quality is therefore unavoidably a lot worse than you may be used to, and the audio is presented without a tracklist.

This episode was partially inspired by Awful Grace Podcast’s Again The Never Came, a sound collage from 9/11, an astonishing bit of audio which I would recommend, but with a warning that it includes phone calls from the Twin Towers, which frankly anyone will find distressing.

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