December 7, 1941 – Reports – bulletins – NBC-Blue Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
December 7, 1941 – As news of the attack on the American Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii reached the mainland, an air of complete confusion swept over the country. News outlets, hardly used to dealing with an emergency on this scale were scrambling to get any shred of reliable report in order to keep an extremely worried audience informed.
But as the day progressed, news of other attacks surfaced. And a range of reports, some factual and some rumor, started to flood the airwaves. NBC Radio decided to stay on the air 24 hours in order to deal with the rapidly unfolding story, happening so many time zones away. This was before it was okay to delay broadcast an important piece of news for a more convenient time zone. Europe was between 5 and 8 hours ahead of North America, some 18 hours ahead in the Pacific. So news, as it was happening, was most often happening in the middle of the night. So most people missed reports of battles raging in other parts of the world.
But on this day the news was bad. Reports of air attacks on Guam and Manila, ships attacked and sunk off Singapore – and news from Ankara Turkey regarding the occupation of Greece and the war in the Middle East. News reports streamed in, telling of declarations of War being given throughout South America. How one reporter mentioned almost half the world was now at war on this December day. How some members of Capitol Hill expressed dismay that, only days earlier, friendly conversations were had with Japanese diplomats. Now came reports of fires coming from embassies; documents being destroyed and legations packing and heading home, under a cloud of confusion.
And the breathless anticipation of President Roosevelt, scheduled to meet a joint session of Congress to ask that a state of war to exist between Japan and the U.S. – that was slated to happen the next day, December 8th.
All that, while a shocked and stunned nation sat by radios and clung to every word of every report. That was just about all that happened on this December 7, 1941 as reported by the NBC Blue network.