Pearl Harbour (from Above)

The above photograph taken from a Japanese aircraft of Pearl Harbor at the beginning of the attack had long history. A young American sailor found a creased and crumpled version of it (which I could only scanned below) on the wall of a photo-engraving shop at the Imperial Navy Base in Yokohama, Japan in 1945. He took the photo of the badly-damaged photograph, and brought it back to the U.S.

He published it in many newspapers and magazines as a war souvenir. After Life magazine popularized the image in its bicentennial issue in 1975, Time magazine delved into its archives and pulled out an unwrinkled, perfect print (above), which presumably arrived to its headquarters through a neutral embassy sometime in 1942. Although both Time and Life published it in April and July 1942 respectively, by then the U.S. was already in a full-scale war in Europe, and the photo was buried in the deluge of war news. Only with the coming of the crumpled version–taken from the wing of a Japanese aircraft arriving over Honolulu–was the interest rekindled.

In the photo, the explosion in the center is a torpedo strike on the USS West Virginia.

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