Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941

An American warship burns fiercely at its moorings on Battleship Row, its crew in the water, providing Roosevelt with the pretext he needed to overcome isolationist sentiment and his own reservations and break his election promise to keep the US out of the war. The foolish Nazi declaration of war against the United States in conformity with the spirit of the Anticommintern Axis brought together the European and Pacific wars as a World War. The attack on Pearl Harbour fulfilled Australian fears of Japanese expansionism in the Pacific, which had been one of the motives for Federation. As such it was a major cause, along with the stunning associated Japanese amphibious advances throughout south east Asia in December 1941, for the Great Fear of 1942, a wave of invasion apprehension which gave rise to the internment of hundreds of Australian Italians, who were seen as potential fifth columnists.

Photo from Sommerville & Westwood `The Atlas of 20th Century Warfare'