America Besieged

The Arsenal of Democracy

This impactful gallery is dominated by a 50-foot-wide projection screen—a suitably vast surface on which to display the shock and chaos of Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. The surprise Japanese attack on the American fleet brought war to America, and swiftly united people with a sense of national resolve and purpose. The United States declared war on Japan the following day, and when Germany and Italy declared war on the United States days later, Americans found themselves fully committed to a global conflict. However, with the Japanese seizing American possessions including the Philippines, Wake Island, and Guam and sweeping through Asia, the southwest Pacific, and even the Aleutian Islands, and with German U-boats sinking American shipping on US coastlines, Americans were badly losing in the first months of war. Still, the sense of national morale remained unbroken. The unity of purpose on the American Home Front would become the backbone of a national effort in which every man, woman, and child would contribute, and would create an epic shift in world order that was begun on December 7, 1941, as Americans dedicated themselves to victory over our enemies.