Historical Accuracy of Michael Bay's Pearl Barbor

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Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941 is a day that, for many Americans, will live in infamy. This is the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, a U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii, and this event was the main cause for the United States to become involved in World War II. In 2001 the film Pearl Harbor was released. This film depicts the events leading up to, during, and immediately following the attack. Behind the love story in this film, the historical events that this movie portrays are, for the most part, historically accurate. This essay will first give an overview of the film, then examine the film’s accuracy of the events that took place that day.

The movie features two friends, Rafe McCauley (played by Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (played by Josh Hartnett) who grew up together and decided to join the Army together. Eagle Squadron asked Rafe to volunteer and was sent to fight against the Germans in England. The Eagle Squadrons were composed of 244 American men in squadrons 71, 121, and 133 of the Royal Air Force (Caine pg.xi). Meanwhile, Danny, along with Rafe’s girlfriend, Evelyn (who was an Army Nurse), is sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where there was very little threat at the time.

Back in England in the RAF, Rafe’s plane was shot down and on the other side of world in Hawaii, Danny and Evelyn heard news that he was Killed In Action. Later im the film, we learn that Rafe was able to escape the cockpit of the plane after it the shooting and he was picked up by a French fishing boat. Upon his return to the United States, Rafe rejoined is squadron in Pearl Harbor. The day after Rafe’s return is the day the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor.

On that fateful Sunday morning, many planes flying overheard wake Rafe and Danny, but they assume that it is just the navy performing exercises. The Japanese attack catches the fleet of U.S. ships completely unaware. The reason the fleet was not prepared for the attack was that the Japanese planes were...
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