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Panel 1: "Remembering Pearl Harbor?: An Analysis of Media Portrayal of the Pearl Harbor Attack from 1941 to 1946"

Doherty, Vikki M.
Jameson, Chandler T.
Vsetecka, Jonathon
Martins, Gabriel
Harris, Chandler
Volzke, Owen
This paper analyzes the change over time in American media coverage of the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941 from the immediate aftermath through the 1946 findings of the Joint Congressional Committee — the final official investigation into the attack. It analyzes the way in which media initially portrayed Pearl Harbor as a patriotic call-to-arms in the face of a national tragedy, but in the five years following the attack, reflected the public frenzy to find someone to blame; the finger pointed first at military officials and later at the Roosevelt administration for failing to prevent or even deliberately inciting the Japanese attack. The paper contextualizes this change over time through events that occurred both in the Pacific Theater of WWII and on the American home front. To assert an historical relevance, this research paper frames the change in media perception of Pearl Harbor within the implication that the necessity to inculpate American officials and identify a scapegoat emerged from the prevailing tone of racialized nationalism present in the U.S. at the time. The sources used in the paper primarily consist of newspaper articles, clippings, and political cartoons, many of which originate from the Laurance F. Safford and Husband E. Kimmel Collections at the American Heritage Center, as well as secondary source material both to provide contextual events of WWII and to justify the overall assertion of a link between the changing depictions of Pearl Harbor and racial perceptions within the Unites States.
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