World War II DBQThis is a featured page

Background Chart
Chart of Pearl Harbor

Multimedia Background of the Attack on Pearl Harbor
-view the Multimedia timeline

ADVANCED PLACEMENT TASK-- After class viewing and discussion of the multimedia timeline above, students are to critically read/view each document below in order to answer the DBQ question in APUSH DBQ essay format. Rubrics are attached to the bottom of the page. The DBQ ESSAY QUESTION is on Edmodo.

Create a REVERSE DBQ from reading the sources below and using your prior knowledge from class and homework.
A Reverse DBQ is creation of the the questions for documents provided, including the creation of a final essay question.
1. Read/view each document critically.
2. Brainstorm higher order questions for each.
3. After reading/viewing each, look at your questions. Assess the quality of the question. Keep 1 or 2 questions for each document.
4. Create a strong final essay question that ties the documents together.
REMEMBER, the DBQ questions are to act as a funnel to organize the information from class, homework and the documents into a concise, focused essay.
Examples of strong question starters:
LINK to question starters.
Remember that questions should always require the reader to THINK and to use the document plus prior knowledge.

Document 1--
Private McDonald

Document 2--
Oil burning on the water
World War II DBQ - Freedom Social Studies DepartmentOil burning on top of water near the Naval Air Station after the Japanese "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor of Dec. 7, 1941. (12/07/1941)

Document 3--

Destruction after the Attack
Ships after the attack The wrecked destroyers USS Downes (DD-375) and USS Cassin (DD-372) in Drydock One at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, soon after the end of the Japanese air attack. Cassin has capsized against Downes.
USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) is astern, occupying the rest of the drydock. The torpedo-damaged cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) is in the right distance, beyond the crane. Visible in the center distance is the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37), with USS Maryland (BB-46) alongside. Smoke is from the sunken and burning USS Arizona (BB-39), out of view behind Pennsylvania. USS California (BB-44) is partially visible at the extreme left.
This image has been attributed to Navy Photographer's Mate Harold Fawcett.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Document 4--
FDR's Pearl Harbor Speech
Audio with Picture of FDR delivering the speech to Congress

Document 5--
Pearl Harbor Song
If the audio is NOT working, go to this LINK and scroll down to the audio of "Remember Pearl Harbor."

Document 6--

I was fourteen when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, my parents, my twin brothers and I lived in New Lothrop, Michigan. I vividly recall listening to radio newscasts of the Japanese attack in the early Sunday afternoon. I had never heard of Pearl Harbor and probably could not have located Hawaii on a map. But I was an eager reader of aviation magazines written mainly about World War I and had some notion of what war was. Of course, we knew of the German victories in Europe and the brave defense of the British against air attack. I think we expected that if the U.S. went to war, the enemy would be Germany. To be attacked by Japan was totally unexpected.
I clearly remember saying to my parents, "No one would want a war, but now that it has started, let's give 'em hell!" My father, who had just turned military age when World War I ended, gave me a funny look. He was usually quite a
joker, but he was bitter as he replied, "Give 'em hell? Let's see what you say when they start bringing home the dead!" As the years passed, I came to understand how he felt.
Donald Sanborn, Schoolcraft

For many of us, our lives changed forever, creating such a division in our life that we still speak of "before the war" and "after the war." Along with a large contingent of Battle Creek bowlers, I was participating in the Central States tournament in Toledo, Ohio, that fateful Sunday afternoon. As the news broke, the message was relayed to us over the PA system: "The Japanese are bombing Pearl Harbor!" We listened in shocked disbelief and activity halted on the busy alleys. Our first reaction was anger--followed by a great surge of patriotism. Bowling scores were quickly forgotten. As we checked out of our hotel, someone softly started to sing God Bless America and soon everyone joined in.
We were a quiet group driving home as we listened to bits of information on our car radios. We dug out our draft registration cards from our billfolds to recheck our numbers and wonder when we would be called up. There was no question in our minds that we would serve--only when.
Duane T. Brigstock, Battle Creek

It was a cloudy December day in Michigan. We were at my husband's parents for dinner, expecting a pleasant day. The radio was on and the newscaster's voice was excited and apprehensive. We thought this awful monstrosity could not be happening. How far will they come? Everyone in the house feared the future. None of us slept well that night.
Virginia Weaver, Lansing

On the
of the bombing we were returning from the funeral of my grandfather. The broadcast came on the car ra
dio of the "Japs" bombing Pearl Harbor. We did not know at that time that a cousin, Eugene Whitcomb of Homer, had gone down with the Arizona.
Mrs. Glenn Dodes, Concord

In 1941 there were certain radio programs which everyone listened to. EachForest B. Meek, 1941 Sunday, at 5:30 P.M. our time was always dedicated to The Shadow. I loved this radio program. Our family was clustered around our big Montgomery Ward Airline console radio, deeply engrossed in another thrilling chapter in the mysterious world of The Shadow. A somber announcer suddenly broke into the program, saying "We interrupt this program to inform you that the Japanese have launched an air attack upon our military forces at Pearl Harbor." What eighth grader knew where Pearl Harbor was? I sure didn't, and this interruption was an invasion into my private world of good versus evil. I didn't realize that our nation was now involved in a global confrontation! My father, a veteran of World War I, was stunned. "We are at war with Japan!" he exclaimed. My two older brothers, wiser in the worldly affairs of nations, immediately perceived what might lay ahead. My mother was transfixed and couldn't speak. When the radio bulletin was completed the studio went back to The Shadow, but the program had lost its mystery for me. We stayed gathered around the radio. Our entire family was glued to its voice and we waited for the next update from Pearl Harbor.
Forest B. Meek, Clare
Photo shows Forest B. Meek, 1941

Listen to an actual radio announcement of the attack LINK

Document 7--
A look back at Life magazine of December 1941:
Life TextLife Pictures
World War II DBQ - Freedom Social Studies DepartmentLINK to the article

Document 8--

Jap Hunting LicenseJaps Keep Moving

Document 9--
Executive Order 9066

**Take the time to view this video-LINK

Document 10--
West Coast military zones"

Document 11--

Sue Embrey: Registering After the Notice
These men in jeeps, they went around posting the notices up, and in our area everyone was supposed to report to the Union Church. So my oldest brother went down and he signed in all of us. And my Mother felt that we should all go together because she didn't know what would happen if we were separated. So he got a family number for all of us, I think I still remember it... 2614.
(Sue Embrey Interview, Copyright 2001 Smithsonian Institution)

Rae T.: FBI Search
RT: I didn't realize the enormity until much later, but I soon found out what it meant for all of us because they came for my dad that night, early in the morning of December 8th. And...

AI: What happened?

RT: They picked him up. Well, I was sleeping in a bedroom on the main floor, which was fairly close to my folks' room; in other words, not quite adjacent. But I was awakened by this commotion. ... Oh, my, my mother. I told you she's very outspoken. And she is the one that I heard. I did not hear my father say anything, but my mother went on a rampage. I mean, she didn't care if they were FBI men or not, and she was proclaiming to them that she was "an American citizen," and she "had the rights of an American citizen, and how dare they come breaking into my house." [Laughs] And oh yes, I heard her. And I wasn't sure what was going on. I really didn't know that they were going to take my dad. I just thought that it was a little — it must be a very wild event for my mother, for sure, because she was really carrying on, but that didn't matter to them.
(Rae T. Interview, Copyright 1998 Densho Project)

Moving Out: Mary Tsukamoto: Getting Ready
We just figured they were sending us up in the mountains somewhere... you know, to be... And so I started to gather rice, small sacks of rice and... and collected the packages of dehydrated soup and jello and things that were light, so that they wouldn't be such a heavy baggage for us to carry because they said you could only take what you carry. And we knew we had to take blankets and sheets and bedding and things as well as some of our clothes. And we had no idea whether we were going to a hot place or a cold place, so our family was quite concerned about how to get ready.

(Mary Tsukamoto Interview, Copyright 2001 Smithsonian Institution)
Morgan Yamanaka: One Week to Leave
We had one week to get ready. And what we could carry would include: bedding eating utensils and clothing. Questions arose: Where are we going? we don't know, we're not gonna tell you. How long are we going? We don't know , we' won't tell you. There was a rumor that we were being sent to Manzana, and no, that didn't prove true, we were sent to Santa Nita racetrack.
(Morgan Yamanaka Interview, Copyright 2001 Smithsonian Institution)

Sue Embrey: We are American Citizens
I had a neighbor who said something to me toward the last few days before we left Los Angeles. He says, "You know, we're American Citizens, and we really could fight this thing." And, you know, I was just 18. It's hard for me to believe that other people who may have been older than I hadn't thought of it, there were lawyers in our community. I just had the feeling that this was something the whole community was going to go through because, even though there were alternatives, maybe this was the best way to... to tell the government that, you know, we're loyal, and we'll do whatever we need to do in order to help in the war effort. And... because there was so much suspicion cast on the Japanese population regardless of whether they were citizens or not, that maybe this was the only way out.
(Sue Embrey Interview, Copyright 2001 Smithsonian Institution)

First Stop: Assembly Centers Mary Tsukamoto: Treated Like Animals
And I never will forget, the train stopped and we got off and they put us on a big truck. It looked like one of those cattle cars. Anyway, we stood up because there were no chairs for us to sit on this pickup and crowded into this truck. They drove us to the Fresno Assembly Center. And then we got off there and they told us to get in and there was the barbed wire gate, and the MPs around there and uh... We had to go in through that gate and after we got in there we knew that the gate was shut. And so, we saw all these people behind the fence, looking out, hanging onto the wire, and looking out because they were anxious to know who was coming in. But I will never forget the shocking feeling that human beings were behind this fence like animals [crying]. And we were going to also lose our freedom and walk inside of that gate and find ourselves... cooped up there. And the police, the MPs with their guns and some of them had bayonets. I don't know what they were going to do with it, if they thought we were gong to run away I guess. But anyway, when the gates were shut, we knew that we had lost something that was very precious; that we were no longer free.
(Mary Tsukamoto Interview, Copyright 2001 Smithsonian Institution)

Permanent Camps: Morgan Yamanaka: Arriving at Camps
We were sent... to Topaz, from uh, Santa Anita; we were again not told exactly where we were going. All I remember was going through desert country that was Barstow — god-forsaken country, never been back there. Somehow wound up in this middle of nowhere... absolutely. And that's all I remember. This stark, naked... I had never been out of San Francisco, and to be dropped in the middle of Utah desert was — in retrospect, it was a traumatic experience. To think of it at that point, it was shocking at best. Sand, dust, nothing except these tar-paper buildings. Middle of nowhere.
(Morgan Yamanaka Interview, Copyright 2001 Smithsonian Institution)
Mutsu H.: A Human Being
Amache camp guarded by very young soldiers. One time soldier stop me and, "Hey you." "You want to talk to me?" He said, "Yeah. Are you a human being?" I said, "Yes. Don't you think so?" "Yeah. You look like a human being, but when I came from South Carolina, they said that the Jap is not a human being. They are like a gorilla so if you want to, kill them. That's what I learned when I came. And then I looked from top every day and you people look like a human being, and you people all wearing beautiful clothes."
(Mutsu H. Interview, Copyright 1997 Densho Project)

LINK-- Life in a Japanese Internment Camp (primary sources)

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