Reporter’s vivid Pearl Harbor account is finally published

Here’s a newly published report of the Pearl Harbor attack and its aftermath, written in 1941 by a Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter but never printed by the newspaper because her editor “thought it would be too frightening for the women to read.”

It was published for the first time yesterday, 71 years later, in The Washington Post. The writer, Elizabeth P. McIntosh, who is now 97 years old, tells us more about it in a video here.

This is her introduction and the first few paragraphs of the story:

On Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, I was working as a reporter for the Hono­lulu Star-Bulletin. After a week of war, I wrote a story directed at Hawaii’s women; I thought it would be useful for them to know what I had seen. It might help prepare them for what lay ahead. But my editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting for readers and decided not to run my article. It appears here for the first time.

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For seven ghastly, confused days, we have been at war. To the women of Hawaii, it has meant a total disruption of home life, a sudden acclimation to blackout nights, terrifying rumors, fear of the unknown as planes drone overhead and lorries shriek through the streets.

The seven days may stretch to seven years, and the women of Hawaii will have to accept a new routine of living. It is time, now, after the initial confusion and terror have subsided, to sum up the events of the past week, to make plans for the future.

It would be well, perhaps, to review the events of the past seven days and not minimize the horror, to better prepare for what may come again.

To read the rest of her story in The Washington Post, click here.

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