Remembering Pearl Harbor Through Oral History

Northrop Aircraft 1947US responses to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor remade the Southern California landscape — from the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese American families living on Terminal Island to the rapid expansion of defense efforts by local aerospace companies. The photo above features a Northrop jet bomber prototype aircraft (available on the Huntington Digital Library). The company was already in operation in Southern California prior to Pearl Harbor but sped up production after the attack.

ICW’s offering for this Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is an invitation to the archives of local memory to better understand parts of the US domestic response. Interviews of aerospace workers from ICW’s Aerospace History Project that include their memories of Pearl Harbor Day are available on the Huntington Digital Library.

One riveter-turned-engineer, Jerry Huben, joined Northrop only three weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An excerpt from his oral history:


Frank Bullock was a long-time control systems engineer at Lockheed and recounted this memory in his oral history:

Frank_Bullock_Oral_History_on_Pearl_HarborPearl Harbor Day calls for a solemn remembrance of those who lost their lives as well as a reckoning of the domestic responses and their present-day ramifications.


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