CINCINNATI (TDB) -- On Dec. 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. There are not many Americans around today with first-hand memories of the trauma, which is being overshadowed by 9/11's horror as the generations change. But Cincinnati newspaper columnist Nick Clooney (actor George Clooney's dad) contends the attack 66 years ago was far more significant because it changed the world forever. He says 9/11 "certainly changed some things, but, for the most part, life has gone on much as before in the last six years. Not so after December 7th, 1941."
Nick Clooney writes for the Cincinnati Post, an E.W. Scripps Co., publication that shuts forever at the end of this month. He muses about Pearl Harbor Day every year on the anniversary of the sneak attack. This may be last time he can remind Americans about its significance, and how nobody's life was ever the same ever again. Dec. 7 changed the whole planet. Clooney says it was clearly the culturally dominant event of the past century, an event whose impact dwarfs the tragedy in New York City.
"It was a sea change. The United States would rise to the top level of world powers in every aspect of global life. The U.S. population was united as never before or since. We saw the dawn of massive air power, the emergence of what Dwight Eisenhower would call the 'military industrial complex,' the birth of the computer, a first whiff of space travel, the jet, the cult of youth and, above all, the atomic age. All in less than four years. It would be difficult to find any similar burst of energy in history."
He also notes Japan and the U.S. both were forced to abandon delusions of superiority. The Americans learned Asians were not an inferior people; the Japanese turned away from the cult of militarism and conquest.