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WSU Newsline: Pearl Harbor, 9/11 attacks have similarities, differences
Thursday, September 1, 2011 4:05 PM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for John Dreifort after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-7742 or john.dreifort@wichita.edu.

Background:

For a generation of younger Americans, the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., are the equivalent of Pearl Harbor. But how legitimate is the comparison? Wichita State University history professor John Dreifort examines the similarities and differences of the two national tragedies.

Voice wrap:

Announcer: For a generation of younger Americans, the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., are the equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Wichita State University history professor John Dreifort says one similarity is that both attacks were unprovoked. But there are other similarities as well.

Dreifort: "Another similarity is the failure of intelligence in both instances. Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, there was plenty of intelligence to indicate the Japanese were up to something. And the same thing was true prior to 9/11. The problem for any intelligence-gathering organization is it's difficult to connect the dots. We had information, but it was difficult to put into a picture."

Announcer: Dreifort says an obvious difference between the two attacks is, in 1941, the attack was primarily against military targets, whereas 9/11 was against civilian targets. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University. 

Sound bite #1

Dreifort says one similarity of the two tragedies is that both were unprovoked attacks. The sound bite is 8 seconds and the outcue is "U.S. soil."

Dreifort: "One similarity between 9/11 and Pearl Harbor is the fact that these were unprovoked attacks, without benefit of declaration of war on U.S. soil."

Sound bite #2

Dreifort says another similarity is that public opinion was galvanized in both instances. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "the aggressors."

Dreifort: "Another similarity would be the fact that public opinion was galvanized in the aftermath of both attacks, and this was aided by presidential speeches that drew public support for action against the aggressors." 

Sound bite #3

Dreifort says both attacks led to exaggerated fears and overreaction. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "another airplane attack."

Dreifort: "Another similarity is the fact that in the aftermath of both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 there were exaggerated fears of subsequent follow-up attacks. In California, people feared that a Japanese attack on the West Coast would occur. In 9/11, our air space was closed down for several days in the aftermath of the attacks, fearing another airplane attack." 

Sound bite #4

Dreifort says both tragedies led to a restructuring of government. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is "was important."

Dreifort: "In both cases there was a significant restructuring of government. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act gave the government significant powers that it had not enjoyed up to that point in peace time. And after Pearl Harbor, of course, significant growth of the government for waging war was important." 

Sound bite #5

Dreifort says the target is one obvious difference in the two attacks. The sound bite is 10 seconds and the outcue is "civilian targets."

Dreifort: "An obvious difference between the two attacks was, in 1941, the attack was primarily against military targets, military installations. Whereas 9/11 was against civilian targets." 

Sound bite #6

Dreifort says another difference was how quickly the United States responded. The sound bite is 23 seconds and the outcue is "against them."

Dreifort: "Another significant difference is that after 9/11 the United States was able to retaliate against the aggressors much quicker. Within a month we were waging war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Whereas after the attack on Pearl Harbor, it took us six months to stop the Japanese and probably nine months before we were able to start launching an offensive against them."

Sound bite #7

Dreifort says the force of strength differed significantly in the two attacks. The sound bite is 26 seconds and the outcue is "with four aircraft."

Dreifort: "A difference was the fact that the Japanese attack was a government-sponsored attack using significant force strength. There was a whole naval task force, 360 planes, six aircraft carriers that launched this attack. Whereas in 9/11, it was a nongovernment-sponsored attack, involving 19 people with four aircraft."

Sound bite #8

Dreifort says another difference was how the government and people responded after the attacks. The sound bite is 23 seconds and the outcue is "Muslim Americans."

Dreifort: "Another difference is that in the aftermath of the attacks, the American government and people responded differently. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans, particularly on the West Coast, were rounded up and placed in relocation centers, where many of them stayed for months or years. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, President Bush and the American public overall tried to avoid that kind of overreaction against Muslim Americans."

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Contact: John Dreifort, (316) 978-7742 or john.dreifort@wichita.edu.
Created on Sep 1, 2011 4:05 PM; Last modified on Sep 1, 2011 4:06 PM