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The state of Hawaii is a cluster of volcanic islands situated in the central Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,400 miles from San Francisco, California. Its capital is Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu. Known as the Aloha State, it was annexed by the United States in 1898, despite the fact that in 1897, the Empire of Japan sent warships to the islands in order to oppose that annexation. In 1900, it became the Territory of Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, while it was still a territory, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. The attack began at 3:42 a.m. Hawaiian Time. No formal declaration of war had been made by Japan, though it was long believed that the plan had been for the attack to take place 30 minutes after delivery of the declaration. The problem, according to this school of thought, was that the 5,000-word notification was sent to the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., transcription of the message took longer than expected, and the Japanese ambassador did not get the full message transcribed in time. It was, in fact, delivered to the U.S. government the day after the attack at Pearl Harbor. In 1999, documents were discovered in Japan which indicated that a vivacious debate was taking place within the Japanese government, with the military holding out for not issuing a declaration or any notice whatsoever. According to experts, that was the side of the debate which prevailed. On December 8, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered what is known as his Infamy Speech to a Joint Session of Congress, calling for a declaration of War on Japan. It took Congress less than an hour to vote to declare war. Thus, the United States joined the fray in World War II. Hawaii joined the Union as a state in August of 1959.




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