Today in History: December 7th

1941: Japan attacks the United States at Pearl Harbour. After months of fruitless negotiations, and years of tensions between the two, Japan had dispatched a naval task force to destroy the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. US Aircraft Carriers were out of port, and Japan failed to destroy the oil reserves in the Harbour, so despite the huge numbers of aircraft destroyed and battleships sunk, the strike was strategically unsuccessful. On December 11th, Germany declared war on the US, even though the terms of its alliance with Japan did not require it to do so.

1949: The Republic of China moves its capital from Nanjing to Taipei, were it remains to this day. After being bled white by Japan, the Nationalists had bot been able to effectively prosecute their campaign with the Communists, and the PRC had been proclaimed at Beijing, bringing to power the Communist government which still rules China today.

china_civil_war

1975: Indonesia invades East Timor. Under Portuguese control until 1974, East Timor had fallen into chaos following European withdrawal, and was seen as an easy target by Indonesia. Indonesia faced fierce resistance from the natives until it finally agreed to allow East Timor to go following a UN-sponsored independence referendum in 1999. East Timor became the first independent state of the 21st century in 2002.

An anti-Indonesian independence  protest in the 1990s.

An anti-Indonesian independence protest in the 1990s.

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