Here, on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, LIFE.com presents rare and unpublished photos from Hawaii and the mainland, chronicling a nation’s answer to an unprecedented act of war.
Unpublished, training with gas masks in Hawaii, early 1942.
“Ambassador Nomura and Envoy Kurusu,” LIFE reported in mid-December 1941, “had come with the answer to Hull’s note [of protest to the Japanese delegation in D.C.]. Hull read it through and then, for the first time in many long, patient years, the soft-spoken Secretary lost his temper. Into the teeth of the two Japanese, who for once did not grin, he flung these words: ‘In all my 50 years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions — on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them.’”