Remembering Pearl Harbor, 80 years on

Tuesday 7 December 2021 marked the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. To commemorate the occasion, the Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre offered a new format for our international online audience: readings from the works of Sir Martin, presented by his widow, Lady Esther Gilbert.

Here at the SMGLC, we often hear from people who encountered history through Sir Martin’s works, and so it was exciting for us to share those works with an online audience and explore what happened in the lead up to Pearl Harbor, how Winston Churchill received the news, and what happened after the bombing. 

Drawing on six of Sir Martin’s works, Lady Esther offered a detailed and wide-ranging account of the events in the Pacific, homing in on the intelligence gathering beforehand and the British Prime Minister’s March 1941 attempts to dissuade Japan from  entering the war. We also learned that early December 1941 marked another landmark moment in the Second World War, with the first gassings in Chelmno signalling the beginning of the Final Solution. 

Viewers enjoyed the intimacy of the talk and Lady Esther, seated in front of her bookshelves (which feature an unrivalled selection of Sir Martin’s work), read with poise and clarity. Offering her husband’s detailed and thoroughly-researched insights, Lady Esther’s selection of readings gave us a new understanding of this pivotal moment in history.

You can see the recording of the talk on our YouTube channel:

The readings came from the following works:

History of the Twentieth Century
Churchill and America  
Second World War
Churchill: A Life 
The Holocaust 
Churchill: The Power of Words