Pearl Harbor coverage, as it would have looked had there been iPad apps in 1941


I enjoyed this thing that The Wall Street Journal did this morning.

They did a mock home page for their app consisting of actual stories that ran in the paper on Dec. 8, 1941.

Here are links to a couple of the stories:

War With Japan: Washington Sees Fight on 2 Oceans and 3 Continents

All Consumption Curbs Due To Be Stiffened; Scarcity List Will Grow

I’m struck by how matter-of-factly these developments were accepted at the time. The stock market opened as usual the next morning? And can you imagine what a conniption the Journal would have today (on the editorial page, at least) over “consumption curbs?” The government, interfering with the holy marketplace? Good God, Lemon!

Below is an image of the actual front page from that date.

I thought that was pretty cool. But then I’m both a journalist, and a history geek…


6 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor coverage, as it would have looked had there been iPad apps in 1941

  1. Claus

    Back then The Wall Street Journal was a financial newspaper, not competing for headlines with other major newspapers.

    It also goes to show you how soft this country has become. Today the market would be closed for a week, the WSJ would be full of stories of where people in California, New York, and Mooselip, Idaho could go to find their safe place. Social services around the country would be handing out Visa cards to those psychologically affected by the attack. People thousands of miles away would be blaming Trump and rocking back and forth in the fetal position.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I agree with you there, Claus. We had more character as a nation then.

      This is the cue for my liberal friends to lecture me once again about my WWII nostalgia fetish, and tell me how much more progressive we are today, etc.

      But I don’t think anyone can argue with this: As a nation, we were more prepared to deal with a major challenge, one that took something close to a fully committed national effort (not to the extent of the Russian commitment, but pretty close to total commitment by American standards, seeing that our homeland wasn’t invaded or anything). People expected less as individuals, partly because they were more inured to hardship. Guys enlisted in the Army and gained weight because they’d never eaten so well before.

      But there was also something beyond that, which I fear is missing in us as a people today.

      Also, technology has changed us. A lot of conservatives liked to say that if we’d had the daily network TV coverage of Vietnam back during WWII, we couldn’t have won. And there’s something to that.

      But the media coverage of the 60s was nothing compared to the social media environment today, in which everyone is a publisher and news director who can instantly reach a global audience. At least in the 60s you had gatekeepers making editorial judgments. Now, there are no filters.

      Anyone see “American Sniper?” Remember the scene in which Kyle is chatting on a cell phone with his wife in the middle of a battle? I don’t know whether that actually happened — I sort of doubt it — but it’s technically POSSIBLE.

      During the ’60s while my Dad was in Vietnam, we thought we were high-tech because he could send us cassette tapes and we could hear his voice — probably a couple of weeks after he recorded them. In 1971, when we lived in Hawaii and I came here to attend school at USC, I spoke to my family back in Honolulu exactly once that semester — when they got a radio operator to set up a connection. I had to say “over” after each thing I said to them.

      Today… Imagine how we’d maintain morale and keep the war effort going if guys were streaming home video of the fiasco of the Battle of Hurtgen Forest? Or the multiple foulups on D-Day — the missed airborne drops, the bomber runs and artillery barrages that missed the German defenses, so our guys got chewed up on Omaha… the stupid ankle-bags the airborne guys were issued at the last minute without prior testing, so they ripped off and were lost when the chutes opened, so lots of guys (including the most famous paratrooper of all, Dick Winters) landed without weapons or ammo?

      How could we have maintained the will to win?

  2. Burl Burlingame


  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Here is the photo Burl just tried to post. This is where Burl works. It’s SO unfair he gets to see views like this all the time. For those who are unfamiliar, that’s the Arizona Memorial in the foreground. Was this taken FROM Ford Island (where Burl works) or from a boat?


  4. Burl Burlingame

    Thanks Brad. I took this from Ford Island on the morning of Dec. 7. I was doing live color commentary for TV news a few yards away.


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