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Did you know the Japanese attacked the California Coast during WWII?

The Impact of WWII on the California Coast | Mobile Ranger

Stashed in: History!, California, Japan, California

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I did not realize there were attacks on Mendocino, Monterey, and Santa Barbara!

After almost two months of peace and quiet along the California coast, a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of Santa Barbara on February 23, 1942. (The plot of the film 1941 is loosely based on this attack.) This time the submarine’s captain, Kozo Nishino, had his sights not on American merchant ships but on the mainland. The sub fired at a pair of oil storage tankers, missing them completely. Even though the most damage done was to a catwalk and some pumping equipment, Nishino radioed back to Japan saying he’d “left Santa Barbara in flames.”

This attack, the first on the U.S. mainland since the War of 1812, was a ploy by the Japanese to fool Americans into thinking a larger attack on the mainland was to come. They had no intention of this but knew the Ellwood attack would push Americans to deploy precious troops up and down the coast. The plan worked, and soon after the 54th Coast Artillery — the first and only all African American regiment — was deployed to protect the California coastline from any future attacks.

1941 (1979) Poster

Directed by Steven Spielberg!

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