Pearl Harbor the focus of History Symposium

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Source:

Amanda Paladino, Assistant News Editor

On Saturday Nov. 5, the Utica College Center for Historical Research hosted its annual symposium. This year’s theme was Pearl Harbor @75- igniting conversation in regards to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the road to World War II.

Each year, the History Department centers its symposium theme on topics that are of interest to not only UC students, but the national community as a whole. Pearl Harbor is no exception, making its mark on America’s timeline as both a devastating and crucial event in history.

In the attack’s aftermath, President Franklin Roosevelt declared Dec. 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.” While many are quick to associate Pearl Harbor with Japan’s attack on the US Naval Base, the symposium explored the deeper layers of its impact and sought to uncover the complexities surrounding it.

“The Pearl Harbor attack is probably one of the best known and least understood events in the US and world history,” History Professor David Wittner said. “Our goal was to start a dialogue through which people could gain a greater understanding of the complexities of the event.”

The department’s @Series Symposia take a unique approach, inviting experts to speak with a group of participants as opposed to having panels of experts speaking at an audience.

“The eight presenters we brought in are truly experts on Pearl Harbor and military history,” Wittner said.

Each presenter had 50 minutes to showcase their knowledge, relaying information and subsequently sparking discussion among the audience and participants. Presentations examined the attack on Pearl Harbor with an eclectic array of perspectives—cultural, economic, military, national, political and social.