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The Dec. 15, 1941, issue of TIME must have gone to press just a day or two after the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor, and the task facing those who had to write about the event was, in some ways, the same task facing the rest of the nation: figuring out how to understand what had happened. “In every part of the U.S. the terse, inadequate words gave outward and visible signs of the unfinished emotions within,” as TIME put it.
The issue goes on to describe President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech of Dec. 8, 1941, about that “date which will live in infamy,” and the details of what had happened in Hawaii. But it also looks at what happened in the days after the attack. The map above will remind modern readers that while Pearl Harbor was the target we remember, it was not alone. Locations throughout the South Pacific were involved in the events of early December 1941 — and, as TIME’s editors couldn’t have yet known, those of the weeks and months and years to follow.
Read the full issue here, in the TIME Vault: Dec. 15, 1941
Photos from LIFE: After Pearl Harbor