The full quote is "It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs."
Those telling words appeared next to a photograph of the USS Arizona at sea and were printed in a US Army-Navy pamphlet dated 29 November 1941.
Just 8 Days later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in what President Roosevelt later called "This day of Infamy." During that attack the Arizona exploded and sank at her berth after receiving a direct hit from a Japanese bomb. Today the USS Arizona remains the permanent war grave for the 1,102 men who perished on board that ship that day.
My copy of this book was published in 1957. Since that time, many new avenues of research have opened for historians. One, of course, is the advent of the internet. Another is also the release of material after whatever 30 or 50 year rule were put in place. In other words, this author neither had the facilities afforded by the internet nor was he allowed access to some of the material which is available today - something which makes this book all the more remarkable for its content.
Author and historian Walter Lord clearly understood the art of research and put his skills to the best possible use in producing this book. It is an excellent work. With photographs used for the very first time, we have a moment-by-moment account of the attack and how it affected people on the ground.
This really was infamous for several reasons; Firstly the Japanese had not delivered any formal declaration of war against the USA. By not making such a declaration, US Forces had not been placed on a war footing and were, therefore, going about their duties - just as they would during any time of peace. Finally, not content with the knowledge they would be catching the US Fleet "unawares," the Japanese also chose to attack on a Sunday morning - a time when US forces would, for the most part, be enjoying a day off.
Infamy is one word, cowardly is another and, of all the accounts I have read, this ranks amongst the very best.