The Fu-Go Project

Pearl Harbor

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, American attitudes of isolationism were replaced by determination. The surprise attack shocked the nation, and the US officially entered the war the next day. 2,403 Americans lost their at Pearl Harbor, including two men from Omaha. The attack was a tremendous blow to American naval resources, and dealt a devestating affect to morale. Americans wanted retaliation – and that involved a counter-strike on Japanese soil.

The Doolittle Raid

The battleships at Pearl Harbor were still burning when military leaders started devising a daring plan. Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle lead 80 volunteer servicemen on a risky mission to bomb Tokyo. Sixteen B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet, carrying bombs intended to be dropped on the heart of the Japanese Empire. The Hornetwas 650 miles from Tokyo, which meant the planes would not have enough fuel for a return trip.


Strategically, the raid did very little. Bombs were dropped in Tokyo, but did not major damage to infastruture and didn’t hinder the Japanese war effort. Almost all the crew members survived the landings, and Doolittle fully expected to be Court Marshalled for losing an entire fleet of planes and having little to show for it.

But Doolittle came home to a hero’s welcome.

America had her retaliation for Pearl Harbor, and the raid was tremendous morale boost for the United States. The Japanese military was furious, and created a project designed to bomb mainland America.

It was called “The Fu-go Project.”