The U.S. At War: First Jitters

The scare started at dusk on Monday evening, a few hours after the U.S. declared war. It started in San Francisco.

A Japanese pilot, coasting down out of the sky, would have seen the billboards shining brightly on the roads leading into San Francisco. He would have seen the lights of Alcatraz, gleaming like an ocean liner on the black waters of the Bay. Over the downtown streets he would have seen the soft, red glow of neon signs.

For five days the Pacific Coast had its jitters. In Seattle, during the first blackout on...