The first 1,000 people to use this link will get a 1 month free trial of Skillshare:
In the months that followed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and America’s entry into World War II, paranoia intensified all over the country. As a contributing factor, many Japanese Submarines off the West Coast attacked several American ships from December 1941 to February 1942.
In a few short months, fear spread mainly across the West Coast, where a Japanese attack was a likely possibility. All over the western side of the country, cities imposed blackouts for buildings, schools, and vehicles. The rumors intensified so much that at one point, 500 Army soldiers moved to the Walt Disney Studios lot in Southern California to defend the Hollywood facility against enemy sabotage.
As the United States began to prepare for war, anti-aircraft guns and bunkers were installed all across the country, and each town, no matter how small, had information on air raid protocols.
On February 24, 1942, the mounting tension became an explosion of hysteria when the Office of Naval Intelligence announced that an attack on the state of California could be expected within ten hours.
At 2:25 am, air raid sirens could be heard throughout Los Angeles County, and the mayor ordered a total blackout. For the remainder of the night, and well into the early morning, the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade fired over 1,400 shells into the air at reported aircraft.
After the blackout order was lifted at 7:21 am, flares were fired into the night sky for the next few days to either illuminate potential threats or signal danger. The citizens, however, became confused, as they believed the flashes of light were coming from attackers.
Within hours of the nighttime air raid, Frank Fox, Secretary of the Navy, confirmed that the entire incident had been a false alarm. No Japanese aircraft were ever sighted, and the enemy government vehemently denied their involvement.
Despite it being a false alarm, the supposed Battle of Los Angeles did have casualties, with three heart attack victims and three fatal car accidents related to the chaos.
The United States Office of Air Force has said that meteorological balloons were the cause of the initial alarm. However, many people still attribute the Battle of Los Angeles to an extraterrestrial visit.