On the night of February 24, 1942, only two months after the attack at Pearl Harbor, the skies of Los Angeles burst open with anti-aircraft fire and spotlights flooded the night sky looking for rumored Japanese planes. A total blackout was ordered in the city and air raid sirens were sounded off, warning people of danger.
After the 'raid' ended, the Navy Secretary told press that the incident was a false alarm triggered by "war nerves" and anxiety. In 1949 the Coast Artillery Association explained that the incident was caused by a stray weather balloon.
Despite the false alarm five people did die during the supposed battle, three in car accidents from the panic and two from heart attacks related to the stress of the incident.
- 1942-02-24 The "Battle of Los Angeles" takes place, a series of anti-aircraft engagements over the city in response to a rumored but false Japanese attack. It would last until the morning of the following day.