07 December 1941

FDRYesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

34 thoughts on “07 December 1941

  1. Dear Jill,

    Those were trying times. It brought out the best and worst in peoples. I used to wonder about how the German peoples could back a man like Hitler and how other European leaders could think they could appease this man. I no longer wonder about this.

    Japan made the same mistake that the US has made to often. They didn’t understand the US culture and they would pay for this.Whenever we have marginalized peoples out of fear, we have lived to regret acting on these impulses.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • So often these days, I see parallels between the people of Germany in 1933 and the people of the U.S. today. I don’t like what I’m seeing … yes, the circumstances are much different here, today, than in Germany post-WWI, but there are too many similarities to ignore, also. I wonder if, 100 years from now, our descendants will be studying this era in history and saying, “Why couldn’t the American people SEE what Trump was doing?” Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The last jagged piece was fitted into place thus the whole machinery of War was made complete and its fearful logic took hold. What would have been thought fearful and horrifying became commonplace, what had been unthinkable in this era was deemed a necessity. Beware when War takes hold after that there are only degrees of violence and when you look back and see all the facts and circumstances laid bare ask ‘What would have I done?’….The answer will surprise you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This was not the people of Japan taking on the people of the United States and others, this was the leadership of the Japanese. And what was done to Japanese Americans, and Japanese Canadians, was crueler than anything that could have been done to any innocents. What with the German leadership trying to wipe out the Jews, the Gypsies, the Poles, and others the world reached its lowest level ever in those 4 years. And it was a direct result of the takeover of the Americas by Europeans in the preceding centuries.
    No nation is so self-important that it should torture its own citizens or the citizens of other nations. If we do not learn this now we never will. People are just people. If anyone needs to be tortured, make it the leadership. They are the villians of warfare. Yet seldom are they the victims…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you. It was a decision that was in the hands of one man, really, Hirohito, just as our decision nearly 4 years later to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was in the hands of just one man and, I like to think at least, the citizens of the U.S. were horrified. All these years later, I am still horrified by our abominable cruelty. And yes, what Hitler did to the Jews, gypsies, et al, and what we did to the Japanese-Americans, stealing their property and throwing them in internment camps, were horrible. But you know what? We haven’t learned. We haven’t become a gentler, kinder nation and neither have the others. In fact, if anything we have become even more cruel, more convinced of our own superiority over ‘other’. Sigh. I figure it this way … if humans have been around for ever-how-many thousands of years and we still haven’t learned that no one person is better than another, I don’t think we ever will. ‘Tis why I wish to come back as a wolf … I’m sick and damn tired of the human race and its lack of humanity.


    • Quite so, and yet, there was something positive that came of it, I suppose. It was the wake-up call the U.S. needed to realize that we couldn’t just sit over on this side of the ocean sucking our thumbs while the rest of the world was on fire. I have often wondered, if it hadn’t been for Pearl, if we would have been content to sit out the entire war?

      Liked by 1 person

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