Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day of Infamy

December 7th, 1941 will remain forever in the minds of millions of people. On that day the Japanese naval and air forces deliberately attacked the United States’ navy base at Pearl Harbor. The first wave of Japanese came at 7:53 in the morning. The second wave at 8:55 and by 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 all the planes were flying back to Japan and the lives of millions changed. The Japanese killed 2,403, destroyed almost 200 planes and crippled the Pacific Fleet. The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation with the sole purpose of declaring war.

After Roosevelt states who his audience is by saying “Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives”, he goes right into his speech. He states that “December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy –“, which tells congress that what President Roosevelt is about say about the event that took place the day before is going to be really important. He goes on and discusses how “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”, this shows congress that the Japanese took their time to plan out these attacks as to make it as ‘unnoticeable’ as possible. Former President Roosevelt is shown addressing the congress in Figure 1.Figure 1. Franklin Roosevelt giving Pear Harbor Speech. Photograph. 8 December. 1941 Web. 5 Oct. 2010

Further into the speech Roosevelt discusses the other attacks that happened the day before. “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”, he words it in such a manner to inform congress that we were not the only ones who were deliberately attacked and that we need to do something quick. Not only was Roosevelt addressing congress, he was also addressing the people who were tuning in to hear him. Roosevelt was trying to calm the American people by telling them “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.” Roosevelt also wants to bring the Japanese to justice like everyone else

Towards the end of the speech Roosevelt describes his plan to declare war on Japan. He states “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”, this tells not only congress and the American people but also the Japanese that we are going to do something about the attacks and the Japanese better watch out. He also explains that “Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger”, he is saying that Japan has hurt our country terribly but we will fight back without hesitation.

“I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire”, Roosevelt persuades congress to declare war on the Japanese so we can protect our nation. This all happened due to the fact that Roosevelt knew what he was talking about and made sure he used the right words to get the nation hyped up. When Roosevelt is finished delivering everyone gives his a standing ovation and cheer. (Figure 2)

Figure 1. Roosevelt, Franklin. "Day of Infamy Speech" Speech. 8 December 1941. Youtube. 5 October 2010.

Works Cited

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. "Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation." . 8 December 1941.
American Rhetoric. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.

Works Consulted

"Attack at Pearl Harbor, 1941." EyeWitness to History. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct.