Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ill Repute: Pearl Harbor an Attack on the World

“December 7th 1941 a date which will live in infamy…” as said in the beginning of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address to congress and the entire world. FDR was obligated as President to address the nation on the proper steps toward peace. FDR's speech was used as a rally call to the American people to support a world war because a war with Imperial Japan meant for a war with it's allies. Little did FDR know that this declaration of war would result in 56,125,262 deaths total, destruction of nations, and a grueling four years war. Audience means everything to a speech by the President, his angle was that he was only addressing war upon the Empire of Japan, but there is evidence that would show that declaration of war was also upon Japan's allies.

Figure 1: "Franklin D. Roosevelt Signing the Declaration of War against Japan." 8 Dec. 1941. Archives. National Archives and Records Administration, Nov.-Dec. 1991. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.

The American people as well as congress knew that war was inevitable after these atrocious acts of terror on American soil. FDR uses minor hints that point out who exactly he was directing this speech to. FDR refers to an, "
Absolute Victory" (FDR) an absolute victory over Japan would ultimately mean war with their allies, thus hinting to the fact that the war will not only be fought on Japan's soil but as well as other countries. FDR was using these little clues as a way of showing the enemy that war was imminent. In figure 1 FDR signs the declaration of war on Japan finalizing the approval by congress. FDR knew that signing this declaration other parts come into play. America was allies with the British and the French at the time of the invasion and blitzkrieg of both countries. American military needed to aid their allies thus making us the enemy to the Nazi Regime and the Italian Socialist Army. FDR did not want to blatantly point out the enemies of the state but instead hinted to it as a method of intimidation. FDR also refers to the military and how he shows special trust in a successful victory over the Axis Powers. FDR also quotes at the end of mentioning the armed forces, "..--so help us God." FDR does not use this as a method of saying everyone should believe in his god but simply referring to a higher power above humans whether that be Allah, God, Jesus Christ, or whoever. FDR seems to also use this referral that god is on our side due to the way the United States was betrayed and deceived by the Japanese Empire by talks of peace and reconcile.

While the enemies of the United States watched on as FDR made his final decision of war it was already apparent that the American citizens had made their opinions and came to terms with what another World War meant. FDR utilizes his knowledge of the American people when he states, "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." The American people were not ignorant to the conflict and the power of the Nazi Regime and knew of many of the horrors going on from people living in Germany as well as other people from countries in Europe escaping Hitler and Mussolini's wrath. FDR as well as the citizens had been looking into the issue with Hitler and the Axis powers for some time and knew being prepared was the best option. Even though the United States was neutral prior to the attacks on Pearl Harbor plans were already being prepared for safety. FDR and the Armed Forces (American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guard, Citizens etc. etc.) had started invasion and battle preparations in order to organize a mass military movement if war was brought to the United States. The United States citizens were eager to go to war, citizens and soldiers alike of America have always wanted to fight the oppressor or dictator in order to allow the innocent the equal opportunity of life and happiness. FDR states to the American people as means of rallying American citizens to support a war, "But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us."(FDR) What FDR is trying to tell the American people that this event will never be forgotten and what we do after this horrific act will be a defining point of how America looks to the rest of the world and the other world powers. American people were already backing a war before the attacks on Pearl Harbor and other American military installments, the attack only forced America to enter and ultimately win the war.

FDR in the begining of his speech addressed the following people, "Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives.." it is clear that these people were not the only ones that were to examine the speech and make a decision. The American people and the enemies of America were all listening in to see what would happen now that war had been brought to America's footsteps. Now not only did America have to prepare their military immensely but so did the enemy realizing that America was going to get involved and begin taking apart the Axis Powers.

Works Cited

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. "Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation." American
Rhetoric. N.p., 8 Dec. 1941. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.

Works Consulted

"World War II." Yourdiscovery. Discovery Communications, Inc, 2010. Web. 3 Oct.