Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Pearl harbor Address to the Nation

There are few pains worse than being betrayed by a friend.

On December 7th, 1941, Japan committed that action with the bombing of Pearl Harbor naval base. An attack on a country Japan was up to then at peace with; an attack that claimed over 2,000 lives. The whole country was shocked, and waited to hear from the president. The next day Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the nation with his sympathy, and plans for action. Addressing Congress and the nation FDR reviewed the offenses Japan had recently launched, and said, “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” verifying the daunting realization that America was at war.

Figure 1 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. "Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation." 8 December 1941.

Roosevelt’s speech in response to the attack was bold and direct. He stood in front of congress with the confidence he had the support of the nation. He states, “The people of the United States have already formed their opinions”; they had no choice but to act. The speech strengthened Americans patriotism, and affirmed America’s participation in World War II. Throughout the speech Roosevelt spoke with the same confidence illustrated in that quote; giving the speech a comforting tone. He used that tone to reassure the trust and gain the support of every American, which was essential for the United States victory.

In harmony with his confident tone, FDR reinstated multiple times that the attacks were premeditated. He began his speech with a sentence including that “America was suddenly and deliberately attacked”. By portraying that the attacks were planed out days ahead, Roosevelt was able to increase the disdain the American people felt toward Japan. FDR effectively notified the nation that Japan was then an enemy, and America’s security was at risk. Keeping the same tone, he assures America that the US Army and the determination of the people will gain the inevitable triumph.

The speech was well written and direct. Roosevelt clearly demonstrated his stance of declaring war on Japan to Congress and the nation. Knowing he had both the support of the representatives and civilians. His confident tone motivated the American people to take action toward Japan. World War II has since become regarded as the most important war America had experienced. In the beginning, WWII boosted the economy out of The Great Depression, but like all wars ended with great loss of life. Franklin’s “Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation” was composed at the start of it all, and is one of history’s most significant speeches. Roosevelt’s speech is ranked the 4th most important speech of the 20th century on American Rhetoric. A fair placement for a symbol of --a date which will live in infamy--

Works Cited

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

Works Consulted

"Pearl Harbor attack." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.