Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" Speech
Roosevelt Delivering his Day of Infamy Speech to
On December 8,
1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appeared before the United
States Congress to ask for a declaration of war against the Japanese
Empire following the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor.
Below is the famous speech heard by millions of shocked Americans
over their radios that day. As the President had asked, Congress
voted in a formal declaration
of war against Japan.
"Yesterday, 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 Oahu, the Japanese
Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the
Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While
this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing
diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or
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. 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 nightJapanese forces attacked the Philippine
Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning
the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore,
undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific
area. The facts of yesterday 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
Always will we 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 righteousmight will win through to absolute victory.
I believe 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 very certain
that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
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 unbounded 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 seventh, a state of war has existed between the
United States and the Japanese Empire."
1998-2016 History Guy Media; Last Modified: 12.04.06
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, December 8, 1941.
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