Pearl Harbor: 75th Anniversary


Distant view of the attack (source)

Seventy-five years ago today, the early Sunday morning calm was soon turned into a scene of chaos and destruction.  Smoke filled the air as Japanese planes rained down bombs and torpedoes from the sky; midget submarines were launched in the waters below, although few reached their target.  While the United States had remained neutral as Hitler, Mussolini, and others competed for global dominance in the years following World War I, the attack on Pearl Harbor made it evident that she could no longer remain an inactive spectator.  The fight had been brought to America’s doorstep that day, with 2,403 sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines, and civilians killed, and another 1,178 wounded.  Monday, December 8th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress and the nation.  The United States was about to join the rest of the world in war.

“Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 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 towards 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 through 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 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”


The USS West Virginia and USS Tennessee shrouded in smoke (source)


One thought on “Pearl Harbor: 75th Anniversary

  1. Never realized with what deception the Japanese had acted. This “anniversary”, though somber, is a momentous occasion in our history, and one that should always be remembered to our children and our children’s children. Thank you for this post!


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