Presidential Address Following Pearl Harbor Attacks, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
1. Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of
2. America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
3. The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in
4. conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of
5. peace in the Pacific.
6. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American
7. island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered
8. to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply
9. stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained
10. no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.
11. It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack
12. was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the
13. Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false
14. statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
15. The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval
16. and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost.
17. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between
18. San Francisco and Honolulu.
19. Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
20. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
21. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
22. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
23. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
24. And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
25. Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
26. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have
27. already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and
28. safety of our nation.
29. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken
30. for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught
31. against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion,
32. the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.
33. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that
34. we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain
35. that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
36. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our
37. interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding
38. determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.
39. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on
40. Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the
41. Japanese Empire.
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy: FDR Asks for a Declaration of War." 8 Dec. 1941. Historymatters.gmu.edu. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.
What does the author mean when he calls December 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy" (line 1)?