Seventy-five years ago today the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and other sites in Hawaii. If Obama was president at the time he probably would have hit the links the next day, but thankfully FDR was the President.
The day after the Japanese attack on Hawaii, FDR spoke before a joint session of congress. His speech was broadcast across America.
There is much to criticize about the Presidency of FDR, but on December 8, 1941 he was brilliant.
FDR did not mention gun control. Nor did he bring up global warming. He did not rationalize that the Japanese bombers did not represent all Japanese people in the world. He did not mention negotiation. He did not mention the need for stricter regulations for the residents of Hawaii.
Unlike Obama’s speeches about terrorism, FDR named America’s enemy: Japan. And FDR calmed Americans’ fears. He instilled in them the confidence and hope they as citizens needed from their leader. Still reeling from the Great Depression, now shaken by the largest attack on American soil, America needed to be reminded of the exceptionalism of the United States of America, something Obama began is presidency by denying and apologizing.
Judge Samuel Irving Rosenman, who served as an adviser to Roosevelt, described the scene:
It was a most dramatic spectacle there in the chamber of the House of Representatives. On most of the President’s personal appearances before Congress, we found applause coming largely from one side—the Democratic side. But this day was different. The applause, the spirit of cooperation, came equally from both sides. … The new feeling of unity which suddenly welled up in the chamber on December 8, the common purpose behind the leadership of the President, the joint determination to see things through, were typical of what was taking place throughout the country.
FDR’s speech should also remind Americans that today, on the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the real spirit of Americans, and that America can be great again. It just needs leaders who represent and care about Americans, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.
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 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 throughout 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 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.