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 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 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Just across Charleston Harbor from my office, on the deck of the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, I suspect that there will be a ceremony marking the occasion, just as today more than a dozen Pearl Harbor survivors have come together on the Yorktown to remember the attack.

This speech, and what happened in the years afterward, should always serve as a reminder that American resolve is ever-present, even when the people of this nation seem outwardly downtrodden and disconnected. If there is one thing I wish for our nation, it would be that we could be so resolute as to approach all of our problems with the same faith and commitment that “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.”



  1. Gail B. says:

    Thank you for posting something memorable at AR, Jeff. You are a Patriot and a great American.

  2. Anonymous says:


    my father-in-law was on the original USS Yorktown that fought valiantly and defeated the Japanese fleet at Midway, before it was dive bombed, and torpedoed, subsequently sinking while in tow. He too, as my father who served with the 90th in the Ardennes, is now near the end of his life. Here’s to all the brave men of the GREATEST generation. And my apologies to them that our country has gone the way it has, now embracing socialism and fascism, when we had fought so hard against the lunacy that is communism.

    We toured the secondary Yorktown there in Charleston two years ago and he broke down and wept.

    Wish there was a way to fight this, instead of just blogging about it, I am so mad.

  3. John Feeny says:

    @ anonymous:
    There’s no way we can ever understand the sense of betrayal that the men of your father’s generation must feel when they look at the level to which this once-great nation has stooped. Although I’m only a writer, it is for them – as well as my son’s future – that I try to maintain my sense of hyper-vigilance as to the nature of what’s going on.

    Those men deserve a better fate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We now have a presidency that will live in infamy.

  5. REAL Americans says:

    7:11 I built a model of the Memphis Belle B17 as a young man, and several years ago had the pilot Robert Morgan and the radio operator, autograph it at an air show here in Memphis. He subsequently passed away in 2004. I can honestly say it is one of my most treasured possessions.

    Freedom isn’t free, all you punk hippies, socialists, anarchists and communists.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Read the story behind this painting over your coffee this morning.
    Salutes to both pilots.

  7. Dean says:

    As a veteran of a foreign war (I am 67) I was truly disappointed that our President and Vice President did NOT make a bigger show of support for our military on the anniversary of the Day of Infamy. No proclamations were issued, no rousing speeches given – at least none that were reported in the local media where I live. My Dad was on a US Navy Battlewagon in WWII, was an Army NCO serving in the Korean Conflict, and was still in the Army when he served in Vietnam at the same time I served there first as a small unit commander, as an advisor and then with the 11th ACR in its Air Cav Troop. Disappointed doesn’t quite cover the way I felt about it.


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