A Few Days in December 1941

7 Dec

December 7, 1941 was a Sunday. It was also the day that the Japanese fleet attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.Pearl Attack

Actually, that is not accurate. It was an attack on various locations around the island of Oahu. Most people know the story and have seen the footage of the attack. However, something else was taking place thousands of miles away.

In Washington, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who graduated from Cumberland University, was preparing to meet with the ambassador of Japan when word of the attack got to his office.Cordell Hull

Hull greeted the ambassador, who did not know the attack had already taken place, and read documents stating that negotiations between the two nations were ending. The Secretary of State exploded with angered while the ambassador quickly left. Hull uttered a few other choice words while realizing that the United States had just entered the World War.

On December 8, Franklin Roosevelt convened a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives to request a declaration of war against Japan. On that day, he said:

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.

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7 Responses to “A Few Days in December 1941”

  1. Teepee12 December 7, 2013 at 21:33 #

    I reblogged this on Serendipity. Thank you. Well done.

    • Rick December 7, 2013 at 21:41 #

      Thank you for the reblog. I’m proud to be included on your blog.

      • Teepee12 December 7, 2013 at 22:25 #

        Very glad to have you. The Boston Herald limited mention of Pearl Harbor to 1 small story on page 3 and another even deeper and more hidden. So much for history. If it weren’t for the Internet and bloggers, everything that didn’t happen yesterday would be forgotten by tomorrow!

  2. jcalberta December 7, 2013 at 22:54 #

    The Japanese and Hitler. No movie could ever capture the overwhelming horror that these people perpetuated. And would we want it to?
    Can you imagine creating an armed force – then ordering them to murder millions of people?? What can compel such unbelievable insanity? Such cold and calculated murder? It wasn’t hate – they never even knew us.
    And what if they had succeeded?
    And it still goes on.

    • Teepee12 December 7, 2013 at 23:08 #

      Hate is remarkably enduring. It seems to be what we are best at.

    • Rick December 8, 2013 at 04:03 #

      We probably don’t need a movie, but we should never forget. Teaching history, I know that people sometimes wish we would skip over the bad stuff.

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