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USA Declaration of War on Japan

// Information about the request of US declaration of war on Japan.

After receiving the news about the Pearl Harbor attack, Roosevelt met with his military advisers and, after that, wrote a first draft of the declaration of war on Japan request to the Congress.

After the first draft, the President made some handwritten changes and created a final version of the speech. One of the most famous phrases of the speech, a date which will live in infamy, wasn't in the first draft; it was a date which will live in world history.

On December 8, 1941, the day after Japanese forces attacked the American military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Franklin Roosevelt addressed Congress with one of the most famous speeches to Congress in history and asked for a Declaration of War with Japan.

At 12:30 pm, Roosevelt started the speech.


«Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate, of 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 Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a form reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hit of war or 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 had 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. 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 Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday 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. Always will we 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 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 very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. 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 unbounded 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 seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, The White House
December 8th, 1941»


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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presdential Library and Museum

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Gordon Kaious
March 22, 2013 at 03:59:27 AM
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I want to know something.
JRJR (admin@worldwar-two.net)
March 22, 2013 at 08:47:31 AM
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Hi Gordon, what would you like to know? :)
Clint Blalock
April 15, 2013 at 03:22:27 PM
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When was the United States declaration of war actually certified by law against Germany only. Not Japan or any other country? I was told actually that the official and legal declaration was not signed by the president until later in the WW II. conflicts. This is a technical issue for me. I thought is was actually ratified late, perhaps as late as 1944 or early 1945. Could you please advise?
JRJR (admin@worldwar-two.net)
April 15, 2013 at 04:42:56 PM
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Hi Clint, I'm not aware of an issue with the date of approval of this war declaration. If you find the source that gave you the idea of the late declaration ratification, please share it here. Thanks
Clarence Kubitski
July 17, 2015 at 01:11:15 PM
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I Clarence Kubitski would like to put together a notebook of as much information regarding the Pacific and Europe conflict of World War Two. I would like to share this information with the surrounding students and teachers that may have forgotten one of our biggest days and years in history. Thank you, Clarence Kubitski
August 22, 2022 at 10:35:50 AM
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I thought Charles Fay, who was an under secretary of War signed the declaration while the Sec. of War was flying to Hawaii?
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