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Remembering Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941
Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly and decisively dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United States rather than a thorough recitation of Japanese perfidies, as Secretary of State Cordell Hull had urged.

President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft—marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, "a date which will live in world history." Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places.

On December 8, at 12:30 p.m., Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation via radio. The Senate responded with a unanimous vote in support of war; only Montana pacifist Jeanette Rankin dissented in the House. At 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the declaration of war.

Listen to FDR's speech.
 
The Pentagon Channel remembers Pearl Harbor.
Shortly after the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, five of eight U.S. battleships were sunk or sinking and more than 2, 400 Americans perished.
PEARL HARBOR UNDER ATTACK – Shortly after the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, five of eight U.S. battleships were sunk or sinking and more than 2, 400 Americans perished.
Saliors attempting to save a burning PBY patrol bomber at Navel Air Station Kanoehe Bay after Japanese raid on December 7th, 1941. National Archives Photo
BOMBER SALVAGE – Saliors attempting to save a burning PBY patrol bomber at Navel Air Station Kanoehe Bay after Japanese raid on December 7th, 1941. National Archives Photo
 
 Additional Information
USS Arizona Memorial Library of Congress: "Man-on-the-Street"
Hickam Air Force Base Earth Observing Satellite - Aerial View
Franklin D. Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor Speech Pearl Harbor Casualties
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