Timeline – December 8, 1941, 13:10

The US House of Representatives passes a resolution declaring war upon Japan, with a total vote count of 388 to 1. The single dissenting vote is cast by Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, who also voted against a declaration of war in 1917.

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Timeline – December 8, 1941, 12:29

The President, still on his son’s arm, enters the Chamber of the House, is introduced briefly by Speaker Sam Rayburn, and receives a thunderous ovation. For the past nine years, Republicans have shown little enthusiasm toward the President when he has addressed a Joint Session of Congress. This time, the Republicans join in, signifying the nation’s sudden unity.

Solemnly, he begins his speech: 

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and 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 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. But 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.

Timeline – December 8, 1941, 12:20

A heavily guarded black limousine pulls up to the south entrance of the U.S. Capitol.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt gets out of the car and enters the Capitol, assisted by his son Captain James Roosevelt, who wears the uniform of the U.S. Marines.

The chamber of the House of Representatives is jammed with members of both houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, official guests, and onlookers in the galleries.

Timeline – December 7, 1941, Evening Hours

Because the US Military immediately seized all communication lines from Hawaii, news of the attack on Pearl Harbor was released from the White House. Sunday afternoon shows on the Mainland were interrupted by the breaking news. (Following courtesy of AP)

FLASH

WASHINGTON — White House says Japs attack Pearl Harbor.

BULLETIN

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (AP) — President Roosevelt said in a statement today that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from the air.

The attack of the Japanese also was made on all naval and military “activities” on the island of Oahu.

The president’s brief statement was read to reporters by Stephen Early, presidential secretary. No further details were given immediately.

At the time of the White House announcement, the Japanese ambassadors, Kichisaburo Nomura and Saburo Kurusu, were at the State Department.

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FLASH

WASHINGTON — Second air attack reported on Army and Navy bases in Manila.

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First lead Japanese

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 — (AP) — Japanese air attacks on the American naval stronghold at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and on defense facilities at Manila were announced today by the White House.

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Only this terse announcement came from President Roosevelt immediately, but with it there could be no doubt that the Far Eastern situation had at last exploded, that the United States was at war, and that the conflict which began in Europe was spreading over the entire world.
This disclosure had been accepted generally as an indication this country had all but given up hope that American-Japanese difficulties, arising from Japan’s aggression in the Far East, could be resolved by ordinary diplomatic procedure.

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BULLETIN

Second lead Japanese

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 — (AP) — Japanese airplanes today attacked American defense bases at Hawaii and Manila, and President Roosevelt ordered the Army and Navy to carry out undisclosed orders prepared for the defense of the United States.

Announcing the president’s action for the protection of American territory, Presidential Secretary Stephen Early declared that so far as is known now the attacks were made wholly without warning — when both nations were at peace — and were delivered within an hour or so of the time that the Japanese ambassador had gone to the State Department to hand to the secretary of state Japan’s reply to the secretary’s memo of the 26th.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin was the first newspaper to report the attack on Pearl Harbor. They published several Extra Editions throughout the day. By the morning of Dec 8, every newspaper in the country was carrying some version of the story.

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