December 7, 1941

Japan declared war on the United States and Great Britain, as of dawn, December 7. On that day, Sunday, Japanese dive-bombers and naval craft, without waming, attacked Pearl Harbor Naval Base and Hickam Field, Hawaii, and other American possessions in the Pacific. That same day, in Washington, at the same time as the assault, Ambassador Nomura and Special Envoy Kurusu were delivering in person to Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, the rejection by the Japanese Government of the American demands.... At once, following the Japanese assault, the American fleet in the Pacific, and the American air-force went into action against the Japanese aggressors. On Monday, December 8, one half hour after high noon, the President of the United States addressed a joint session of Congress. His address lasted little more than five minutes. After enumerating the series of attacks made by Japanese war forces on American possessions during the past forty-eight hours, he declared very plainly, that he asked that Congress declare that a state of war has existed since December 7, between the United States and Japan. Such are the facts in the final stages of the war with Japan that has, through long years, and in the past month, been regarded as inevitable.

The United States has been left no choice but to prosecute war against Japan with the full power of naval, air and army forces. Attacks such as those reported in the Pacific can be answered in one way only, by the complete defeat of the Govemment and war-forces that perpetrated them, prior to a war declaration and while diplomatic negotiations were still being transacted. That Japan, as it has protested during these Washington negotiations, believed that its very existence was imperilled by the American demands, is not now the point, in view of the naval and air assault on American objectives. That the United States had used economic warfare to subdue Japan and to make Japan conform to the American defense program is no longer an immediate subject for debate, now that Japan has attempted to destroy American air and naval bases. Whatever the foreign policy of the Administration has been in regard to war with Japan, is a matter for the future historians of our times. The hard and uncompromising fact exists that Japan has, by an overt act of aggression, attacked American possessions and ships in the Pacific and has declared war on the United States. There is but one answer, however much we may deplore the curse of war and American entry into war. By the vote of our duly elected Representatives in Congress, and with the support of the people they represent, the United States is determined to wage war upon Japan.


Our government calls upon the people to unite in the prosecution of this war, and to reaffirm, in practical terms, their loyalty to their nation. Every American will respond, and will perform his duty in this crisis and in the war years that follow. With leaden hearts, however, and with saddened minds they foresee the dreary and dangerous days that are to come. They did not want war with any nation; they feared that they would eventually be engaged in war; they protested against war. Perhaps, in Japan, the common people likewise hated war and longed to be free of war. But their leaders provoked war, and they were the victims. Here, the people also must suffer and sacrifice, now that war has been thrust upon us. This is not the day of exultation. It is the day of tragedy. But the American people must and will meet that tragedy and emerge from it triumphant, both in the war in the Orient and in the closely  following war against the Nazis.

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William Atkinson
5 years 10 months ago
Luke 21: "and that day will close on you unexpectedly" and so if we are not vigilent, watchful always we will repeat history over and over till we learn. We were forwarned in WWII, for warned prior to 9/11. Will we learn, probably not, so be aware for mayhem and devastation will come our way again over and over. Remember New Orleans we got 1 week advanced warning and look what happened. We got 6 days of call to action, plenty of time to prepare and protect and so many ignored the threat of hurricane Sandy.
William Atkinson
5 years 10 months ago
Luke 21: "and that day will close on you unexpectedly" and so if we are not vigilent, watchful always we will repeat history over and over till we learn. We were forwarned in WWII, for warned prior to 9/11. Will we learn, probably not, so be aware for mayhem and devastation will come our way again over and over. Remember New Orleans we got 1 week advanced warning and look what happened. We got 6 days of call to action, plenty of time to prepare and protect and so many ignored the threat of hurricane Sandy.
john ryan
5 years 10 months ago
According to your article Japan "believed that its very existence was imperilled by the American demands" and "the U.S. had used economic warfare to subdue Japan and to make Japan conform to the American defense program"     What are you people thinking??  The U.S. was using progressive ECONOMIC SANCTIONS cutting off export of materials which directly supported Japans brutal murderous aggression against Manchuria and China which began in 1937!  The same kind of sanctions the U.S./U.N. are using now with Iran and North Korea to try to keep them from pursuing their murderous ways.  The editors of America have re-translated facts to suit their views. Perhaps you might provide an article suggesting the the correct course of action(s) Roosevelt and the U.S. should have pursued as you see it?
Edward Thiery
5 years 10 months ago

The Roses of Pearl Harbor

Listening to the radio, I heard again the sad and most beautiful song “The Rose of Hiroshima,” with lyrics from the poem of the same name by great Brazilian writer Vinicius de Moraes, sung by the great Brazilian performer Ney Matogrosso. I felt again the pain of that tragedy, the sorrow of the destruction and of the deaths and sufferings of so many innocents, and I thought of the many works—books, movies, music, and poems—written about it.

I thought also of another tragedy, a tragedy which had occurred decades earlier, and I asked why it is that no one ever speaks of the Rose of Pearl Harbor, whose death resulted in all this.

What about the Rose—rather, the Roses—of Pearl Harbor? Why is it that the poets do not cry for them? Can it be that they do not remember that day, December 7, 1941, when the Japanese started the infernal process? Did they never hear of that sleepy and innocent tropical Sunday morning, as wonderful as any on the Brazilian coast, that lazy, sunny day, when the Japanese machine guns and bombs blasted Paradise—the Paradise of our land and of our soul?

They tried totally to destroy our navy and crush our spirit. They left thousands of our Roses (besides the innocent families and others on land) dead in their watery graves, where they still await the simple apologies of the Japanese government.

The Japanese goverment never repented, never assumed any guilt or responsibility whatsoever for that day of infamy.

A wise victor would have let the defeated enemy suffocating in the ashes of his own making, but the United States never was a wise victor. It rebuilt the insular country and installed democracy . . . To expect the gratitude of the ex-enemy would be too much; however, why not, from that refined, superior culture, a simple, civil “Sorry”? I am sorry.

(On August 14, 1995, the morning of the fiftieth anniversary of Japan’s surrender, Tomiichi Murayama, the Prime Minister, acknowledged his country’s guilt in the Second World War and uttered his heartfelt apology. The right wing insists that Japan’s guilt is a fiction created by the conquerors; however, the majority of the Japanese people believe that their country should express contrition. None of this is the same as acknowledgement and apology by the Emperor himself that their country should express contrition.)

The following poem is by the late Vinicius de Moraes. The poem provides the lyrics for a very popular song by the great Brazilian star Ney Matogrosso. Vinicius is best known in the United States for his collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim on that lovely paean to a lovely Carioca, "The Girl from Ipanema."

A Rosa de Hiroxima

Pensem nas crianças
Mudas telepáticas
Pensem nas meninas
Cegas inexatas
Pensem nas mulheres
Rotas alteradas
Pensem nas feridas
Como rosas cálidas
Mas oh não se esqueçam
Da rosa da rosa
Da rosa de Hiroxima
A rosa hereditária
A rosa radioativa
Estúpida e inválida
A rosa com cirrose
A anti-rosa atômica
Sem cor sem perfume
Sem rosa sem nada.


The Rose of Hiroshima

Think of the children
Telepathic mutes
Think of the girls
Inexact blinded ones
Think of the women
Altered routes
Think of the wounds
As scorched roses
But oh do not forget
The rose the rose
The rose of Hiroshima
The hereditary rose
The radioactive rose
Stupid and invalid
The cirrhotic rose
The atomic anti-rose
No color no odor
No rose no-thing.

(My translation - eft)


William Atkinson
5 years 10 months ago
In those days it was Japan and Germany/Italy that had occupiers and military in over 1/2 of worlds areas, today only one country has military in so many nations, and occupies and influences over 1/2 the world. It is the Americans, who??? Will save the world from Americas iintrusion in the lives, cultures, religions and governances of the world. Just for fun, list the nations who do not have U.S. Military presence on their lands.
5 years 10 months ago
What were the editors supposed to say during December 1941? The principle of a just war has no meaning if we deny its consequences,
john ryan
5 years 10 months ago
Mr. Atkinson; Good point! We have troops in to many places BUT the difference between Japan,Germany and Italy in the 30s and 40s and the U.S. today is that all these countries need to do is tell us to leave and go home!   Now a separate discussion can be made as to why these nations dont tell us to leave. Are they to closely involved in our economy? Is it that our military will defend them? Other reasons?? (but thats another discussion)
Mr. Rissetto; The editors could have told the truth and said the U.S. tried economic sanctions but Japan would not stop its military ambitions and was determined to rule Asia by force and not economics.  I dont understand your point about just war/denying its consequences. No one could ignore the mountain of human tragedy connected with any war but I aint the sharpest pencil in the box and I may well be missing something.

I may be to touchy but I do get this way every year as Dec.7 comes around and the revisionists come out and say or strongly hint that WW2 was our fault esp. as regards the war in the Pacific. Unlike Germany a large part of the Japanese population selectivly remembers the atom bomb but never heard of the depredations visited on Asia by their fathers and grandfathers and I see less understanding of it in our own country and more of "it was both our faults"
Brian Breslin
5 years 10 months ago
Well said, John Ryan. 


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