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Franklin D. Roosevelt, "A Date That Will Live In Infamy" (1941)

May 4, 2012
On December 7, 1941 Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States naval base located at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Over 2,400 Americans died. The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress to ask for a declaration of war. He began by referring to December 7th as, "a date that will live in infamy." The Pearl Harbor attack brought the United States into World War II and was the most deadly foreign attack on American soil until the 9/11 attacks by al Quaeda in 2001.
infamy
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.
empire
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.
solicitation
Roosevelt is referring to meetings that were taking place in Washington D.C. with the Japanese ambassador.
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.
maintenance
Roosevelt is using "maintenance of peace" to mean the maintaining or keeping of peace.
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.
commence
Started or began are synonyms for commenced.
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.
ambassador
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.
colleague
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.
secretary
The Secretary of State is the member of a president's cabinet that is in charge of foreign affairs.
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.
formal
In this context formal means official.
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.
diplomatic
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.
negotiation
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.
record
In this context Roosevelt meant written down
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.
intervening
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.
deceive
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.
severe
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
damage
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
military
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
undertake
Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
offensive
Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
character
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.
onslaught
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.
premeditated
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.
invasion
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.
righteous
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.
absolute
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.
assert
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.
treachery
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.
hostility
A state of war is a synonym for hostilities in this context.
Hostilities exist.
grave
There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
confidence
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.
inevitable
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.
triumph
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.

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