FDR Declaration of War on Japan

On December 8, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his Declaration of War on Japan speech to Congress and the nation. How does his language great a sense of urgency to engage in this war? Listen to the speech.

How does his speech compare to Churchill's "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat"?
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. absolute
    perfect or complete or pure
    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.
  2. air force
    the airborne branch of a country's armed forces
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forc
  3. ambassador
    a diplomat of the highest rank
    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.
  4. America
    North America and South America and Central America
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  5. American
    of or relating to the United States of America or its people or language or culture
    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.
  6. area
    the extent of a two-dimensional surface within a boundary
    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  7. armed forces
    the military forces of a nation
    With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.
  8. Army
    the army of the United States of America
    As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
  9. assert
    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
    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.
  10. attack
    an offensive against an enemy
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  11. bombing
    an attack by dropping bombs
    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.
  12. character
    a property that defines the individual nature of something
    But always will our whole Nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
  13. colleague
    an associate that one works with
    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.
  14. commander
    an official who can give orders or control others
    As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
  15. commander in chief
    the officer who holds the supreme command
    As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
  16. commence
    set in motion, cause to start
    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.
  17. Congress
    the legislature of the United States government
    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.
  18. contain
    hold or have within
    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.
  19. damage
    the occurrence of a change for the worse
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  20. deceive
    cause someone to believe an untruth
    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.
  21. declare
    state emphatically and authoritatively
    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.
  22. defend
    protect against a challenge or attack
    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.
  23. determination
    the act of finding out the properties of something
    With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.
  24. exist
    have a presence
    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.
  25. extend
    stretch out over a distance, space, time, or scope
    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  26. formal
    in accord with established conventions and requirements
    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.
  27. government
    the system or form by which a community is ruled
    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.
  28. Guam
    the largest and southernmost island in the Marianas which is administered as a territory of the United States; it was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898
    Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
  29. Hawaii
    a state in the United States in the central Pacific on the Hawaiian Islands
    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.
  30. Hawaiian
    of or relating to or characteristic of the state or island of Hawaii or to the people or culture or language
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  31. Hawaiian Islands
    a group of volcanic and coral islands in the central Pacific
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  32. high sea
    the open seas of the world outside the territorial waters of any nation
    In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
  33. hint
    an indirect suggestion
    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.
  34. Hong Kong
    formerly a Crown Colony on the coast of southern China in Guangdong province; leased by China to Britain in 1842 and returned in 1997; one of the world's leading commercial centers
    Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
  35. Honolulu
    the capital and largest city of Hawaii
    In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
  36. hostility
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    Hostilities exist.
  37. House of Representatives
    the lower legislative assembly of the United States Congress
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  38. implication
    something that is inferred
    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.
  39. inevitable
    incapable of being avoided or prevented
    With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.
  40. interpret
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
    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.
  41. intervene
    be placed or located between other things
    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.
  42. intervening
    occurring between events, spaces, or points in time
    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.
  43. island
    a land mass that is surrounded by water
    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.
  44. Japan
    a constitutional monarchy occupying the Japanese Archipelago
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces
  45. Japanese
    of or relating to or characteristic of Japan or its people or their culture or language
    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.
  46. launch
    propel with force
    Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
  47. maintenance
    activity involved in keeping something in good working order
    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.
  48. Malaya
    a constitutional monarchy in southeastern Asia on Borneo and the Malay Peninsula; achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1957
    Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
  49. measure
    determine the dimensions of something or somebody
    As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
  50. message
    a communication that is written or spoken or signaled
    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.
  51. military
    the armed forces of a nation
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  52. military force
    a unit that is part of some military service
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  53. Nation
    United States prohibitionist who raided saloons and destroyed bottles of liquor with a hatchet (1846-1911)
    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.
  54. Navy
    the navy of the United States of America
    As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
  55. Oahu
    an island of central Hawaii ; the chief island of the state
    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.
  56. obvious
    easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind
    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.
  57. offensive
    unpleasant or disgusting especially to the senses
    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  58. onslaught
    an offensive against an enemy
    But always will our whole Nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
  59. Pacific
    relating to or bordering the Pacific Ocean
    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.
  60. Philippine Islands
    an archipelago in the southwestern Pacific including some 7000 islands
    Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
  61. premeditate
    consider, ponder, or plan beforehand
    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.
  62. premeditated
    characterized by deliberate purpose and a degree of planning
    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.
  63. President
    the person who holds the office of head of state of the United States government
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  64. recent
    of the immediate past or just previous to the present time
    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.
  65. record
    anything providing permanent evidence about past events
    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.
  66. regret
    feel sorry for; be contrite about
    I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost.
  67. representative
    serving to typify
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  68. San Francisco
    a port in western California near the Golden Gate that is one of the major industrial and transportation centers; it has one of the world's finest harbors; site of the Golden Gate Bridge
    In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
  69. sea
    a large body of salt water partially enclosed by land
    In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
  70. Secretary of State
    the position of the head of the State Department
    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.
  71. Senate
    the upper house of the United States Congress
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  72. severe
    unsparing and uncompromising in discipline or judgment
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  73. sought
    that is looked for
    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.
  74. Speaker
    the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  75. squadron
    a naval unit that is detached from the fleet
    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.
  76. state
    the way something is with respect to its main attributes
    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.
  77. Sunday
    first day of the week
    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.
  78. surprise
    come upon or take unawares
    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  79. territory
    a region marked off for administrative or other purposes
    There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
  80. threat
    declaration of an intention to inflict harm on another
    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.
  81. torpedo
    a long cylindrical self-propelled underwater projectile
    In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
  82. triumph
    a successful ending of a struggle or contest
    With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.
  83. undertake
    enter upon an activity or enterprise
    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  84. United States
    North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean; achieved independence in 1776
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  85. United States of America
    North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean; achieved independence in 1776
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  86. useless
    having no beneficial utility
    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.
  87. vice president
    an executive officer ranking immediately below a president
    Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
  88. victory
    a successful ending of a struggle or contest
    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.
  89. Wake
    an island in the western Pacific between Guam and Hawaii
    Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
  90. Wake Island
    an island in the western Pacific between Guam and Hawaii
    Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
Created on April 4, 2012 (updated April 8, 2012)

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