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

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.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. infamy
    evil fame or public reputation
    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.
  2. empire
    the domain ruled by an emperor or empress
    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.
  3. solicitation
    an entreaty addressed to someone of superior status
    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.
    Roosevelt is referring to meetings that were taking place in Washington D.C. with the Japanese ambassador.
  4. 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.
    Roosevelt is using "maintenance of peace" to mean the maintaining or keeping of peace.
  5. 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.
    Started or began are synonyms for commenced.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. secretary
    a person who is head of an administrative 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.
    The Secretary of State is the member of a president's cabinet that is in charge of foreign affairs.
  9. 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.
    In this context formal means official.
  10. diplomatic
    relating to negotiation between nations
    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.
  11. negotiation
    a discussion intended to produce an agreement
    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.
  12. record
    a compilation of known facts regarding something or someone
    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.
    In this context Roosevelt meant written down
  13. intervening
    occurring or falling between events 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.
  14. 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.
  15. severe
    very bad in degree or extent
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  16. damage
    loss of military equipment
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  17. military
    associated with members of the armed services
    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
  18. undertake
    enter upon an activity or enterprise
    Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  19. offensive
    the action of attacking an enemy
    Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
  20. character
    a property that defines the individual nature of something
    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.
  21. onslaught
    an offensive against an enemy
    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.
  22. 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.
  23. invasion
    marching aggressively into another's territory
    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.
  24. righteous
    morally justified
    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.
  25. absolute
    complete and without restriction or qualification
    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.
  26. 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.
  27. treachery
    an act of deliberate betrayal
    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.
  28. hostility
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    Hostilities exist.
    A state of war is a synonym for hostilities in this context.
  29. grave
    requiring serious thought
    There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
  30. confidence
    belief in yourself and your abilities
    With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.

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