Pearl Harbor Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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Pearl Harbor Address December 7th, 1941. Most Americans today know that date to be significant because of the tragic events that took place at Pearl Harbor. War was ravaging across Europe all while the United States remained calm. That is, until Japan carried out a surprise attack on America’s beloved Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii was America’s little slice of paradise, and so many Americans became eager for revenge. This address took place a day after the events at Pearl Harbor, and was directed at all of America. It was given by none other than the president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Aristotle’s Rhetoric theory applies to this speech in a way that uproots the intended message which Roosevelt conveyed onto America. …show more content…
There is without a doubt a plethora of emotion coming from Roosevelt’s voice. In my opinion, the pathos in this speech is by far the most important persuading factor. He uses it time and time again and you can even measure the effect it has on the audience by their applause. The purpose of this speech was to provoke a military response from the Vice President and Congress, as well as to rally the American people to promote war effort. A portion of pathos that is significant in the speech is “anger vs mildness.” Given the nature of the Pearl Harbor attack, one might imagine Roosevelt’s tone would present anger. Right away, his tone was very serious. When someone talks in a clear serious manner, people will listen and more likely care about what is being said. Roosevelt begins talking about the premeditated attacks carried out by the Japanese, who were supposedly a friendly nation of the United States. This act of betrayal was likely to strike a chord within the hearts of Americans. It brought anger and disgust towards the Japanese. Roosevelt used many vivid and emotional words throughout the speech. The words “onslaught against us” and “unprovoked and dastardly” emphasize the ruthlessness of the attacks. They also tell us that the Japanese are dishonorable. He repeats the word “Japan” in many different forms. He refers to the people in charge of the attacks to be the “Japanese …show more content…
The logical approach was likely used to convince Congress and other United States government officials. He mentions that “the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned” (Roosevelt). This logical argument demonstrates that these attacks were planned in advance, and was not some sort of random attack by radicals. This helps convince Congress to act now, rather than later. Another instance when Roosevelt logically persuaded Congress were the lines “Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam […]” (Roosevelt). This repetition shows how big of an attack really took place, and that the Japanese would likely continue. Therefore, the answer of war would be needed urgently.
This speech given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a call to war for the entire nation. He needed an approval by Congress, and needed war efforts put forth by millions of Americans. With a serious, bone chilling tone, he used various forms of ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade his audience. Within minutes after the speech, the United States declared war on Japan, and many Americans went on to enlist in the ranks. This undoubtedly shows how effective his address was and why it was listed as one of the greatest American

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