Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor Speech Summary

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation is one of the best speeches in United States history. This address was delivered on December 8, 1941 in Washington D.C., a day after the orchestrated attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan. This persuasive speech was addressed to the members of Congress, but was broadcasted live over the radio to the entire country. There were two purposes for this address: “to urge Congress to formally declare war on Japan … and to rally the American people to support the war effort” (Dlugan, 2012). In order to persuade the nation, President Roosevelt knew that he had to have a great speech that spared no expense on the situation of the anticipated war. In his address, President …show more content…
President Roosevelt organized his speech into four main points. In his first point he tells the nation that the United States was just attacked by Japan, which is an act of war. In his second point, he tells the nation of the other attacks the Japanese empire have orchestrated in order to gain power over the Pacific Ocean. When President Roosevelt speaks about these attacks, he repetitively says “Japanese forces attacked…”. “Roosevelt’s use of repetition amplifies the message and draws more attention to the key words: ‘Japanese’ and ‘attacked’” (Dlugan, 2012). In his third point, he rallies the audience into believing that we will come out victorious, “so help us God” (Roosevelt, 1914). In his last point, he addresses Congress directly. “I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire” (Roosevelt, 1914). The whole reason President Roosevelt gave this address was in order to ask this last point. He put these points in this sequence in order to allow the information of what has happened at Pearl Harbor to be processed before asking his true intent. If you listen to the actual recording of President Roosevelt delivering the Pearl Harbor Address, you will notice that the only time people cheer or even make a noise during his speech is near the end. You can tell by the sheer silence that everyone cannot believe the events that just happened at Pearl Harbor. As he speaks his second and third point, he is rallying up the American people against the Japanese empire. Now that the American people want action, he asks for Congress to declare war on

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