"The sudden criminal attacks perpetrated by the Japanese in the Pacific provide the climax of a decade of international immorality.

"Powerful and resourceful gangsters have banded together to make war upon the whole human race. Their challenge has now been flung at the United States of America. The Japanese have treacherously violated the long-standing peace between us. Many American soldiers and sailors have been killed by enemy action. American ships have been sunk; American airplanes have been destroyed.

"The Congress and the people of the United States have accepted that challenge.

"Together with other free peoples, we are now fighting to maintain our right to live among our world neighbors in freedom and in common decency, without fear of assault.

"I have prepared the full record of our past relations with Japan, and it will be submitted to the Congress. It begins with the visit of Commodore Perry to Japan 88 years ago. It ends with the visit of two Japanese emissaries to the Secretary of State last Sunday, an hour after Japanese forces had loosed their bombs and machine guns against our flag, our forces, and our citizens....

"The course that Japan has followed for the past 10 years in Asia has paralleled the course of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and Africa. Today, it has become far more than a parallel. It is collaboration so well calculated that all the continents of the world, and all the oceans, are now considered by the Axis strategists as one gigantic battlefield.

In 1931, Japan invaded Manchukuo - without warning.

In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia - without warning.

In 1938, Hitler occupied Austria - without warning.

In 1939, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia - without warning.

Later in 1939, Hitler invaded Poland - without warning.

In 1940, Hitler invaded Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg - without warning.

In 1940, Italy attacked France and later Greece - without warning.

In 1941, the Axis Powers attacked Yugoslavia and Greece and they dominated the Balkans - without warning.

In 1941, Hitler invaded Russia - without warning.

And now Japan has attacked Malaya and Thailand - and the United States - without warning.

It is all of one pattern.

We are now in this war. We are all in it - all the way....


"A year and a half has elapsed since the fall of France, when the whole world first realized the mechanized might which the Axis nations had been building for so many years. America has used that year and a half to great advantage. Knowing that the attack might reach us in all to short a time, we immediately began greatly to increase our industrial strength and our capacity to meet the demands of modern warfare.

"Precious months were gained by sending vast quantities of our war material to the nations of the world still able to resist Axis aggression. Our policy rested on the fundamental truth that the defense of any country resisting Hitler or Japan was in the long run the defense of our own country. That policy has been justified. It has given us time, invaluable time, to build our American assembly lines of production.

"Assembly lines are now in operation. Others are being rushed to completion. A steady stream of tanks and planes, of guns and ships, of shells and equipment - that is what these 18 months have given us.

"But it is all only a beginning of what has to be done. We must be set to face a long war against crafty and powerful bandits. The attack at Pearl Harbor can be repeated at any one of many points in both oceans and along both our coast lines and against all the rest of the hemisphere.

"It will not only be a long war, it will be a hard war. That is the basis on which we now lay all our plans....

"In these past few years - and, most violently, in the past few days - we have learned a terrible lesson.

"It is our obligation to our dead - it is our sacred obligation to their children and our children - that we must never forget what we have learned.

"And what we all have learned is this:

"There is no such thing as security for any nation - nor any individual - in a world ruled by the principles of gangsterism.

"There is no such thing as impregnable defense against powerful aggressors who sneak up in the dark and strike without warning.

"We have learned that our ocean-girt hemisphere is not immune from severe attack - that we cannot measure our safety in terms of miles on any map....

"Your Government knows that for weeks Germany has been telling Japan that if Japan did not attack the United States, Japan would not share in dividing the spoils with Germany when peace came. She was promised by Germany that if she came in she would receive the complete and perpetual control of the whole of the Pacific area - and that means not only the Far East, not only all of the islands in the Pacific, but also a strangle hold on the west coast of North, Central, and South America.


"We all know that Germany and Japan are conducting their military and naval operations in accordance with a joint plan. That plan considers all peoples and nations which are not helping the Axis Powers as common enemies of each and every one of the Axis Powers.

"That is their simple and obvious grand strategy. That is why the American people must realize that it can be matched only with similar grand strategy. We must realize, for example, that Japanese successes against the United States in the Pacific are helpful to German operations in Libya; that any German success against the Caucasus is inevitably an assistance to Japan in her operations against the Dutch East Indies; that a German attack against Algiers or Morocco opens the way to a German attack against South America.

"On the other side of the picture, we must learn that guerilla warfare against the Germans in Serbia helps us; that a successful Russian offensive against the Germans helps us; and that British successes on land or sea in any part of the world strengthens our hands...."


Vol. V, p. 476



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Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Rick Pitz, HyperWar Foundation