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Thursday, September 29, 2016

FDR’s Response To Pearl Harbor: Economic Freedom As Vital National Security Policy

In the aftermath of the day which will live in infamy, President Roosevelt understood that ensuring human rights, particularly the right to economic wellbeing, was the only way to stave off extremism.

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 of the Empire of Japan…

The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. 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…

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…

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

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. –Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941

It was 70 years ago today that the myth of American invulnerability came to a sudden and dramatic end. On that day, wave after wave of Japanese bombers attacked the sleeping base at Pearl Harbor and in their destruction helped usher in a new era in American and world history.

Like virtually all other Americans, FDR was shocked and outraged at the events that occurred that Sunday morning. But in other respects, the events at Pearl Harbor confirmed what he and many of his advisors already knew about the state of the world in the mid-20th century: It was a much smaller place. In an “air age,” the distances across seemingly vast oceans had been dramatically reduced. If one looked at a map of the world from the perspective of the North Pole — as FDR was wont to do — the continents of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres seemed to almost touch one another.