Skip to main content

Timeline of Events

United States Declares War on Japan

US enters World War II —National Archives - Film

Transcript

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. 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 towards the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. 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. Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. 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 for the very life and safety of our nation. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God [applause]. 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.

December 8, 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks the US Congress to declare war on Japan following the previous day's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

In his speech to Congress, Roosevelt states: "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. ... 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 for the very life and safety of our nation. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God [applause]. 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."

Smoke billows from US ships hit during the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor.

Smoke billows from US ships hit during the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor. —National Archives and Records Administration, College Park

Related Topics