Part 3: Joint Session of the Congress, Monday, December 8, 1941 (Infamy Speech)
Editor's Note: The following content is a transcription of a period document or a collection of period statistics. It may be incomplete, inaccurate, or biased. The reader may not wish to take the content as factual.8 Dec 1941
ww2dbaseJOINT MEETING OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE
The Doorkeeper, Mr. Joseph J. Sinnott, announced the Vice President of the United States and the Members of the United States Senate.
The Senate, escorted by the Secretary, Edwin A. Halsey, and the Sergeant at Arms, Chesley W. Jurney, and preceded by the Vice President and the President pro tempore, entered the Chamber.
The Vice President took the chair at the right of the Speaker, and the Members of the Senate took the seats reserved for them.
The Doorkeeper also announced the Chief Justice of the United States and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.
The SPEAKER. On behalf of the House the Chair appoints the following committee to conduct the President into the Chamber: Messrs. McCormack, Doughton, and Martin of Massachusetts.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair appoints as members on the part of the Senate to conduct the President into the Chamber, the following members of the Senate: The Senator from Virginia [Mr. Glass], the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Barkley], and the Senator from Oregon [Mr. McNary].
The Doorkeeper announced the members of the Cabinet of the United States.
At 12 o'clock and 29 minutes p. m., the President of the United States, escorted by the committee of Senators and Representatives, entered the Hall of the House and stood at the Clerk's desk.
The SPEAKER. Senators and Representatives of the Seventy-seventh Congress, I have the distinguished honor of presenting the President of the United States.
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The address delivered by the President of the United States to the joint meeting of the two Houses of Congress held this day is as follows:
To the Congress of the United States:
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 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 toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, 1 hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to tie United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday 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.
As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
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.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces with the unbounded determination of our people we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT.
THE WHITE HOUSE, December 8, 1941.
Thereupon (at 12 o'clock and 39 minutes p. m.) the President of the United States retired from the Hall of the House.
The Speaker announced that the joint session was dissolved.
Thereupon the Vice President and the Members of the Senate, the members of the Cabinet, and the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court retired from the Chamber. ww2dbase
Yale Law School Avalon Project
C. Peter Chen
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal