On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy” - just before 8 a.m. the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The news of the sneak attack was broadcast via radio bulletins.
There were no smart phone or web cam images streaking across cyberspace. A shocked nation had only verbal descriptions to rely upon for several days.
The following day President Roosevelt asked for and got a declaration of war.
“As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation 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,” he said..
Congress responded with only one no vote.
The no vote was by women’s suffragist Jeannette Rankin, who also voted against U.S. entry in World War I as a representative from Montana. She was at the time the first woman to serve in Congress.
She then ran for the Senate and lost, not returning to Congress until 1940.
In the interim she was a lobbyist for a number of causes in Washington and was the founding vice president of the ACLU.
On Dec. 11, Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the U.S. and Congress responded with its declaration of war on them, and so began a global conflict that remains hard for those of us who came afterward to truly comprehend the scope of.
Over the next three and a half years, an average of 27,000 military and civilian casualties worldwide were recorded daily.
LSN On-line Editor Jim Butler can be reached at email@example.com.