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Roosevelt: "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 (States) and the Japanese Empire."

The attack on Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December 1941, ("a day that will live in infamy" ), forced the United States into the war. (Full speech to Congress when Roosevelt declares war on Japan). Two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and a day after Roosevelt's speech to Congress, the President made a radio broadcast,on the 9th December, to the American people regarding the sneak attack.

Although ostensibly neutral, America had been supplying Britain with equipment through the "Lend - Lease" program. Everything from tanks to weapons, ships and food had been supplied to assist Britain in its valiant attempt to fight off the Nazis. American support was absolutely vital, since all the other European countries had fallen or capitulated, and Britain - alone - stood against Nazi Germany.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policy of helping Britain was not popular with the American public. To most politicians and the general public alike, the war was Europe's problem, and the Europeans were expected to address the situation alone. But Roosevelt, looking ahead, realized if all opposition fell against the Axis powers, America would be surrounded, and alone. The Axis powers would then turn their attention toward the United States in an evolving bid for world domination.

Even though the US Navy had been subject to a few isolated attacks - on one occasion more than 100 sailors were killed - American isolationism prevailed. It would take more than the distant death of a comparative handful of military men to incite the will of the American public to war.

At 8.00am on Sunday the 7th of December 1941, the attack came that not only incited but galvanized the American people, and so changed the shape of the war.

Admiral Yamamoto's fleet of 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser and 9 destroyers moved secretly across the Pacific and attacked the American naval port of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The plan, "Operation Z," was to destroy the US Pacific Fleet, thus leaving the Japanese unopposed in the Pacific. More than 4,500 Americans were killed or wounded in the unprovoked dawn attack, and it was enough to prompt the United States to officially declare war on the Japanese Empire. President Roosevelt, in addressing the United States Congress: "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."

But the attack did not cripple the US Pacific Fleet as intended. As luck would have it, four American aircraft carriers were out of port at the time of the attack. With the United States now entering the war, Churchill remarked (an observation later included in his book, regarding the Pearl Harbor attack): "I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and the thankful."

A couple of days later Hitler formally declared war on the United States, if for no other reason than that Nazi Germany held itself out as an ally of Japan. So the Untied States entered the Pacific and European theatres of World War Two.

There have been many questions raised about this event. Was the attack a surprise? Or was it a clever political move by the United States? The United States and Britain had both broken the secret Japanese communication codes - in particular, the Japanese Navy code JN25 - before 1941. In November of that year, a message sent from Tokyo to all Japanese embassies abroad had been intercepted and decoded by US Army Intelligence. It informed the embassies that if the words "East wind rain" were heard on the Japanese overseas service, it would signal an impending clash with the United States. Further, monitoring of the Japanese merchant fleet showed that prior to the attack, all vessels were heading for the safety of Japanese waters -- apparently to avoid the risk of capture when war was declared.

The British estimated that the entire Japanese merchant fleet would be within the safety of Japanese-controlled waters by the first week of December 1941. Another JN25 message from Admiral Yamamoto to his fleet, intercepted and decoded in the days before the attack: "Climb Nitakayama 1208." 12.08, of course, turned out to be the date of the attack, the 8th of December Tokyo time, 7th of December US time.

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For those visitors that have entered to this site, directly to this page, we would like to inform you that this page is part of a series of pages, within a section that acts as a backdrop to 'The Puzzle' project. 'The Puzzle' is a musical project that looks at different events from the 20th-21st Century.

This section is part of the 'World War II' zone. 'A Promise Of Peace' tells the story, in chronological order, of World War II.

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