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2016-08-22 07:03:40

America declares war on Japan On Dec. President Franklin D. Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Congress' declaration of war signaled American entry into World War II. World War II had begun in Europe in September 1939, when Adolf Hitler's Germany had invaded its neighbor Poland. Within days, Britain and France had declared war on Germany, and after a series of brilliant German military campaigns, France was defeated in mid June 1940. In Europe, Britain remained the only sovereign nation still at war with Germany. In Asia, Japan had been fighting a war with the Chinese since 1931. Japanese brutality in the conflict, particularly in the 1937 38 conquest of Nanking, had led the United States and other Western powers to boycott the Japanese war machine. Japan found itself unable to acquire resources like metals, rubber and oil, and began to contemplate a plan to conquer regions that would allow the nation to enjoy economic self sufficiency. Roosevelt's position from the beginning was hostile toward Germany and Japan, and the United States actively sold war material and food to the British and the Chinese. When Britain could no longer afford to pay for these much needed items, Roosevelt developed a plan called Lend Lease, essentially allowing Britain to take what it needed now with payment to be negotiated later. When Hitler turned on his trading partner and invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the United States extended Lend Lease aid to Stalin's Russia. While Roosevelt perhaps understood the necessity of American involvement in World War II, if he genuinely wanted to declare war he simply could not. Constitution grants the power to declare war to the Congress, not the president. Though decades later, the president would be given more power to use the military without a congressional declaration of war, in 1941, Roosevelt had no such power. In fact, many Americans actively opposed the idea of American entry into World War II. Throughout the United States, societies began to spring up shortly after the war began in Europe. Drawing strength primarily from the Midwest, the largest isolationist group by far was the America First Committee, which boasted at its height around 800,000 members. Isolationists believed that the war in Europe was not America's fight, and that there was no reason why American boys should die once again on European battlefields. The movement boasted famed aviator Charles Lindbergh and businessman Henry Ford among its ranks. Still, Roosevelt desired to help nations battling Germany and Japan as best he could. When Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill off the coast of Newfoundland in August 1941, he assured the British prime minister that America would do everything in its power, short of war, to aid the British. Then, on the initially peaceful Sunday morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese struck. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor sunk or heavily damaged dozens of battleships and other capital ships, and 300 aircraft, most on the ground, were destroyed. More than 2,300 military servicemen were killed, and nearly 70 civilians. The attack had come without a declaration of war and in the midst of American/Japanese negotiations for a peaceful settlement in the Pacific. He had personally invited many people he had been at odds with in the past, like California Sen. Hiram Johnson, an isolationist who appeared to be wavering. In the book, Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor, historians Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon wrote: President opened by stating that 'this was the most serious meeting of the Cabinet that had taken place since 1861.' He continued, 'You all know what's happened. We don't know very much yet.' Someone asked, 'Mr. President, several of us have Ray Ban RB3475Q Sunglasses Purple Frame Blue Crystal Lens
Ray Ban RB3475Q Sunglasses Purple Frame Blue Crystal Lens just arrived by plane. We don know anything yet except a scare headline Attack Pearl Harbor. Could you tell us?' The President then related the story as he knew it. He then read to the assembled men his draft for the speech he would give to Congress the next day. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson urged Roosevelt to ask Congress for a declaration of war against Germany as well, believing that the Germans had had a hand in orchestrating the attack. Some of the other Cabinet members present disagreed. soon after the Japanese did. A declaration of war against Germany might be a hard sell to the American people, as there was no direct evidence of German complicity in the Pearl Harbor attack. In a few days, it seemed likely, Germany would declare war on the United States, relieving Roosevelt of trying to make a case against the European Axis power. When the congressional leadership arrived, they too had questions. Sen. Tom Connally of Texas asked the president, did they catch us with our pants down? Where were our patrols? They were all asleep! In a somber tone Roosevelt replied, don't know, Tom. I just don't know. After the meeting broke up, he had one last conference with journalist Edward R. Murrow, who had just returned from England, and William J. The men discussed the war in Europe and the American people's attitude toward war. In fact, the attitude of the American people was shifting dramatically with every passing hour since news of the attack hit home. In his book, biographer A. Scott Berg noted that Charles Lindbergh composed a press release for the America First Committee that read in part, country has been attacked by force of arms, and by force of arms we must retaliate. Indeed, the attack upon Pearl Harbor energized most Americans, who now feared further Japanese attacks, perhaps upon the West Coast, and who also desired revenge for the devastating, humiliating event. Americans around the country began to see a new purpose that same day, and isolationist sentiment seemed to vanish completely in a tide of righteous indignation. America was ready to go to war when Roosevelt gave his address to Congress on Dec. 8. In the book biographer Jean Edward Smith wrote: noon Monday, Roosevelt motored down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill, deliberately choosing an open car to demonstrate his confidence and resolve. In the second car rode Eleanor and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, whom FDR had asked to join the presidential party. When he entered the chamber, the Congress rose as one for a prolonged standing ovation. Roosevelt began his address by noting that December 7, 1941 was date which will live in infamy He mentioned that in addition to attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had attacked Malaya, Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippine Islands, Wake Island and Midway Island. He stated that American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. He concluded his address with, 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. Thirty three minutes later Congress voted, with only one dissension, to declare war upon Japan. Three days later, on Dec. 11, Germany and Italy, without any treaty obligations with Japan to do so, declared war upon the United States. Hitler believed that he could now target American ships carrying Lend Lease aid to Britain without fear of retaliation, because the United States Navy would have its hands full in the Pacific. In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war, the United States experienced a wave of racially based anti Japanese sentiment. Later that month, Life Magazine ran an article that was accompanied by photographs of Japanese and Chinese individuals, noting various facial features that made each race easily identifiable. My father, 8 years old at the time of the attack, told me that just down the street from his home in South Salt Lake lived an Asian gentleman. On Dec. 8, he hung a large banner in front of his house that stated in bold letters AM CHINESE. By February 1942, American fear and hysteria led to Japanese Americans being rounded up and sent to internment camps. The internment continued until early 1945. After a bitter war fought across the Pacific Ocean, Japan surrender to the Allies in September of that year.

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