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first draft of infamy speech

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Well, teacher...*nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* hint


Thank you, Puzzaddled/Michelle. I have been remiss. ; ) I will look at some older ones now.


Hello again! Just a comment that I posted a note to you from me in one of your old puzzles. Michelle


Thank you, Puzzaddled/Michelle for sharing your husband's thoughts with me again. I truly appreciate it.

He mentioned that the draft of the speech was in reference to Japan, and, yes, it was. But when the US declared war on Japan, the very next day Germany declared war on the US, and the day, following that announcement, the US declared war on Germany. It was a quick transition from being attacked to then also being at war with Germany.

He mentioned that he might have been swayed by Hitler's promises of economic recovery -- minus the radical elements. What some do not realize, in the US, is that the New Deal, to bring us out of the Great Depression was in answer to just such a fear in this country, that those who were hungry, homeless, jobless could follow some radical who would stir them up in this country. And there were already some who had come to this country to "organize" the "workers."

It is a vast topic. And teaching US history in high school is a marathon race to cover quite a bit of history. I did not teach battle strategy, much to the dismay to some boys in class. I told them it was a topic best left to the military schools. More important was the "why." And we looked at both the first and second world wars through the terms: nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and the alliances. Too many students wanted to quickly say that WWI was because the Archduke was assassinated. So I drew a visual of a campfire, for the first world war, and the logs were the four terms. The "spark" that set it all off was the assassination, and only a spark, not the cause of the war. I went back to the visual, when teaching WWII, and added another "log" which was the Treaty of Versailles. How to teach so much in so little time is the real challenge, and the ability of HS students to grasp the concepts is another. It took me some time to come up with ways to teaching for understanding. Ways that were more relevant to them.

My drive to school was about an hour and 20 minutes each way. Lots of time to think about strategy. ; )


Roseheather, my husband agrees with you regarding your comments below. He replies:

"I didn't expand on the German situation since I focused my discussion on Japan, this speech being about the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a declaration of war on Japan, not Germany; the Germans, rather, declared war on the US afterwards.

FDR's speech has always moved me deeply and, in fact, I played it again for myself and my wife after expressing my views below. However, I feel that it was less a declaration of war than an acknowledgement of the fact that the US was already at war, declared or not, wanted or not.

In response to your comments about Germany: I will admit that, had I been a German citizen in the late 1920's, early 30's (and if you left his bizarre racial theories out), Hitler's promises to re-build Germany, stabilize the economy and provide work would have had great appeal. The Great Depression had less effect on Germany than most of the western world because their economy had been in a severe depression since prior to the end of the first World War. Certainly, post WW1, they suffered armed revolutions, lawlessness, food and housing shortages. The industrial part of their country was occupied by the French which made it impossible for the Germans to generate income to pay the war reparations that were inflicted upon them. To a desperate people, this crackpot (in my opinion, at least) might just have been mad enough to bring them what he promised. Their political leaders at the time certainly couldn't. However, I am certainly no fan of Hitler. (Mein Kampf was one of the very few books that I have found unreadable (after his description of his war experiences). I found his political ideas insane and his ability to write to be atrocious.)

On the other hand, I have to admire FDR as a leader who, in providing assistance to the allied cause before the US's direct involvement, showed courage to do the right thing. He risked political suicide at the time. FDR knew that most of his countrymen did not want to become involved in this war but he also knew that, despite what they wanted, they couldn't escape it. At the time, he chose to support the side that he thought was right as opposed to the might of the probable winner (Germany). The Germans had taken France out of the war, Britain was going broke and the Russians were losing ground rapidly to the German invasion.

The reasons that led to the 2nd World War are many and very complex and I would like to acknowledge that we have simplified them for the sake of this dialogue.

In the end, isolationism failed the US as it had failed Japan a century earlier. In a world where we can be anywhere in it within a day and in communication with most of it within a second, you will not be left out, willing or unwilling, by what is happening in the rest of the world. With world economies and multi-national corporations, everything big and small will have an effect on you.

I'd like to thank you for posting the draft of this speech. To see the notes and the changes shows that this was the work of a man who wanted to get things right. "

Roseheather, I'd like to add that my husband and I are very impressed with your thoughts and thoughtfulness. You sound as if you were the sort of teacher (and still are) that inspires students and broadens their abilities in critical thinking.

Sun Tzu (The Art of War) may have wanted to keep his friends close and his enemies closer but I would prefer that we didn't have enemies at all. Just have appreciation and understanding of our differences. Michelle


Puzzaddled shared some thoughts from her husband, and I wanted to comment on a couple of them.

Because the treaty was so harsh on Germany after the first world wide war they were in dire economic straits, and when the whole world was suffering from an economic depression in the 1930's the Germans especially were vulnerable to the promises and rants of a fanatical leader. The lesson was learned and the countries who had spun the world into yet another world wide war were not treated so harshly after WWII. The Marshall Plan, and aid to rebuild Japan as well, since the Marshall Plan was specifically for Europe, changed the way these countries were able to recover from the ravages of war.

When students wondered why we had to help rebuild Iraq, I suggested it was because we had "broken" it so to speak. They had infrastructure before 2003. But our planes, etc. had destroyed so much of their infrastructure. In addition, there were "strings" attached to aid to Europe and yet today in aid to other countries. They purchased goods from the US in the rebuilding effort, and the same is true today with much foreign aid. Help in rebuilding, or other foreign aid, should probably be called an extension of our national securiy.

Lyndon Johnson was sometimes crude in his conversation, but one point relates to foreign affairs between our country and others. Johnson said that he would rather have someone inside his tent p_ssing out, that the same person outside p_ssing into his tent. Someone else said that is was better to keep ones friends close, but to keep ones enemies even closer. Both relate to isolationism. If the tent is closed, or if the supposed enemies are held at bay, then it is more difficult to negotiate, and more difficult to avoid conflict. Another failure after the first world wide war was that the League of Nations, so important in Pres. Wilson's mind, was rejected my the US Senate. We didn't make the same mistake the second time with the United Nations.


Thank you, Bookish. I had no idea this would bring about such a nice exchange of thoughts.


Roseheather, thank you for posting this. I am so pleased to have come across your puzzle and have the opportunity to read/absorb all the comments.


Puzzaddled/Michelle, Thank you to you and your husband for his thoughts. I concur with him and appreciate his input in this discussion. I certainly hope that some others will join in, or come back, and see what has transpired here. Thank you, I really appreciate the time you, and your husband, took to share.


Thank you, puzzaddled, and Quinn_Eskimo for your comments. I really appreciate them.

Quinn_Eskimo, I have felt that time lines in rooms, or even in the halls at school, would be a boon to students learning what happened when and how long. I worked for one year at a high school as a special ed. aide and made a time-line for that room, it was one which was on-going as they were learning. Other students came into the room and commented that they didn't know ... whatever it was that the time-line was showing them. I wanted to do it, as well, when I was teaching full time, but just never enough time to accomplish that as well as keep up with assignments, and a whole host of other jobs.


Clarification: Just found out that jigidi doesn't permit use of quotation marks so wherever there is a question mark before and after in my husband's speech below, please substitute quotes. Also, I made at least one typo while he was dictating and I forgot an important word which I have put in caps here:

-- FDR for his actions and his leadership at what MUST have been the most distressing and disheartening time in his tenure as president

Thanks, Michelle


When I was younger I was surprised to learn that the period of time between the D-Day invasion and the total destruction of the Reich was on 10 months (June 6, 1944 - May 1945). The TV show Combat gave the impression it was more like 10 years.

The significant difference between WWII and Viet Nam, and again in Afghanistan was that President Bush (nor Johnson before him) didn't put us to full mobilization. Thus, these wars have no end -- until we tired of the never ending.


Rose, I have to let you know that I just read all these comments to my husband since I felt that they were important to share. While not a history teacher, his love of history and expertise on these two world wars surpasses many.

He had an emotional response (especially regarding Patsyannes' sharing this with her grandson) and wants to add in illustratration your points:

"Regrettably, Pearl Harbor is an example about learning from history. Conventional wisdom in naval circles of the time was that shallow water anchorages were safe from both submarine and aerial attacks. It was felt that aerial torpedoes, when dropped, would just go into the bottom of the harbor and not run to their target. This view was held by the US Navy and a large proportion of high ranking officers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The British Royal Navy, however, decided to attack the Italian fleet at Taranto in 1940. Taranto was an extremely shallow harbor (less deep than Pearl Harbor). The British successfully sank a number of Italian battleships and cruisers but were unsure of how successful they were as most of the Italian ships settled to the bottom with their decks above water. The Japanese however, were informed by their allies of how successful the attack actually was. It was at that point that the leaders of the Japanese navy dropped their objections to the attack (on Pearl Harbor) as they now felt they would be able to sink the US capitol ships with aerial torpedoes. (They felt that the aerial bombs that they had would damage but not destroy the ships.) That information was one of the major deciding factors to proceed with the attack as they now had evidence that they could succeed.

Isolationism, although a noble sounding concept, carries the cause of it's own destruction. By attempting to ?go it alone? you both weaken yourself and provide a more attractive target for any aggressor. Refusing to have any involvement in the rest of the world's problems means that decisions that will still affect your nation and trade will be made without any concern for your concerns! The rest of the world will still go on without you. It is human nature for those on the outside to build resentment against you, especially if they regard you as a ?have? and themselves as ?have nots?.

Both Germany and Japan felt this way toward the US and the British empire prior to the 2nd World War. Germany felt, and probably with some justification, that they had been ravaged by the allies after the first World War. The American isolationist policy of refusing to trade certain materials (particularly oil) with an agressive Japan caused Japan to be even more agressive in searching and attempting to obtain territories where they could get the raw materials they wanted and needed.

Japan came into the first world war partially because they had debt to repay to US banks who had loaned them money to so that they could finance the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese government, prior to US isolationist policies taking effect in the 1930's, had gone to US banks to obtain financing. When this avenue was cut off and they were financially sanctioned, it forced them to speed up their preparations for war while they could still afford to wage war. Japan went into the 2nd World War having to win it before they ran out of money and materials, making them even more desperate and determined.

The most poignant proof of isolationism's failure was the failure of the Sakoku policy. This was Japan's isolationist policy where they decided to cut themselves off from all foreign influence in Japan. (Sakoku means ?closed country?.) It even became illegal for non-Japanese to visit Japan or Japanese to leave and return; it was punishable, in both cases, by death. This policy lasted for 241 years. It ended in 1853 when the US Navy, with Matthew Perry at its helm, ?invaded? Japan with the object for forcing the Japanese to provide aid to foreigners , to have Japan be a coaling station (for the US Navy steamships) and to open trade with the US at very unfavorable terms to the Japanese. These demands were backed up by the guns of the war ships; the isolationist Japanese were forced at the point of a gun to join into western civilization. After this the European countries involved in the region forced a weak and isolated Japan into similar punitive trade treaties. To the Japanese, the US Navy became the most hated symbol in the world. The Imperial Japanese Navy was created with the eventual purpose to negate or destroy the power of the US Pacific Fleet. The US isolationists were turning their backs on a very powerful and resentful enemy who were not going to let the matter lie.

So isolationism led to a horrible military attack, and a tragic and emotional speech. It still upsets me emotionally every time I read or hear it and I wasn't even alive at the time. The words of a ill and ailing man who brought his country through a horrible depression and was now finding himself leading them into an even more horrible war. It is the speech of a man who didn't have a choice, the outside world had forced it upon him. I have always greatly admired and respected FDR for his actions and his leadership at what have been the most distressing and disheartening time in his tenure as president. It is doubly tragic that he died before he knew for certain that the faith that he had in his nation to prevail was assured. However, the Marshall Plan that his successors brought in, where the US did not turn its back upon former enemies and, in fact, helped them re-build after the war is to me a shining hope that the human race can make the right decisions so that we can all live together. As a Canadian, this and their desire to do the right thing are reasons I am proud of my neighbours to the south."


Wow. Thank you.


Thank you, puzzaddled, patsyanne44, ringleader, and gemstone. I have appreciated all that you have written.

Puzzaddled, in teaching US history, we did look at the war in Europe leading up to the US involvement. So students were aware that England and many other countries were already at war, and England was desperate for aid. We learned about Chamberlain, and events in Germany, etc. One of the teaching points was Roosevelt's speech to the nation about Lend Lease. And he used the analogy of lending your neighbor a garden hose if his house was on fire. We were already producing war material before December 7, 1941.

Yes, Gemstone, the US was isolationist, and I stressed to them that isolationism was not a reasonable stance to take, because we were involved in world-wide trade. So many here in the US think we should be isolationist again. Apparently they missed that day in school when our isolationist country was drawn into the first world wide war, ; ) and missed the day when we were attack at Pearl Harbor drawing us into the 2nd World War. That is my rationale for those who suggest being isolationist, or other silly situations we have been in before. We are supposed to LEARN from history so we don't repeat the same mistakes.

Also, Gemstone, Nixon was not impeached. The plans were in the works, and I told my students that he saw the writing on the wall, so he resigned. We did have an earlier president who was impeached. It was Andrew Johnson, the president after Lincoln. Impeach doesn't necessarily mean they are removed from office, it means that charges are brought. And the second president to be impeached was Clinton.

Ringlleader, I responded to your puzzle and then looked for this document. ; )

Patsyanne, you have made my day, that you are recommending this puzzle to your great grandson. ; ) One of the exercises that I required of my students was to interview someone about WWII. It didn't have to be a relative, it didn't have to be a soldier, and some interviewed their grandparents who were just children. The things that were shared varied greatly, and the shared items from grandparents who were children during the war were as interesting as the information they came back with from people who were adults during the war.

Gemstone, I will certainly look into that book. I may put a bug in my son's ear. He often gets books for me about history.


I would highly recommend the book, "A Man Called Intrepid", about Canadian Sir William Stephenson. Britain was so poorly prepared for war that Churchill asked Sir William to liaise through Canada with Roosevelt and Bill Donovan (OSS) to try to help the the American public was still somewhat "isolationist" in thinking. When Nixon was impeached it brought great shock...he being the first president to be impeached. However, Stephenson notes that without the "under the table help" that Roosevelt supplied, Britain would have gone under very early in the war. And if Congress had found out...Roosevelt would have been impeached.


I do remember so well sitting on the floor before what is now an old fashioned radio and hearing President Roosevelt announce that Pearl Harbor had been bombed and that America was at war. I put a picture of that radio on my profile page today. Thanks for this. I hadn't seen it before that I can remember.

I remember the day that speech was broadcast. As mentioned below, we Canadians were already at war but this brought it closer to home. I remember we had to black out our windows shortly after this because Japanese submarines had been spotted off the coast of Vancouver Island. I also remember both VE Day and VJ Day and all the sirens, mill whistles and vehicle horns in New Westminster blaring in celebration. My 14 yr. old great grandson knew little of this until we talked one night. I'm phoning him tonight to have him do this puzzle and read the comments. Thanks, Rose. for sharing.


A powerful document, Rose, thanks for posting it.

I appreciate teachers, like you, who try to help their students visualize and understand the scope of the topic. The lesson has a greater impact and is much more likely to be retained. I would be willing to bet that some of your students still remember this.

(To Britain, France, Canada and Poland, World War 2 started on 1 Sep 1939, with the invasion of Poland (war declared on the 3rd). By those terms, your new group of Freshmen would be Juniors. It does make you think, doesn't it?)


When I taught US history I wanted a way to impress on my students the time span of US involvement in WWII. I said that IF they were Freshmen in high school in 1941, the December 7 date would occur before Christmas that year. In their Sophomore year, 1942, the world and our nation were still at war. In 1943, when they were Juniors in high school, we were still at war. In their senior year, the war would end in Europe, on May 8, VE Day. But it was not until they were out of high school, and a new group of Freshmen were beginning high school, that the war ended in the Pacific with the signing of the papers aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, VJ Day.