we forget. On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the United States was attacked, without
warning, by elements of the Japanese Imperial Navy. |
Just before 8:00 a.m.
approximately 353 Japanese planes, in two separate waves, descended upon United
States military installations at Pearl
Harbor on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. They also bombed and strafed American
planes on the ground at Hickam Field.
The enemy planes were over their
targets for about two hours. When their bloody work was finished, over 2,400 people
were dead. Also, 188 planes had been destroyed and 8 battleships were damaged
When the USS Arizona was sunk 1,300 men went to the bottom
with her, entombed forever within the mangled steel hull. Over 70 of these men
were from Texas.
The United States Pacific
Fleet was crippled — but there was one good thing — half the American ships were
at sea, including the carriers.
Citizens in Gonzales
would read about the tragic event on Monday, December 8, 1941. The Gonzales
Inquirer headline was one and a half inches tall and the bold-faced type read:
“U.S. DECLARES WAR ON JAPS”
The following article is from the front page
of the December 8, 1941 issue. It is complete and unedited.
Inquirer • Monday, December 8, 1941 [Headline: President Roosevelt’s Message]
Following is the full text of President Roosevelt’s message to
a joint session of Congress, asking for a declaration of war against the Empire
Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:
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
after solicitation by Japan was still in conversation with its government and
its emperor, looking for the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
an hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island
of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered
to our 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 of war or of 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 statement
and expressions of hope for continued peace. The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian
island has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
regret to tell you that many American lives have been lost. In addition, American
ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and
Yesterday the Japanese government also launched an attack against
Malaya; last night Japanese forces attacked Hongkong. Last night Japanese forces
attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last
night the Japanese attacked Wake Island, and this morning the Japanese attacked
Japan has therefore undertaken a proposed offensive extending
throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today 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.
of the army and navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense,
but always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion,
the American people in their righteous might will win the absolute victory.
I believe that I am expressing the will of the Congress and of the people when
I said that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it
very terse that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
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 unbounding
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, 1941 a state of war has existed between the United
States and the Japanese Empire.
March 5, 2013 column
War II Chronicles
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