“Day of Infamy” Speech Summary, Text, & Analysis

February 19, 2023

4 min read

After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation in what is now known as his "Day of Infamy" speech. Check out our “Day of Infamy” speech summary, text, and analysis.

US entered WWII when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation in what is now known as his “Day of Infamy” speech. In this historic address, FDR not only declared war on Japan, but also rallied the American people with his stirring words and unwavering resolve. Below is a the iconic “Day of Infamy” Speech Summary, Text, & Analysis.

“Day of Infamy” Speech Summary

We ran FDR’s speech through Yoodli, the free AI powered speech coaching platform. You can get started at www.yoodli.ai and view results for FDR here.

  • FDR is present to declare the attack by Japan on the Hawaiian Islands on December 7th, 1941.
  • He shares that unprovoked attack has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces, and has resulted in the loss of many American lives.
  • He conveys that the United States will take measures to ensure their defense and make sure that such an attack never happens again.
  • FDR states that the people of the United States have the determination and confidence to gain the inevitable triumph.
  • FDR requests that Congress declare a state of war between the United States and the Japanese Empire, since Japan’s attack on the US.

Day of Infamy” Speech Text

The Yoodli AI-powered speech coach provides this “Day of Infamy” speech text:

"Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and 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, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one 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. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint 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 statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
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 Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise 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.

As Commander in Chief 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 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. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. 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."

Day of Infamy” Speech Analysis

FDR’s speech on the Pearl Harbor attack demonstrated exceptional speaking skills. He effectively conveyed a message of strength, resilience, and determination to the American people, while acknowledging the gravity of the situation and the sacrifices that lay ahead. We ran this address through Yoodli’s AI-powered speech coach, and got back an analysis on various aspects of word choice and delivery. You can view the full results here.

Word Choice

FDR’s word choice in his speech on Pearl Harbor was deliberate and powerful. He used emotive language and imagery to rally Americans for the war. Yoodli’s analysis reflects this, as it shows that FDR’s most frequently used keywords were “people” and “forces.”

FDR was sure to not use any filler words, as indicated by Yoodli’s analysis. Doing so conveyed a sense of confidence and strength, which was important in such a trying time for America.


In the Delivery category, Yoodli provides scores on Centering, Pacing, Pauses, and Eye Contact. FDR maintained an incredibly relaxed demeanor, speaking at an average pace of just 90 words per minute. This ensure his message was clear, and pronounced, important traits for someone declaring war.

Wrapping Up

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