FDR Museum Shares First Draft Of Historic ‘Day of Infamy’ Speech

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor with a surprise early morning offensive. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan in his historic Pearl Harbor address, where he described the date of the attack as one “which will live in infamy.” But he almost didn’t utter those famous words.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, is featuring “Day of Infamy: 24 Hours that Changed History,” an exhibit detailing the FDR’s reaction following the attack.

Through the end of the year, visitors will be able to experience what FDR went through hour-by-hour from the moment he first learned of the attack to his famous address to a joint session of Congress the next day. Included in the exhibit is a first draft of the historic speech with hand-written edits from Roosevelt himself — a rare document that curators say won’t be on display for at least another decade.

If you are able to, be sure to visit the exhibit in person. Otherwise, check out the first draft of the speech below, where Roosevelt declared December 7, 1941, to be “a date which will live in world history.”

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