Franklin D Roosevelt’s infamy speech on Pearl Harbour bombing marks 75th Anniversary

Roosevelt is credited with coining the word Infamy in his historic Presidential speech to denounce Japan as news reached him in Oval Study that Japanese bombers had attacked Pearl harbour, killing over 3000 personnel and inflicting heavy damages to US Navy.

Franklin D Roosevelt’s infamy speech on Pearl Harbour bombing marks 75th Anniversary

The 75th anniversary of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt’s popular “Day of Infamy” speech, falls on December 7. Roosevelt is credited with coining the word Infamy in his historic Presidential speech to denounce Japan  as news reached him in Oval Study that  Japanese bombers had attacked Pearl harbour, killing over 3000 personnel and inflicting heavy damages to US Navy.

Roosevelt, in his adress to the  joint Congressional session said:



“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.”

Roosevelt’s invention of infamy became one of the crucial moment of World War II, described war chronicler and director of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum Paul M. Sparrow.


Roosevelt had in his mind coming up with an inspiring and emotional speech that would have everlasting impact on US citizens to go for an all-out war with Japan, says historians.

Roosevelt’s main adviser, Harry Hopkins, narrates the tension faced by the President as he proceeded to address the Congress.

“There was some discussion about the President’s message to Congress. The President expressed himself very strongly that he was going to submit a precise message. Hull urged very strongly that the President review the whole history of the Japanese relations in a strong document that might take a half an hour to read. The President objected.”


Roosevelt was completely on his own on that historic occasion as none of his speechwriters was available, and reportedly spent hours to prepare the historic speech.

Roosevelt’s speech is now considered one of the most powerful speeches ever made in U.S. It has been compared along with some of the all time speeches made in US like “Four score and seven years ago,” “I have a dream” and “ask not what your country can do for you.”