A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

Objectives

Students will:

  • Use President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio address following the attack on Pearl Harbor as a primary source to understand American reaction following the attacks.
  • Synthesize knowledge from all lesson plans to understand how different Americans reacted to FDR's call for war.

Resources / Materials

Background

The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, President Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation listened via radio. Congress responded with a unanimous vote in support of the war. Later that day, President Roosevelt signed a Declaration of War.

Classroom Activities

1. Distribute a copy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech. Read the speech and ask the students to follow along. If possible, try to obtain either video footage or an audio clip of this speech to allow students to gain a first-hand experience of the speech’s impact.

2. Discuss the power of language and Roosevelt’s use of strong words to enhance the power of his speech. Ask students to locate examples in the speech of techniques for enhancing a speech, such as the use of repetition, emotionally charged words, appeal to self preservation, and the assurance of moral superiority.

3. Divide the class into three groups and assign them to be civilians, Navy personnel, or Congress to understand the impact of Pearl Harbor on different groups of Americans. The Student Worksheet: Reaction to War will help them understand their roles. Students will then get together as a class and discuss the impact of Pearl Harbor on their group.

4. Ask the class how the attack on Pearl Harbor is viewed today? Does this event help your understanding of the recent attacks in New York City, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania?

Museum Visit

Upon your visit to the Navy Museum, you and your students will be able to listen to segments of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's address to the nation in the "In Harms Way: The Navy in World War II".


Return to Pearl Harbor Lesson Plan Main Page