As we all should know the facts and actions on how the United States got involved in World War 2, Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the start of it all in his speech “The Day of Infamy.” In this speech, Franklin D. Roosevelt had two purposes, first was to urge congress to declare war on Japan and second was to get the American people to support the war. An analysis of “The Day of Infamy” will show the style of diction, repetition, and how he communicates confidence to his audience in order to fulfill his purpose.
Franklin D. Roosevelt uses words that appeal to the peoples emotions. He starts out with the word “infamy” which is a very emotional given the circumstances. Infamy was a perfect word for the tone for the speech. Infamy is the state of being well known for some bad quality or deed and that is the way Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted America to see Japan. Franklin D. Roosevelt also uses words like deceive, offensive, and unprovoked to make the American people emotional and get them to see that the Japanese betrayed the United States. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tone of voice in his speech was slow and sad and his word choice fit perfectly for his purpose. By doing this, he can guarantee that more Americans will join his war effort. By presenting his speech in a some what calm tone and using emotional words made more of an effect because the American people in that time wanted to feel comforted and safe and this speech really made them feel safe. It gave me the understanding that no matter how long it took them they were going to guarantee that the United States would never be harmed like that again. And in that moment I feel like the American people were feeling powerful instead of defeated.
The repetition of the phrase “last night” is also a powerful factor that contributed to the successful speech. This amplifies the message and draws more attention to the two words that are most important which are “Japanese” and “attacked.” In this phrase, parallelism comes in. Franklin D. Roosevelt repeats the phrase “last night” four times, “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 then finishes that thought with “This morning the Japanese attacked midway island.” By doing this, Franklin D. Roosevelt is still appealing to his audience by using their emotions. He was basically trying to make the American people feel no mercy for Japan. He mentioned all those places to basically make them see that they deserve war and they deserve a retaliation. The way the American people felt made it fairly easy for Roosevelt to win congress and the people over. He did not only reach the men, he touched the heart of the women as well. Everyone was working hard to regain what was lost in the bombing. The way Franklin D. Roosevelt handled his speech was perfect. In my opinion Franklin D. Roosevelt was the best president of the United States due to the fact that he encouraged all those people to fight back and protect their country.
The use of encouragement in my opinion, was by far the best part of the speech. He encourages the American people by saying things like “no matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, will win through to absolute victory.” This gave the people pride and hope to fight back. “With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph,” was also a phrase that stood out to me because this shows how Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to get the people to join the war effort. He filled them up with pride and made them use that pride to feel sad and betrayed. With the pride of the American people, he was able to convince them very easily on what had to be done. Even though the people did not have to be convinced since they knew exactly what had happened.
Everyone was very emotional which made it rather easy for congress to officially declare war with Japan. It was obvious that was going to happen, but in order for our involvement in World War 2 to be a success, the American people would have to put their best effort into it. This was going to have to be about team work and dedication and that is exactly what it was. Franklin D. Roosevelt simply made them realize what they were already feeling. Franklin D. Roosevelt clarified everything to them. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tone was more hurt than angry which made a bigger impact on the American people. “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,” I really admired this part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech because this is showing the American people that he is with them. That he supports the war now that they have betrayed the United States and he showed them that he is one hundred percent on their side. He shares the same feelings they do and by using those words he is showing them that his word to declare war means a lot. In my opinion that gives the American people confidence and strength to have a President that will stand up for them.
Lastly, if you notice, Franklin D. Roosevelt started and ended with the date December 7th, 1941. And this basically showed his overall meaning of never forgetting what happened that day. He says it throughout his speech. By using all those emotional words like “infamy, lost, torpedoed, unprovoked, and dastardly,” he is basically putting in the American people that no matter what happens, the American people will never forget or they should never forget that awful day the lived in infamy. That the American people should never forget the American lives that died because of this betrayal. And even though Franklin D. Roosevelt did not say these words in his speech, it was what he was aiming for. This was his way of getting the American people to join the war effort instead of being scared.