December 8 - 1941 - The United States Declaration of War on Japan

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sunk multiple ships and killed over 2,000 people at the Naval Base on Oahu. As soon as it happened, it appeared that Japan had brought America into World War II. Yet America's formal declaration of war was so important and crucial that President Franklin Roosevelt went before a joint session of Congress to urge a declaration of war the next day. Roosevelt's speech, in which he famously said that the Japanese attack would make December 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy," built a case for America already being at war with Japan. After dealing with a significant isolationist movement in America and a disinterest in participating in a second World War, Roosevelt's urging was key. Immediately after his 7 minute speech, the Senate and the House took up the vote. The Senate unanimously voted for the Declaration of War by a margin of 82-0; the House voted for it by a margin of 388-1. Only the pacifist Jeannette Rankin refused to vote for the declaration. The entry of the United States of America would turn the tide of the war significantly, changing the shape of the conflict.

William Floyd