Franklin D Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech

Updated July 21, 2021

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Franklin D Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech essay

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Giving a speech is an incredibly hard task for most individuals. Now imagine standing at a podium, just hours after an attack that claimed many lives. A country with eyes looking to you, what do you say? Do you approach the crowd with words of encouragement or anger? What words do you even use? Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the responsibility December 8th 1941 to address the public, just a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. December 7th, 1941 according to Franklin Roosevelt, is, “… A date which will live in infamy”. This historical speech was used to push Congress into declaring war on the Japanese Empire. The sneaky and deliberate attack was a stepping stone to things such as the United States joining World War II and showing its nuclear bombing power to the world. This powerful speech has not only made history, but has given an example of effective communication. In Franklin Roosevelt’s Infamy speech one will find evidence of ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born January 30th, 1882 in New York to parents James and Sara Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s parents gave him an exceptional education, which he went from an esteemed preparatory school to graduating from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in history and in only 3 years. He then study law at Columbia University and took the bar exam, but left without a degree. Franklin Roosevelt accomplishments did not stop with his impressive educational background. The start of Franklin Roosevelt’s political career began with the election to New York Senate in 1910 and reelection in 1912, but it did not stop there. In 1913 Roosevelt was appointed assistant Secretary of the Navy and seven years later ran for the Democratic vice president.

However after losing the election to Warren Harding, Roosevelt returned to a somewhat normal life. In 1924, Franklin Roosevelt Made a return to politics and four years later was elected governor of New York which he serve two years and started his campaign for president of the United States. After being elected in 1932 he’s the only president to serve 4 terms as president of the United States. To add to an already impressive career Franklin Roosevelt gave the historical Infamy speech in 1941. From his educational background to his political career, Franklin D Roosevelt was one of the most qualified to give that speech a day after the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor.

Pathos is demonstrated when a writer appeals to the emotion of his or her audience. Franklin Roosevelt infamy speech clearly demonstrates emotion and a type of passion the audience needed to hear at that struggling time. The actual tone in his voice was more of a gloomy, somber tone which you would expect after such an attack that caused many lives to be lost. Roosevelt’s emotional appeal was very strong after the entire country was left to feel nothing other than anger and confusion. His emotion was matched words of motivation and encouragement to take action. In his speech Roosevelt may have used a somber tone, but words such as “unprovoked and desperately attack” proves he wants to see action come from this. Roosevelt’s tone and words that day, work together to create an emotion one could only give at the time of such sorrow and knowing action had to be taken.

Logos is defined as an appeal to logic and this is how we are persuaded. By the logic and facts we as the reader or audience member are presented with. Even though the speech was made only hours after this attack we have many factual points made in the speech. Roosevelt made it very clear that Pearl Harbor was not the only place to suffer an attack, in fact it was the last of seven made by the Japanese empire. In the infamy speech Franklin Roosevelt made sure everyone knew that along with Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippine Islands, Wake Island and Midway Island was also attacked. Which is a fact the general public may not have known. In his speech he also appeals to logic when he states “the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago”, and this is factual and persuaded the audience to agree on how deliberate the attack was.

Franklin Roosevelt also successfully appealed to the logical side of his audience. With this speech not only convincing the people of the United States, but Congress we needed to declare war on Japan. With this effective speech not only was war declared, but the vote at the House of Representative was 388 to 1 and a unanimous vote in the Senate,proving its effectiveness.Then after the success of his speech and the votes of approval, not even 5 months we made a raid on Tokyo. April 18th 1942, 16 B-25 bombers were launched at Tokyo giving a psychological victory painted by Roosevelt speech, even if the war was not yet won. Although, he did not get to see the outcome of this war, his speech was the fuel to the fire. Due to his speech that persuaded Congress to act fast, the future of the United States has dealt with a less devastating result.

What do you say to a nation that looks to you for guidance after being attacked? As a matter of fact when do you say what you have to say? Kairos was proven in this speech by the time he gave his speech and despite the tragedy created a perfect opportunity to lay groundwork for declaring war on Japan. The speech was an example of kairos because Franklin Roosevelt use the speech is a tool. Infamy was given after a horrific incident and given before a vote to attack the Japanese empire. Roosevelt somber tone was still giving a purpose, and was adamant about responding to the seven attacks done by the Japanese. However, with all the messages Franklin Roosevelt was trying to get across he was still able to show sympathy for all the lives lost and the surprise attack.

Despite all of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s personal accomplishments, his Infamy speech was an important part of history and was irreplaceable to start war against the Japanese. This speech was not only effective to persuade Congress and the United States, but contains strong examples of ethos pathos logos and kairos for a reader to analyze.

Franklin D Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech essay

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Franklin D Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech. (2021, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/franklin-d-roosevelts-infamy-speech/


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