Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941: A Date That Will Live in Infamy

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Duration 01:01:13

Southern Methodist University

Jeffrey Engel is the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Haverford College, and taught history and public policy at Texas A&M University. He has authored/edited thirteen books on American foreign policy, most recently, When the World Seemed New: George H. Bush and the Surprisingly Peaceful End of the Cold War.



The Meaning Behind A Date That Will Live In Infamy 

It was a day that would live in infamy.  That part you already know, recalling President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vivid judgment of the Japanese Empire’s attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.  But there is more to the story than just a surprise assault followed by a speech.  The attack on Pearl Harbor culminated months of bitter and tense diplomacy, and even more importantly, ended debate on one of the most contentious and divisive issues in all of American history: the country’s potential intervention in World War II, and more broadly, its engagement with the wider world.  The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into the war, at least formally, but in truth the country was already a participant, and December 7, 1941, ultimately colored far more about America’s global role than just an immediate call to arms.  It was a day that would live on, beyond infamy, daily through to the 21st century.


Enjoyed A Day That Will Live In Infamy?

If you enjoyed our Day of Infamy Speech analysis, check out some of our other great videos at OneDayU, including ‘Movies That Represent American Culture’, ‘Strange Stories Of WW2& ‘Philip Roth & The American Pastoral’ all on-demand now.



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