My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit the page Planner's Thoughts at
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"A Day Which Will Live in World History"?

There is a post on the Legal Profession Blog, which shows a fascinating copy of the first draft of FDR's address to Congress following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, delivered 67 years ago. The document is either stored at or on loan to the National World War II Museum, located in New Orleans. FDR, in his own hand, changed the first sentence, from December 7, 1941 that will be "a day which will live in world history" to "a day which will live in infamy" -- a powerful change of wording. According to the National Archives website:
Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly and decisively dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United States rather than a thorough recitation of Japanese perfidies, as Secretary of State Cordell Hull had urged.

President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft—marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, "a date which will live in world history." Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places.
Again, thanks to the Legal Profession Blog for this wonderful piece of history.

No comments: