8 December: Immediate aftermath

FDR before Congress, the day after . . . (Photo: National Archives.)

FDR before Congress (and a small crowd of radio microphones), the day after . . . (Photo: National Archives.)

PEARL HARBOUR: THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSES

Many Americans have hoped to avoid it, and enough Americans were said to embrace the prospect, but now the United States begins rounding into shape enough to respond to the Pearl Harbour attacks, the reality of the Axis, and the arduous path of international war.

Again, we seek not to judge retroactively but merely to listen and analyse in the context of its own time and place.

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Yesterday . ..  December 7, 1941 . . .” (CBS)

The network soon to be known as the Tiffany Network offers one compelling piece of evidence as to why. It covers, completely, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to a joint session of Congress, including his call for a formal declaration of war.

Roosevelt’s address is preceded by Albert Warner, reporting among other things the war resolutions expected to come forth after FDR is finished. And, by Park Simmons, who reports House Speaker Sam Rayburn preparing to present Roosevelt formally, with a brief synopsis of the Roosevelt Administration’s activity upon first news of the Japanese attack.

Those are followed by analysis from Warner, Simmons, and Eric Sevareid; and, remarks on the floor of the House, including from Reps. Joseph Martin (R-Massachussetts, one of the trio of opponents Roosevelt has often mocked in the rollicking taunt of “Martin, Barton, and Fish”) and Hamilton Fish (R-New York, who sometimes signed his correspondence with the jocular tailpiece, “of the law firm of Martin, Barton, and Fish”), former anti-interventionists who now proclaim war is inevitable and necessary, before the formal declaration.

“The Japanese,” Fish thunders, “have gone stark mad.”

 

Shirer and the Newspapers Speak (CBS)

William L. Shirer delivers a commentary on the ramifications of Pearl Harbour (“the militaristic clique has gambled all”) and inevitable war against Japan and the entire Axis.

The future author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich also observes a striking reported charge from isolationist U.S. Sen. Gerald Nye (R-North Dakota)—a co-founder of the America First Committee, who once chaired a committee examining the causes of World War I—that the British were to blame for the Japanese attack . . . a charge promptly flattened by a fellow isolationist, Sen. Burton K. Wheeler (D-Montana). (Both senators, it should be noted, would vote in favour of the declaration of war.)

Preceding Shirer are readings from the day’s editorial commentaries from several major American newspapers, including the New York Herald-Tribune, the Chicago American, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Record, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Dayton Daily News, the Des Moines Register, the Providence Journal-Bulletin (whose editorial suggests Emperor Hirohito was all but forced into war by the militaristic government), the Portland (ME) Press-Herald, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Charlotte Observer, the Palm Beach Post-Times, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Portland (OR) Journal; the Albuquerque Journal; the Colorado Springs Morning Gazette; the San Francisco Examiner; the San Francisco Chronicle (“politics is gone”); the Los Angeles Daily News; the Los Angeles Times (“the act of a mad dog”); the Hollywood Citizen News.

 

PEARL HARBOUR AFTERMATH: CONTINUING NEWS

“Reports of Iminent Attacks . . .” (BBC)—Wilfred Pickles on likely further Japanese attacks in the Far East.

NBC News with John Vandercook: “The Whole World Now Knows” (NBC)—Vandercook anchors a newscast describing Japanese blitzkrieg-like tactics and its claimed capture of Guam and Wake Island. Including: Earl Godwin reporting Rep. John Dingell’s (R-Michgan) planned demand for court-martials of top Pearl Harbour military commanders; Bert Silan in Manila’s first report on Japanese attacks in Manila; others. This report also includes a sponsor’s announcement that Alka-Seltzer and One-A-Day vitamins will suspend their commercial announcements on any of the day’s news programs they sponsor.

“Guam is in trouble . . .” (CBS)—From Manila, which the Japanese bombed contiguous to Pearl Harbour, Ford Wilkins reports Japanese attacks—actual or iminent—against Guam and Shanghai.

It has been a nerve-wracking and hectic day . . .” (NBC)—Bert Silan from Manila giving an on-the-button, followup report on the Japanese attacks against Manila (he had reported the attacks earlier); Upton Close from San Francisco—who is already controversial enough for his contemporary isolationism, after earlier years warning of growing Asian militarism, and who will earn a subsequent dismissal from NBC over harsh criticism of the conduct of the war—summarises the Pearl Harbour and Manila damage, the concurrent Japanese attacks on Midway Island, Guam, and Wake Island; and, NBC New York reports a dispatch from Los Angeles fearing possible Japanese carriers off the California shores, plus the news that Rep. Jeanette Rankin (R-Montana) cast the sole House vote against the declaration of war.

“As soon as I heard . . . my first feeling was . . .” (BBC)—British Prime Minister Winston Churchill mulling the immediate cost of the Pearl Harbour attack, a fast-called session of Parliament in response, and his telephone conversation with Roosevelt the night before FDR addresses Congress.

 

Further Channel Surfing: Pearl Harbour—The Day After

The Breakfast Club (variety; NBC)
Familiar Melodies (music; NBC)
The Goldbergs: Jake Expresses His Love for Molly (comedy/drama; CBS)
Lum & Abner: Lum’s Prune Bread (comedy; CBS)
The Story of Mary Marlin (serial; NBC)
Vic & Sade: The Bottom Buffet Drawer (comedy; NBC)

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