(Asking for a Declaration of a State of War
 between the United States and Japan, December 8, 1941)

Yesterday, 7 December 1941-a date which will live in infamy-the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government had deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives were lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

(continued next column)


Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces-with the unbounded determination of our people-we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, 7 December, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Source: Pamphlet No. 4, PILLARS OF PEACE; Documents Pertaining To American Interest In Establishing A Lasting World Peace: January 1941-February 1946. Published by the Book Department, Army Information School, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., May 1943

To hear the actual Day of Infamy speech in mp3 format, click here (7.2 MB)

To see the ORIGINAL copy (with handwritten additions/deletions, click here



God Bless You, Phil Jacobsen

Mr. Phil Jacobsen, WWII code-breaker and regular contributor to our Pearl Harbor Attacked message board, was within two chapters of finishing a book on Navy cryptology when he passed away Aug. 22, 2006 at his home in Otay Mesa. He was 82.  Read on ...

By Jack Williams
August 31, 2006

Half a century removed from his code-breaking assignments of World War II, Phil Jacobsen began to lend historical perspective to the role of cryptology in military intelligence.

Combining his experience with research, he became a recognized authority on the topic. He shared his knowledge as a consultant on a “Secrets of War” television documentary and contributed articles to cryptology and history journals.

Much of his writing countered controversial charges that code-breaking provided U.S. officials with advance knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Jacobsen was within two chapters of finishing a book on Navy cryptology when he died on Aug. 22 at his home in Otay Mesa. He was 82.

The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed Aug. 1, his family said.

“Nothing gave him as much pleasure as writing and researching things Navy,” his son, Philip Hans Jacobsen, said.

Most of Mr. Jacobsen's cryptology projects came after he retired in 1992 as chief deputy tax collector for San Diego County, a post he held for more than a decade.

His research intensified after files on code-breaking in Washington, D.C., were declassified in the mid-1990s, his family said.

During 28 years in the Navy, Mr. Jacobsen rose from the enlisted ranks to lieutenant commander. He joined the Navy after graduating from high school at 17 in June 1941 and subsequently was selected for the OP-20-G intelligence group based in Washington, D.C.

Trained in Hawaii in Japanese naval radio communications, Mr. Jacobsen was assigned during the Battle of Midway to an intelligence monitoring station at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu.

Some of his subsequent writing explained how code-breaking – under the leadership of his superior officer, Capt. Joseph J. Rochefort – was instrumental in helping the U.S. forces win the pivotal battle.

During the past few years, his articles were published in the journals Cryptologia, Intelligence & National Security and Naval History.

Mr. Jacobsen was particularly critical of Robert Stinnett's 1999 book, “Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor.” He wrote a scathing review on

In the December 2004 edition of Intelligence & National Security, Mr. Jacobsen continued to hammer the theme: “These revisionist claims are fraught with a wide range of serious errors that render them baseless.”

The son of Danish immigrants, Philip Howard Jacobsen was born March 15, 1924, in Madera.

Early in his naval career, he volunteered for combat duty and was assigned to Guadalcanal. Attached to the 1st Marine Division, he did radio intelligence duty at a small intercept, analysis and reporting station.

In January 1945, while stationed in Imperial Beach, Mr. Jacobsen met Bessie Le Blanc, a Navy WAVE who had been assigned to the Naval Security Group. They were married six weeks later. It was the second marriage for Le Blanc, who lost her first husband earlier in the war.

After World War II, Mr. Jacobsen took on a variety of assignments around the world. One involved serving as an intelligence officer aboard the heavy cruiser Salem, flagship of the 6th Fleet.

His sea duty included one of the first voyages on the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus.

Mr. Jacobsen furthered his education in the Navy and became proficient in Japanese and Russian.

After leaving active duty in 1969, he finished work on a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

He went on to earn a law degree at the University of San Diego and embark on a law career, but his practice was short-lived.

He left San Diego to serve as assistant attorney general in Guam, where he was stationed during the war. In 2½ years on the island, he became attorney general.

Mr. Jacobsen returned to San Diego to accept a job with the county as a deputy tax collector. He was promoted to chief deputy tax collector under treasurer-tax collector Paul Boland.

He was active in such organizations as the Naval Intelligence Professionals, Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association and the Midway Round Table.

Survivors include his wife, Bessie; a daughter, Jeanne Lambdin of Silverdale, Wash.; and a son, Philip Hans Jacobsen of San Diego; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services were Tuesday at Humphrey Mortuary in Chula Vista, followed by interment at Greenwood Memorial Park.


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