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President Sees Long, Hard War with Victory Assured

With the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor next Wednesday, we present an excerpt of a story that was printed on the front page of the Friday, December 12, 1941 edition of the Town and Country.  For many area residents, it was the first reporting of the Sunday, December 7 attack.

The USS Pennsylvania in a Pearl Harbor dry dock behind the destroyers USS Downes (left) and a capsized USS Cassin. The Battleship Pennsylvania lost 24 of its own crew members (17 Sailors, seven Marines) along with three additional seamen temporarily working on the vessel.  In addition, 38 were injured and 14 others listed as missing in action.  The battleship was one of the first to return fire at Pearl Harbor and survived the attack to serve four more years during WWII.  The smoke in the photo is coming from the sunken USS Arizona, docked behind the USS Pennsylvania.

                President Roosevelt Tuesday night assailed Japan's "sudden criminal attacks" as the climax of a decade of "international immorality" and declared confidently that America was going to win the war and the peace that follows.

                He asserted in a radio address to the people of his country that "we must begin the great task that is before us by abandoning once and for all the illusion that we can ever again isolate ourselves from the rest of humanity."

                Mr. Roosevelt said that America was in the way "All the way."

                He admitted that thus far the news had all been bad and that a serious setback had been suffered in Hawaii.

                Reports from Guam, Wake and Midway Islands, he said, "remained confused, ... but we must be prepared for the announcement that all these three outposts have been seized."

                But he rejected as a rumor originating with enemy sources Japanese claims that they had gained naval supremacy in the Pacific as a result of their Sunday attack on Hawaii.

                "This is an old trick of propaganda, which has been used innumerable times by the Nazis," the President said.  "The purposes of such fantastic claims are, of course, to spread fear and confusion among us and to goad us into revealing military information which our enemies are desperately anxious to obtain."

                He promised that facts would not be hidden from the country if the facts were known and if the enemy would not be helped by their disclosure.

                He warned the press and radio they had no right to "deal out unconfirmed reports" in such a way as to make people believe they were the truth.

                As he had suggested at a press conference earlier in the day, Mr. Roosevelt spoke of the vital need for greatly expanding America's industrial strength and capacity to meet the demands of modern warfare.

                This is to be done by stepping up the present production program, "by working on a seven-day week basis in every war industry, including the production of essential war materials," and by building new plants, enlarging old ones and using many small ones for war needs.

                Declaring he was about to say that sacrifices for all lay ahead, the Chief Executive said it was incorrect to use that word as the United States does not consider it a sacrifice to give one's best to the nation, fighting for existence and its future life.

                It is a privilege rather than a sacrifice, he said, for the people to pay more taxes, buy more bonds, forego extra profit and work longer or harder.

                The President said casualty lists for the first few days of the war with Japan would be large and that the families of these people would be advised as quickly as possible.

                He had insufficient information, he continued, to state the exact damage done to the Nation's fighting ships in Sunday's bombing of Pearl Harbor, although admittedly the "damage is serious."

                The Nation was warned that it would not only be a long war but also a hard one, and on this basis the Government was laying all its plans.

                He said that "we shall need and demand" money, materials, doubled and quadrupled production.

                Re-emphasizing his view that the Lend-Lease program must continue, Mr. Roosevelt said production must not be for our own forces alone, but to reinforce other armies, navies and sky fleets fighting Nazis and the warlords of Japan throughout the world.





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