Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Subscribe to Email Updates

Tag: Roosevelt

Records from the Day of Infamy

The National Archives holds many records that tell the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of that day, we’ve gathered links from across our blogs and on Tumblr to show you some of these moving documents that we hold in safekeeping.

Memo to the President

This memorandum was one of the first written damage assessments presented to the President.  In his own hand, Roosevelt indicated the date and time he received it.

“Day of Infamy” Speech

The drafts for this short speech show how Roosevelt crafted his request for a declaration of war.

Deck Logs

In our newest “Inside the Vaults” video short, staff at the National Archives talk about the deck logs from ships stationed at Pearl Harbor and the stories found in the entries for December 7, 1941.

Over at the Text Message blog, a student finds a family friend  in the deck logs he is processing.

Letters

Twenty-three sets of brothers died that day on the USS Arizona. William Wells was one of them. His service record was salvaged from the ship and treated by conservators at the National Archives.

Photographs

One photo is of Japanese carrier planes taking off for the attack; the other shows the wreckage-strewn Naval Air Station.

Maps

This 22- x 31-inch radar plot was made by Privates Joseph L. Lockard and George Elliot at the Opana … [ Read all ]

Crafting a Call to Arms: FDR’s Day of Infamy Speech

In the early afternoon of December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was just finishing lunch in his oval study on the second floor of the White House, preparing to work on his stamp album.

The phone rang, and he was informed that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, shortly before 1 p.m. Washington time, 8 a.m. Hawaii time.

“It was just the kind of unexpected thing the Japanese would do. At the very time they were discussing peace in the Pacific, they were plotting to overthrow it,” he remarked to his assistant.

For the rest of that afternoon, Roosevelt and his advisers were busy at the White House receiving fragmentary reports about the damage to U.S. installations, ships, and planes in Hawaii.

Security was increased around the White House, and plans were under way for a bomb shelter for the President underneath the nearby Treasury Department building. Across the nation, news of the attack spread by radio and word of mouth, and Americans began thinking about what life in a nation at war was going to be like.

A First Draft

Roosevelt decided to go before Congress the next day to report on the attack and ask for a declaration of war. In early evening, he called in his secretary, Grace Tully. “I’m going before Congress tomorrow, and I’d like to dictate my message,” … [ Read all ]

The Presidents are expecting you!

Did you know that the 13 Presidential libraries are part of the National Archives?

The National Archives is a nonpartisan agency, and we care for all the paper and digital records—as well as Presidential gifts and other items—that are part of the President’s legacy. These documents are preserved and made accessible at the 13 Presidential library and museums.

Before the Presidential libraries were created by Franklin Roosevelt, the papers of each President met varying fates at the end of each term. Papers were divided up, given to private collections, and even destroyed. 

In 1939, FDR donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government. He asked the National Archives to take custody of his papers and other historical materials and to administer his library. (For a full history of the creation of the Presidential libraries and how they operate, go to  this Prologue article)

The buildings, grounds, museum, and collections of each library are as different as the 13 Presidents whose records they preserve—and now you can commemorate your visit to each one with an official “Passport to the Presidential Libraries.”

Each page features facts, pictures, quotes, and a description of that President and his library. They are available at any Presidential library and at the Archives Shop in Washington, DC, for just $5!

You can go chronologically—start with President Hoover and end with President … [ Read all ]

The few, the proud, the letter-writers to the Marines

In 1943, you wrote a letter to President Roosevelt. In 2011, the National Archives  featured your letter on YouTube! How would you feel?

L. J. Weil feels pretty good, actually. “Wonderful!  It’s great to be honored this way,” he said when National Archives staff reached him at his home in Lousiana.

Weil’s letter to the President Roosevelt was sent in 1943, and 67 years later it was chosen to be featured as the demonstration model for the National Archives  new search engine.

What prompted Weil write to President Roosevelt? Weil was 10 when Pearl Harbor was bombed, an event he still clearly remembers. Two years later, it was 1943, and the United States was in midst of fighting World War II. Weil wanted to help.

He wrote to President Roosevelt, offering his services as a mascot. “I’m twelve years old and a little young to get into anything right now, but when I am a little older, well just you wait and see,” Weil wrote.

Weil did receive a reply but only received what he called a “brush off” from a Marine officer, who noted that there was no law about appointing official mascots. “The patriotic motive which prompted your office of service is appreciated, however, and hope that when you reach the required age of enlistment in the Marine Corps you will avail your self of the opportunity … [ Read all ]

New Deal faces old court

When the sweeping laws of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal were enacted, it did not take long for the laws to get challenged in the courts. From Social Security to a spate of other laws meant to revamp an economy deep within the Great Depression, the New Deal was not an easily won victory for Progressives, and sometimes not a victory at all.

On what has come to be called “Black Monday”–May 25, 1935–the Supreme Court unanimously ruled  on two cases that each struck down major portions of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first case to be ruled unconstitutional was the Frazier-Lemke Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, part of the New Deal designed to prevent debt-ridden farmers from losing their land. In a second ruling, the National Industrial Recovery Act, a major cornerstone of the New Deal, was struck down by a vote in the courts, ruling that the Legislative had given too much unchecked power to the Executive, and violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Roosevelt was having a bad day, but would not go down without a fight.

Roosevelt introduced the Judiciary Reorganization Bill in his first Fireside Chat following his reelection in 1936.  More New Deal laws had been declared in the interim, and by 1937, Roosevelt was ready to hit back. “We have,” Roosevelt spoke, “reached the point as a nation where … [ Read all ]