Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor speech, as written by Barack Obama

To the Congress of the United States

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in international relations - the United States of America was suddenly and unexpectedly visited 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 the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced activities in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed complicated to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of workplace violence.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the activity was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to communicate with the United States, despite our nation’s provincial inability to understand or respect Japanese culture and its expressions of hope for continued peace.

The workplace violence yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused some bad feelings among our naval and military forces. Allegedly, some American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships may have been inconvenienced on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also initiated workplace violence in Malaya and several other locations.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise workplace offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already come to understand our culpability in these matters and now seek to understand what happened.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken to understand why we have angered the Japanese and determine how to best make amends.

Always will we remember the character of the superior, peace-loving Asians.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this alleged instigation of workplace violence, the American people in their righteous shame will win through to absolute understanding of how to better our relations with The Empire of Japan.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only better ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of justifiable outrage from Japan shall never trouble us again.

Mistakes were made. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests have much to apologize for.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable betterment of ourselves as we shed the shameful, false belief of “American exceptionalism.”

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unfortunate incident at Pearl Harbor, a new era of understanding will commence between the United States and the Japanese empire. I am, therefore, asking Congress to appropriate the sum of one hundred billion dollars to jump-start this effort.

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