Yesterday, December 7, 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
—President Franklin Roosevelt, December 8, 1941.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Commodore Matthew Perry opened long-slumbering Japan to world commerce. Nipponese leaders, realizing that European powers had occupied India, China, Africa, Australia, the Indies, and other areas surrounding Japan, began moving their country from feudalism to industrialism. Along with the move toward industrialism, Japan promoted its military tradition and sent its future army officers to Germany for training and its future naval leaders to England.
With help from U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, uncle of FDR, Japan was strong enough to defeat Russia in a short war ending in 1904. The U.S. Navy then started displaying its strength in Manila Bay, Guam, Hong Kong, and the Yangtze, thus alarming the Japanese already wary of the Dutch in the Indies, the British in China, and the French in IndoChina. When the U.S. seized the Philippines in 1898, Japanese leaders began casting America in the role of adversary.
Japanese warlords sent troops into Manchuria in 1931. Americans and Europeans who noted the event deplored it but took no action except to declare Japan “an outlaw nation.” Six years later Nipponese troops