A Day of Infamy: Speech Analysis

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 592 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 592|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Rhetorical Analysis
  2. Impact and Legacy
  3. Conclusion

On December 7, 1941, the United States of America suffered a devastating surprise attack on its naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This event marked the entry of the United States into World War II and prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to deliver one of the most famous speeches in American history - the "Day of Infamy" speech. In this essay, I will analyze the rhetorical strategies used by President Roosevelt in his speech, and how these strategies effectively rallied the American people behind the war effort.

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Before delving into the analysis of the speech, it is imperative to understand the in which it was delivered. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a crippling blow to the United States, resulting in the loss of over 2,400 American lives and significant damage to the Pacific Fleet. The nation was in shock and disbelief, and there was a deep sense of anger and betrayal towards the Japanese forces responsible for the attack. President Roosevelt, in his role as the leader of the nation, had the daunting task of addressing the American people and galvanizing them for the war that lay ahead.

Rhetorical Analysis

President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech was delivered on December 8, 1941, in front of a joint session of Congress. The speech, which lasted just over seven minutes, was a masterful display of rhetoric and persuasion. Roosevelt began by immediately acknowledging the severity of the attack, declaring December 7th as "a date which will live in infamy." This choice of language was deliberate, as it evoked a sense of moral outrage and condemnation, effectively framing the attack as an egregious act of aggression.

Throughout the speech, Roosevelt employed the rhetorical device of parallelism to great effect. He repeated the phrase "very many American lives have been lost" to emphasize the human cost of the attack, and to convey the magnitude of the tragedy. By using parallel structure, Roosevelt's words were imbued with a sense of solemnity and gravity, which resonated deeply with the American people.

Another notable aspect of the speech was Roosevelt's careful construction of an us-versus-them narrative. He repeatedly referred to the United States and its allies as "we," creating a sense of unity and solidarity among the American people. Simultaneously, he portrayed the Japanese as treacherous and villainous, referring to their actions as "sneak attacks" and "dastardly deeds." This dichotomy served to bolster American patriotism and foster a strong sense of national identity.

Impact and Legacy

President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech had a profound impact on the American people and the course of World War II. In the immediate aftermath of the speech, there was an outpouring of support for the war effort, with thousands of young men enlisting in the armed forces. The speech also garnered widespread praise from both political leaders and the general public, solidifying Roosevelt's position as a strong and resolute leader.

The legacy of the "Day of Infamy" speech can still be felt today. It is often cited as a quintessential example of effective presidential rhetoric, and is studied in classrooms across the country. The speech serves as a reminder of the power of persuasive language in times of crisis, and continues to inspire generations of Americans.

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech stands as a testament to the enduring power of oratory. Through the skilled use of rhetoric, Roosevelt was able to unite a grieving and outraged nation, and propel them into a global conflict with unwavering resolve. The speech remains a cornerstone of American historical and political discourse, and its impact reverberates through the annals of time.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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A Day Of Infamy: Speech Analysis. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“A Day Of Infamy: Speech Analysis.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024,
A Day Of Infamy: Speech Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
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