Franklin D. Roosevelt’s War Message
In his address to Congress, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) speaks urgently and fluently about our need to act, or more specifically, our need to declare war on Japan. Roosevelt begins by complementing his audience and speaking very straight forward about what had happened. Utilizing some effective connotations, Roosevelt states, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Notice, “suddenly”, “deliberately” and “Empire didn’t necessarily need to be in that statement. These uses of connotation can also be seen as a means of expressing pathos, as to set the audience up and appeal to their emotions.
Further in the article, FDR brings back the idea of a victimized America, this time further emphasizing it. “The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused sever damage to American naval and military forces”, FDR explains. He does his best to stress how much of a victim we have become, again developing pathos. FDR then goes on to use some repetition as an appeal. “Last night Japanese forces attacked…Last night Japanese forces attacked…Last night Japanese forces attacked…” This repetition is obviously used as another rhetorical strategy meant to again appeal to emotion; it is at this point that FDR shifts to a more logical appeal. Explaining Japan’s unjust actions, FDR divulges, “Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.” Continuing, “The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.” Using a sort of a common sense approach, FDR logically explains that it is only logical that we view Japan as an enemy, or furthermore, that we should declare war.
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