United States declaration of war on Japan

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President Roosevelt, wearing a black armband, signs the Declaration of War on Japan on December 8, 1941 Franklin Roosevelt signing declaration of war against Japan.jpg
President Roosevelt, wearing a black armband, signs the Declaration of War on Japan on December 8, 1941

On December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war (Pub.L.   77–328 , 55  Stat.   795) on the Empire of Japan in response to that country's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the prior day. It was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Japan had sent a message to the United States embassy in Washington earlier, but because of problems at the embassy in decoding the very long message the high-security level assigned to the declaration meant that only personnel with very high clearances could decode it, which slowed down the process it was not delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State until after the Pearl Harbor attack. Following the U.S. declaration, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals.

<i>United States Statutes at Large</i>

The United States Statutes at Large, commonly referred to as the Statutes at Large and abbreviated Stat., are an official record of Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the United States Congress. Each act and resolution of Congress is originally published as a slip law, which is classified as either public law or private law (Pvt.L.), and designated and numbered accordingly. At the end of a Congressional session, the statutes enacted during that session are compiled into bound books, known as "session law" publications. The session law publication for U.S. Federal statutes is called the United States Statutes at Large. In that publication, the public laws and private laws are numbered and organized in chronological order. U.S. Federal statutes are published in a three-part process, consisting of slip laws, session laws, and codification.

Contents

Background

The attack on Pearl Harbor took place before a declaration of war by Japan had been delivered to the United States. It was originally stipulated that the attack should not commence until thirty minutes after Japan had informed the US that it was withdrawing from further peace negotiations, [1] [2] but the attack began before the notice could be delivered. Tokyo transmitted the 5,000-word notification known as the "14-Part Message" in two blocks to the Japanese Embassy in Washington. However, because of the very secret nature of the message, it had to be decoded, translated and typed up by high embassy officials, who were unable to do these tasks in the available time. Hence, the ambassador did not deliver it until after the attack had begun. But even if it had been, the notification was worded so that it actually neither declared war nor severed diplomatic relations, so it was not a proper declaration of war as required by diplomatic traditions. [3]

Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States' formal entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Kichisaburō Nomura Japanese politician

Kichisaburō Nomura was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy and was the ambassador to the United States at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The United Kingdom declared war on Japan nine hours before the US did, partially due to Japanese attacks on the British colonies of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong; and partially due to Winston Churchill's promise to declare war "within the hour" of a Japanese attack on the United States. [4]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

On 8 December 1941, the government of the United Kingdom declared war on the Empire of Japan, following the Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden, was in transit to Moscow at the time, so Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in charge of the Foreign Office. The text of his letter to the Japanese Ambassador was as follows:

Sir,

On the evening of December 7th His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom learned that Japanese forces without previous warning either in the form of a declaration of war or of an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war had attempted a landing on the coast of Malaya and bombed Singapore and Hong Kong.

In view of these wanton acts of unprovoked aggression committed in flagrant violation of International Law and particularly of Article I of the Third Hague Convention relative to the opening of hostilities, to which both Japan and the United Kingdom are parties, His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo has been instructed to inform the Imperial Japanese Government in the name of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom that a state of war exists between our two countries.

I have the honour to be, with high consideration,

British Malaya set of states on Malay Peninsula and island of Singapore under British dominance from 18th to 20th centuries

The term "British Malaya" loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Unlike the term "British India", which excludes the Indian princely states, British Malaya is often used to refer to the Malay States under indirect British rule as well as the Straits Settlements that were under the sovereignty of the British Crown.

Vote and Presidential signature

President Roosevelt formally requested the declaration in his Infamy Speech, addressed to a joint session of Congress and the nation at 12:30 p.m. on December 8. [5] The declaration was quickly brought to a vote; it passed the Senate, and then passed the House at 1:10 p.m. [5] The vote was 82 0 in the Senate and 388 1 in the House. Jeannette Rankin, a pacifist and the first woman elected to Congress (in 1916), cast the only vote against the declaration, eliciting hisses from some of her peers. Several colleagues pressed her to change her vote to make the resolution unanimous—or at least to abstain—but she refused. [6] [7] "As a woman, I can't go to war," she said, "and I refuse to send anyone else." Nine other women held Congressional seats at the time. After the vote, reporters followed her into the Republican cloakroom, where she refused to make any comments and took refuge in a telephone booth until United States Capitol Police cleared the cloakroom. [8] Two days later, a similar war declaration against Germany and Italy came to vote; Rankin abstained. Nine other women voted in favor of the declaration of war.

Infamy Speech December 8, 1941 speech by FDR on the bombing of Pearl Harbor

The Infamy Speech was a speech delivered by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt to a Joint Session of the US Congress on December 8, 1941, one day after the Empire of Japan's attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the Japanese declaration of war on the United States and the British Empire. The name derives from the first line of the speech: Roosevelt describing the previous day as "a date which will live in infamy". The speech is also commonly referred to as the "Pearl Harbor Speech".

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.

Roosevelt signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m the same day. [5] The power to declare war is assigned exclusively to Congress in the United States Constitution, making it an open question whether his signature was technically necessary. [5] However, his signature was symbolically powerful and resolved any doubts.

War Powers Clause

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war, in the following wording:

United States Constitution Supreme law of the United States of America

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress ; the executive, consisting of the President ; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.

U.S. Congress Joint Resolution signed by President Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 at 4:10 p.m., Public Law 77-328, 55 STAT 795, which declared war on Japan. U.S. Congress Joint Resolution to Declare War on Japan.jpg
U.S. Congress Joint Resolution signed by President Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 at 4:10 p.m., Public Law 77-328, 55 STAT 795, which declared war on Japan.

Text of the declaration

JOINT RESOLUTION Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.

Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States. [9]

See also

Japanese declaration of war on the United States and the British Empire

The declaration of war by the Empire of Japan on the United States and the British Empire was published on December 8, 1941, after Japanese forces had executed an attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor and attacks on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The declaration of war was printed on the front page of all Japanese newspapers' evening editions on December 8. The document was subsequently printed again on the eighth day of each month throughout the war, to re-affirm the resolve for the war.

United States declaration of war upon Germany (1941) Declaration of war by the United States against Germany

On December 11, 1941, the United States Congress declared war upon Germany, hours after Germany declared war on the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan. The vote was 88–0 in the Senate and 393–0 in the House.

On December 11, 1941, in response to Italian declaration of war on the United States, four days following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and three days after the United States declaration of war on the Empire of Japan, the United States Congress passed the Joint Resolution Declaring That a State of War Exists Between The Government of Italy and the Government and the People of the United States and Making Provisions to Prosecute the Same, thereby declaring war against Italy. It also declared war upon Germany that same day.

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References

  1. Hixson, Walter L. (2003), The American Experience in World War II: The United States and the road to war in Europe, Taylor & Francis, p. 73, ISBN   978-0-415-94029-0
  2. Calvocoressi, Peter; Wint, Guy & Pritchard, John (1999) The Penguin History of the Second World War, London: Penguin. p.952
  3. Prange, Gordon W. (1982) At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor, Dillon. pp.424, 475, 493-94
  4. Staff (December 15, 1941) "The U.S. At War, The Last Stage" Time
  5. 1 2 3 4 Kluckhorn, Frank L.(December 9, 1941) "U.S. Declares War, Pacific Battle Widens" The New York Times p.A1. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  6. Staff (April 1, 2014) "Jeannette Rankin: Suffragist, Congresswoman, Pacifist" Women's History Matters
  7. Luckowski, Jean and Lopach, James (ndg) "A Chronology and Primary Sources for Teaching about Jeannette Rankin" Montana.gov
  8. "Miss Rankin Is Lone Dissenter in War Vote". The Milwaukee Sentinel. December 9, 1941. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  9. "Declaration of War with Japan" Retrieved 2010-15-7