Talk:Infamy Speech

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In listening to the audio of this speech at, I noted a number of small discrepancies between the recording and the written text presented here. I have taken the liberty of bringing the written text in conformity with the recording, so that it can be a more accurate representation of what was actually said by President Roosevelt. RandomCritic 00:06, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Comparisons with contemporary events[edit]

Comparisons with contemporary, highly charged political events, are both extraneous to the subject matter of this article and easily read as an attempt to insert a POV slant into the article. The slant can, depending on one's presuppositions, be read as pro- or anti- a particular political side; however, it cannot be plausibly read as neutral. An attempt to associate or contrast an American political figure with President Roosevelt must suggest either approval or condemnation to the reader. That is not the point of Wikipedia; more to the point, it is not the point of the article, which deals with Roosevelt's speech. The fact that it is sourced does not make it less POV or less irrelevant.

An attempt to describe how Roosevelt's speech has been referenced subsequent to it delivery is not off-topic, but the associations in the extracts removed below can hardly be shown to be direct references to the speech.

Nor was Roosevelt the last president to invoke this recurring theme in American politics. As commentators have pointed out, the same basic theme was re-used by President George W. Bush in his speech to the nation on September 11, 2001 following the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which he contrasted the "evil, despicable acts of terror" with the "brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity" that America represented. Following the attacks, there was (in the words of Richard Jackson) "a deliberate and sustained effort to discursively link September 11, 2001 to the attack on Pearl Harbor itself" — an indication of how Roosevelt's framing of the Pearl Harbor attack had become part of the fabric of American national recollection.[1]

The subject matter of this article is Roosevelt's speech, not general themes of the United States under attack. There is no indication in the above quote or reference that Roosevelt's speech is directly, explicitly, and unambiguously referred to in the speech of any other person. Lacking that, it is impossible to justify its inclusion in this article. Regardless of the intent in including this extraneous material, the fact that it is extraneous, and appears in the context of highly charged political debate in the United States, cannot but suggest to the average reader that the article is attempting to push a particular political point of view. Without considerable rewriting to avoid this perception, and citation of actual references to Roosevelt's speech as the focus of commentary, this material cannot be used in this article.

[urging the American people never to forget the attack and memorialize its date] in much the same way that "September 11" later became the universal shorthand for the terrorist attacks of 2001. [1]

This is hardly a relevant allusion to Roosevelt's speech; nothing in this comparison sheds any light on Roosevelt's use of the date, and indeed, there is absolutely no evidence offered of "December 7" being used "in much the same way that "September 11"" is. (To the best of my knowledge, the only popular shorthand for the attack on Oahu is Pearl Harbor.)

The material is therefore deleted. RandomCritic 02:55, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The comparison with September 11 is something that was made by numerous commentators and politicians; academics writing on how the "war on terror" has been portrayed have pointed out direct similarities between Bush's 9/11 speech and Roosevelt's infamy speech. I've added a citation for this. As for the use of "December 7" as popular shorthand, I'm afraid your knowledge is lacking - it most definitely was used this way in multiple media, with slogans such as "Avenge December 7" and "Remember December 7th" being used on famous wartime propaganda posters. You might not like the comparison with September 11, but it's verifiable and reliably sourced, therefore I've restored it to the article. Please don't delete it on the grounds of your own POV. -- ChrisO 20:56, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm afraid it's not reliably sourced -- a vague, impressionistic association of words does not demonstrably qualify as a reference. Not only is there no citation of the speech itself (failing WP:V) but, if there were, it would fail verifiability for the simple reason that there is no reference to Pearl Harbor in that speech. That is not POV; that is fact. Unverifiable material will be removed. RandomCritic 21:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Did you read what I wrote? Of course there is no explicit reference to Pearl Harbor - the contention (which you haven't addressed) is that academic commentators have noted similarities in the language and framing used. The statement "Silberstein draws direct parallels between the language used by Roosevelt and Bush, highlighting a number of similarities between the Infamy Speech and Bush's presidential address of September 11" is completely accurate and clearly referenced. The preceding line, "Roosevelt's basic theme was re-used by President George W. Bush in his speech to the nation on September 11, 2001, in which he contrasted the "evil, despicable acts of terror" with the "brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity" that America represented in his view" is derived from the observations of Richard Jackson's book, which is also referenced. I can reword it to attribute the observation directly to Jackson, but the point stands. You don't have to agree with what Silberstein and Jackson say, but you can't reasonably deny that they've said it. -- ChrisO 23:26, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Also, don't you think it would be a bit more productive to discuss content that you disagree with rather than reflexively deleting it? It might be helpful if you brushed up on Wikipedia:Etiquette before continuing this discussion. -- ChrisO 23:39, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


I read in the Cryptonomicon that there had been a mistake, and the message declaring the end to the piece had arrived a day after it was supposed to. Is this correct? Fissionfox 07:27, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

If you mean the Japanese declaration of war, yes - there was a communications problem between Tokyo and Washington, so the Japanese embassy in DC didn't learn of it until after the attack at Pearl Harbor had been carried out. -- ChrisO 08:47, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • What happened was that a message from the Japanese government arrived at the Japanese embassy in Washington D.C. However, the message was not correctly marked for immediate decryption and by the time the embassy got to it, it took too long to decode it. The message told the Japanese Ambassador to deliver it 30 minutes before the attack (although the message never mentioned any attacks, it just gave a time of day to deliver). The message was also not a declaration of war, it just said, as FDR said in his speech, that negotiations were ended. It is true that the US codebreakers actually read the message before the Japanese Ambassador and the remark was made, "This means war." The Japanese government had not even written a declaration of war until after hearing of the successful attack. Go here for the full explanation: Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor#Breaking_off_negotiations Fanra 02:28, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Full text of speech[edit]

I have twice deleted the full text of the speech, as Wikisource carries it and we have a very prominent link to Wikisource. Binksternet (talk) 08:49, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Summary and context[edit]

For the ignorant/non-American/me could we get a summary of the speech and the context in which it was given? --Danger (talk) 21:18, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b Richard Jackson, Writing the War on Terrorism: language, politics and counter-terrorism, p. 33. Manchester University Press, 2005