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Pearl Harbor

" Roosevelt uses the words "I" and "declare" to invoke his singular power as president to proclaim that the nation is at war. The use of Ethos is integral to Roosevelt's ability to gain the support of Congress and the American people for his plan of retaliation.

As a world leader, Roosevelt's use of Ethos in his Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation is comparable in political significance to that of President Ronald Reagan's demand, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," made during his June 12, 1987, speech in Berlin that spurred the fall of Communism. Both presidents used Ethos in these speeches to remind their listeners of their personal leadership qualities and to reinforce American faith and commitment to facing a powerful international enemy on moral grounds.

Pathos is characterized by emotional or motivational appeals, vivid language, emotional language, and numerous sensory details. Roosevelt strikes a poignant cord of Pathos throughout this speech. That now-immortal opening line, calling the moment "a date which will live in infamy" immediately establishes the indisputable significance of the Pearl Harbor tragedy. December 7th continues to be an important symbolic date, memorialized each year since in honor of the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack and the milestone it still marks in American history. Each year, Roosevelt's line is quoted, invoking once more the infamy of that attack and reminding listeners that it happened "suddenly and deliberately."

Throughout his address, Roosevelt uses emotional and vivid language to describe the "severe damage" of the Japanese attack. He escalates his descriptions of the enemy, charging that the attack was "planned many days or even weeks ago" and that the United States was deceived with "false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace" on the other side. He emphasizes the sensation of being stabbed in the back, as Japan's diplomats continue...

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Pearl Harbor. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:34, July 21, 2017, from
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