Rhetorical Analysis Of Fdr's Pearl Harbor Speech

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Olivia Blanda
Professor Seo-young Park
English 102
16 February 2018
Rhetorical Strategies in FDR 's Pearl Harbor Address

"December 7th, 1941-a date which will live in infamy" are the famous words Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to describe one of the most damaging surprise attacks placed on the United States of America. On this day of heartbreak, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, killing over two thousand people and leaving several Americans terrified. The day after Japan attacked the U.S, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (one of the only presidents in history to be elected four times to office) delivered a speech to the nation, now known as FDR 's Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation. With the use of pathos,
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To first gain the audience 's trust, FDR, the President of the United States, uses ethos to assure the audience of his credibility. In the opening of his speech, FDR recognizes the audience of his speech: "Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives." Roosevelt recognizes his audience in the beginning to gain authority over them, early on. Everyone knows that FDR has been in office for numerous years which leads the audience to believe he is a credible speaker. If the speaker is your President, it makes it a lot easier for you to trust the speaker. FDR knew that if the audience gained trust in him, that they would be able to listen to him and believe him now. Not only does FDR start out his speech laying out his credibility, but he ends it letting the audience know who 's in charge. Towards the end of his speech, FDR states "As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense." In the beginning of his speech, he was letting the crowd know of his credibility, but here he is emphasizing that he is now in charge. The fact that FDR started and ended his speech in this way, shows how important credibility is to…show more content…
Not only does FDR convince the audience to retaliate by appealing to their emotions, but he also convinces the audience that retaliation is necessary by allowing the audience to see the logic behind the attack on Pearl Harbor. He states that "The United States was at peace with that nation and…was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific." This proving that the United States had not done anything to provoke this attack. Because the U.S. have done nothing to deserve this attack, FDR believes it is only logical to fight back. FDR wants the people of the United States to know that they do not deserve to be walked on. After FDR told the audience that we did nothing to provoke this attack, he then let the audience know that "Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong… Guam… Philippine Islands… Wake Island. And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island." The fact that Japan attacked seven different places in such a short amount of time, means that they are capable of attacking anyone at any time. FDR 's intention in announcing Japan 's multiple attacks was to have the audience think logically of how much danger they will be in if they do not act soon. Furthermore, FDR states that "There is no blinking at the fact that our, people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger," implying that the county must act
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