Press/Journalists

National Archives Commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Press Release · Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Washington, DC

The National Archives commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the attack on  Pearl Harbor with programs and exhibits at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, TX, and the National Archives at Kansas City, MO.

Pearl Harbor Commemoration at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC

The programs and display are free and open to the public. The building is located on the National Mall and is fully accessible. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.  

  • Book Talk:  Countdown to Pearl Harbor: Twelve Days to the Attack, Wednesday, November 30, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Steve Twomey takes a fascinating look at the 12 days leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor—the warnings, clues, and missteps. Twomey unravels the crucial characters and moments and produces a dramatic account of America at this moment in its history. A book signing follows the program.
  • Book Talk:  Pearl Harbor: from Infamy to Greatness, Wednesday, December 7, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater, According to author Craig Nelson, the America we live in today was born, not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese suddenly and savagely attacked the United States, killing 2,403 men—and forced America’s entry into World War II. Pearl Harbor: from Infamy to Greatness follows the military personnel, diplomats, Emperor, and President as they engineer, fight, and react to this dramatic moment in world history. A book signing follows the program.
  • From the Vaults: How Americans First Learned of Pearl Harbor, Wednesday, December 7, at 2 PM, William G. McGowan Theater, Author Craig Nelson (Pearl Harbor: from Infamy to Greatness) introduces radio broadcasts, newsreels, and photographs illustrating how the media first informed and kept Americans apprised of the December 7th, 1941 attack.
  • Featured Display: 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor: “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”, Through January 4, 2017, East Rotunda Gallery, On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked a joint session of Congress for a declaration of war in response to Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On display is the U.S. Senate’s copy of President Roosevelt’s famous “Infamy” speech.

Pearl Harbor Commemoration at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

  • Book Talk:  Captain McCrea's War: The World War II Memoir of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Naval Aide and USS Iowa’s First Commanding Officer, Wednesday, December 7, at 3 p.m., Henry A. Wallace Center, Vice Admiral John L. McCrea worked with the president of the United States on difficult and unusual assignments, associated with royalty and world-famous political and military leaders, and commanded the USS Iowa and a task force in the Pacific. Over the years, many urged him to write a book, and before his passing he finally recorded his reminiscences. Captain McCrea’s War captures his amazing tales from the World War II years. Co-author Julia C. Tobey will speak and sign books, and the book will be available for sale.  This event is free and open to the public.  
  • Book Talk:  Defenseless Under the Night:  The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security, Wednesday, December 7, at 7 p.m., Henry A. Wallace Center, In Defenseless Under the Night, Matthew Dallek reveals the dramatic history behind America's first federal office of homeland security, tracing the debate about the origins of national vulnerability to the rise of fascist threats during the Roosevelt years. A book signing will follow the program, and the book will be available for sale.  This event is free and open to the public.
  • Exhibit: DAY OF INFAMY: 24 HOURS THAT CHANGED HISTORY, William J. vanden Heuvel Gallery, through December 31, 2016, "DAY OF INFAMY" takes visitors behind the scenes to glimpse FDR and his inner circle of advisers during the pivotal 24 hours that followed the Japanese assault, experiencing its drama and confusion as the situation unfolds. The exhibition starts at 1:47 pm (EST) on December 7, when FDR was informed of the attack. It concludes in the early afternoon of December 8, when he delivered his famous "Day of Infamy" address to a joint session of Congress and signed the declaration of war with Japan.  "DAY OF INFAMY" exhibit highlights include:
    • FDR's hand-amended first draft of his "Day of Infamy" speech. Rarely on public display, this is among a series of key documents featured that were seen, dictated, or written by the President and his military and civilian advisers.
    • Dramatic audiovisual programs, including film of the Pearl Harbor attack, interactive touchscreens with updates on the evolving military situation in the Pacific, and audio stations playing first-person testimony from key individuals with FDR on December 7.
    • A new digitally re-mastered, high definition film of FDR's entire 6 ½ minute "Day of Infamy" speech to Congress. Prepared by the National Archives Film Preservation Lab through a generous grant from AT&T.
    • "Remembering Pearl Harbor, 1941-2016." a multi-screen video program narrated by CBS news anchor Scott Pelley that explores how the memory of Pearl Harbor continues to exert influence on our defense, intelligence, and foreign policies.

Pearl Harbor Commemoration at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, TX

  • Exhibit:   PEARL HARBOR REMEMBERED, through January 1, 2017, Presidential Rotunda. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, men who would become future Presidents felt the call to take action. Many were already in military service and in the Reserves. Those who could, enlisted. Those who were in government found ways to engage in the war effort. The paths they chose would influence the course of their lives for years to come. Pearl Harbor Remembered includes digital images, documents, an interactive station and a video showing President Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech.

 Pearl Harbor Commemoration by the National Archives at Kansas City, MO

  • Special Program:   Before 9/11, there was a 12/7: Reflections of Doolittle Raider Dick Cole on WWII National World War I Museum and Memorial, Wednesday, December 7 at 6 pm.  Before 9/11, there was 12/7, and on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kansas City proudly welcomes Doolittle Raider veteran Lt. Col. Dick Cole, USAF (Ret.)with Park University Professor of English Dennis R. Okerstrom, author of the acclaimed book Dick Cole’s War. Join National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Matthew Naylor as he and our distinguished guests reflect upon the impact of Pearl Harbor and present meaning of WWII. This program is a partnership of Park University and the National World War I Museum and Memorial in collaboration with the National Archives at Kansas City, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum, and the Truman Center at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. For more information and to make a reservation, please see event description online.

Related online resources from the National Archives:

Teaching With Documents lesson plan: 'A Date Which Will Live in Infamy'

Prologue "Pieces of History" blog post: Crafting the "Day of Infamy" Speech

Video short: "Pearl Harbor: In Their Own Words"

Prologue Magazine article: "Remembering Pearl Harbor . . . 70 years later"

Today's Document feature : Radiogram reporting the Pearl Harbor attack

Finding Information on Personal Participation in World War II

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For press information contact the National Archives Public and Media Communications Staff at 202-357-5300.

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This page was last reviewed on November 22, 2016.
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