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Lexile level: 1300L
Pearl Harbor:
From ‘Infamy’
to Friendship
Seventy-five years after the attack
on Pearl Harbor, a look at how the
U.S. and Japan went from wartime
enemies to the closest of allies
Additional Resources
Before Reading
List Vocabulary: Share with students
some of the challenging general and domain-
specific vocabulary for this article (see right).
Encourage them to use context to infer meanings
as they read.
Engage: Have students recall some pivotal
breached (p. 19)
militaristic (p. 19)
embargo (p. 19)
decisive (p. 20)
stagnation (p. 20)
pacifism (p. 21)
Print or project:
• Article Quiz (also appears on p. T10)
• ‘A Date Which Will Live in Infamy’ (primary
source; also appears on p. T15)
• Organizing Ideas (outlining; online only)
President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima
historic events of their lifetime (9/11, etc.).
Explain that for their great-grandparents, a defining
moment was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Analyze the Article
Read and Discuss: Ask students to read the Upfront article about the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s
evolving relationship with Japan since 1941. Review why the article is a secondary source. (It was written by someone
who didn’t personally experience or witness the events.) Then pose these critical-thinking questions:
T6 •
Based on the article, how did Japan justify its
Would you say that America was ready to enter
militaristic behavior in the decade leading up to
World War II in December 1941? Why or why not?
World War II? (Japan had been expanding into
(According to the article, before the attack on Pearl
neighboring territories like mainland China. Its leaders
Harbor, most Americans were ideologically opposed
argued that it needed oil and other resources from these
to entering the war. Additionally, the nation wasn’t
places, and that it had a right to dominate Asia because
militarily prepared for battle. Once the U.S. entered the
it was a regional power.)
war, Roosevelt took steps to boost the armed forces.)
What are some of the factors which may have
Japanese constitution that prohibited war, and let Japan
contributed to the current warm relationship between
retain its emperor as a figurehead. Later, the U.S. pledged
the U.S. and Japan? (The way the U.S. handled its
to defend Japan against threats from China and Russia,
occupation of Japan following the war may have helped the
and American consumers became leading purchasers of
two nations develop a warm relationship. For example, the
Japanese goods. Ties improved as the two nations became
U.S. brought in shiploads of food, helped write a new
more familiar with one another.)
Integrate the Primary Source: Project or distribute
the PDF ‘A Date Which Will Live in Infamy’ (p. T15), which features
FDR’s historic address to Congress following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Discuss what makes the text a primary source. (It’s a speech given in 1941
about events of that era.) Have students read the address and answer the
questions below (which appear on the PDF without answers).
In an early draft, Roosevelt called December 7 a “date
What rhetorical or persuasive devices does Roosevelt
which will live in world history.” Why do you think
employ? Are they effective? Explain. (Roosevelt uses
he changed “world history” to “infamy”? (“Infamy”
several effective persuasive elements in his address.
is being famous for negative reasons. Roosevelt probably
For example, he repeats the phrase “last night” for effect,
changed the wording to emphasize that the attack would not
emphasizing the numerous Japanese hostilities. He appeals
just be remembered; it would be remembered for its atrocity.)
to the intelligence of the American public when he says,
“The people of the United States . . . well understand the
With this speech, Roosevelt addressed both Congress
implications to the very life and safety of our nation.”)
and the millions of Americans who listened to the
address on the radio. How do you think he hoped each
Based on this address and the Upfront article,
audience would respond? (Roosevelt clearly hoped that
analyze the role that the element of surprise played
Congress would declare war on Japan. He most likely also
in the attack on Pearl Harbor. (In his speech, Roosevelt
sought to persuade everyday American citizens—especially
notes that Japan and the U.S. have been in recent
those with isolationist leanings—that war was now
communication and that there had been no hint of an
necessary and justified.)
attack. The Upfront article begins with an anecdote about
the attack that also emphasizes the unexpectedness of the
How would you describe the tone of the address?
bombing. Yet the article also notes that because of Japan’s
(The tone of the address might be described as bold,
aggression in the years prior to 1941, the bombing should
solemn, patriotic, or a call to action.)
not have come as a complete surprise.)
Extend & Assess
Writing Prompt
What do you think Motoatsu
Sakurai of New York’s Japan Society
means when he says that in the
past, “Americans didn’t know the
Japanese and the Japanese public
Classroom Debate
Does Japan rely too heavily on
the U.S. for military protection?
Literature Links
Pair this article and speech
with recommended readings
from the Japan Society on the
Quiz & Skills Page
relationship between Japan and the
Use the quiz on page T10. Have
U.S. during and after World War II.
didn’t know the U.S.”? How might
students practice outlining with
Visit for a list
one argue that this has changed?
Organizing Ideas (available online).
of books, films, and documents.
SE PT E M B E R 5, 20 1 6 • UP F R O NT M AGA Z IN E .CO M • PAG E 2 O F 2
S E P T E M B E R 5 , 2 0 1 6 • U P F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M • T7