We waited far too long, but with Japan's attack
we joined the war. And once engaged we didn't lack
resolve or spirit, and our wartime industries
ensured both Europe and Pacific victories.
America responded slowly, we were unprepared
for war, and Roosevelt waited far too long. Japan declared
its villainous intentions with an unforeseen attack.
In Germany, the "Blitzkrieg" and an egomaniac
anticipated victory. Japan, less confident,
relied on fast invasions and a populace content
to die for country -- though Americans had failed to see
the threat. When war began, our national economy
would boldly lead the way. Our allies - Britain, Russia, France -
got tanks from us, and fuel and electronic goods. Their chance
for victory derived from our resourceful industry.
The Axis powers - Germany, Japan, and Italy -
were evil, dictatorial, unable to compete
with our productiveness. Unfortunately, the defeat
of Adolf Hitler and avoidance of the Holocaust
might well have happened early on, if we had helped. The cost
was great on dual fronts, the Europe and Pacific Wars.
Japan, engaged in other South Pacific corridors -
Malaysia and the Philippines - had swept uncertainty
from all Americans. "A day to live in infamy,"
said FDR. The Arizona lost a thousand men,
and now enlistments - black and Japanese-American
included - overwhelmed the military. People lied
about their age to go to war! All classes nationwide
had come to fight -- the wealthy, movie stars, celebrities.
Two battles raged: in Europe we were facing Germany's
attacks against our ships. To battle back we struck by air,
and this, along with Hitler's push in Russia, took a share
of German forces that might otherwise have won the war
in the Atlantic! Our inventive people furthermore
reversed the flow with sonar, radar, new technology.
And now began initiatives restoring liberty
to people of the world, with Ike against the "Desert Fox"
in Africa, defeating Rommel's bold, unorthodox
techniques with air and naval military strategy.
And Sicily was freed by Patton and Montgomery,
and "Hail America!" arose from the Italian streets.
With our economy producing for continued feats
of valor, it was D-Day - Normandy - "The Longest Day."
The great campaign for liberating France was underway
at last, with thousands drowning or machine-gunned on the beach,
but others with the freedom of the world within their reach.
Bataan Peninsula, a march to death,
eleven-thousand U.S. men. The breadth
of the assault, the inhumanity,
was equal to the Nazis. Certainty
of Japanese attacks on U.S. soil
demanded special measures. We recoil
from mention of internment, Japanese-
Americans imprisoned to appease
an anxious public, but in retrospect
it seems a fair precaution to protect
our safety. Payback would be coming soon,
with Jimmy Doolittle. His own "High Noon"
was "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,"
which shocked the enemy. His cameo
appearance ushered in "The Miracle
at Midway," probably the critical
event, as bombing raids on Japanese
command allowed Americans to seize
momentum. Iwo Jima - bloody fight -
and Okinawa followed, and the sight
of Kamikaze runs occurring here
made Truman's atom bomb decision clear.