There is not much I can add to the narrative of the Pearl Harbor attack. So much haS already been written about it.
But something we didn’t get to hear a lot of, was the reactions of the ordinary US citizen after the attack. Following are some recordings of interviews of a few civilians either being interviewed in the street or directing their interview directly to the President.
Also included are parts of the transcripts of the inteRviews. I do apologize for some of the sound quality.
The difference of opinions are intriguing though.
“Man-on-the-Street”, Bloomington, Indiana, December 10, 1941″
“Paul Martin: This is Wednesday, December 10th, 1941. Last Sunday, December 7th, the United States
of America was attacked by armed forces of the Japanese Empire. The Radio Department of Indiana
University, in cooperation with the Library of Congress of the United States has arranged to record
some of the opinions of four people concerning the war at this point. They believe that these four
people represent a well-balanced cross-section of the citizenry at our disposal.
First, Mr. Merritt A. Calvert, a merchant. Mr. Calvert, could you tell us just as nearly as possible, what
your immediate mental reaction was when hearing of the bombing of Pearl Harbor?
Merritt A. Calvert: Well, Mr. Martin it seemed here in the Middle West, that we couldn’t quite realize
the . . . the greatness of this project that the Japs had started. We all felt that there was maybe
propaganda, newspaper talk. After all, when we heard of the bombing, the reaction we can hardly
express. Everyone in this locality and around the university with as many young people as we have,
was first depressed and then disgusted and now it seems that we are ready to do anything that is
necessary to stop this Japanese invasion.”….(click on link below for full interview)
“Man-on-the-Street,” Austin, Texas, December 9, 1941″
“John Henry Faulk: Mr. Jirosik, what do you think about Japan’s action last Sunday?
Joe Jirosik: I think they were all wrong.
John Henry Faulk: Well, for what reason? Do you think it was any justification whatever on the part of
Japan in making that attack?
Joe Jirosik: I don’t think there’s any.
John Henry Faulk: What do you think the United States should have done then?
Joe Jirosik: Declare war on them.
John Henry Faulk: In other words, you’re behind Roosevelt’s resolution?
Joe Jirosik: Hundred percent.”…..(click on link below for full interview)
“Dear Mr. President,” Nashville, Tennessee, January or February 1942″
“A. J. Steel: Dear Mr. President, this is A. J. Steel, a salesman from Nashville, Tennessee. Now that we
are at war we are very anxious to do our part for the defense of democracy. We’re anxious to serve
where we can do the most good. In my opinion, we can do this best by holding government positions
that our training fits us best for. There are many efficient Negroes who could do so much for their
country in these capacities. Such would not only help the United States directly, but indirectly as well
by showing the world that we have a democratic government with all of its people living together,
working together, and willing to die together if need be for the common good. Then we can truly
secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity.”…(click on link below for full interview)
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