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sexta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2015

This Day in 1941: Alemanha nazista declara guerra aos EUA ( NYT)


On Dec. 11, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

Front Page Image


Congress Acts Quickly as President Meets Hitler Challenge
Message Warns Nation Foes Aim to Enslave This Hemisphere
By Frank L. Kluckhohn 


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Washington, Dec. 11 --The United States declared war today on Germany and Italy, Japan's Axis partners. This nation acted swiftly after Germany formally declared war on us and Italy followed the German lead. Thus, President Roosevelt told Congress in his message, the long-known and the long-expected has taken place.

"The forces endeavoring to enslave the entire world now are moving toward this hemisphere," he said.

"Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization."

Delay, the President said, invites great danger. But he added:

"Rapid and united effort by all of the peoples of the world who are determined to remain free will insure a world victory of the forces of justice and righteousness over the forces of savagery and barbarism."

For the first time in its history the United States finds itself at war against powers in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Quick and Unanimous Answer

Congress acted not only rapidly but without a dissenting vote to meet the Axis challenge. Within two and three-quarters hours after the reading of Mr. Roosevelt's message was started in the Senate and House at 12:26 P. M., the President had signed the declarations against Germany and Italy. Seventy-two hours previously the Japanese attack on Hawaii had brought about the declaration of war against the other Axis partner.

Congress also quickly completed legislation to allow selectees and National Guardsmen to serve outside the Western Hemisphere and set the term of service in the nation's forces until six months after the termination of the war.

In the Senate the vote was 88 to 0 for war against Germany and 90 to 0 for war against Italy. The vote in the House was 393 to 0 for war against Germany and 399 to 0 for war against Italy. The larger Congressional vote against Italy was attributable to the fact that some members reached the floor too late to vote on the declaration against Germany.

In the House, Miss Jeanette Rankin, Republican, of Montana, who cast the lone dissenting vote on Monday against declaring war on Japan, today voted a non-committal "present" with regard to Germany and Italy.

Ignoring Hitler's declarations before the Reichstag today regarding American policy, and Mussolini's to a crowd before the Palazzo di Venezia in Rome, Congress adopted identical resolutions against Germany and Italy. It merely noted that their governments had thrust war upon the United States.

Grim Mood in Congress

Congress acted in a grim mood, but without excitement. Not only on the floors of the Senate and House, but in the galleries the grim mood prevailed. President Roosevelt, busy at the White House directing the battle and production effort as Commander in Chief, did not appear to read his message, as he did when war was declared upon Japan.

There was a deeply solemn undernote as the members assembled at noon. Senator Walsh, chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, had announced that the naval casualty lists resulting from the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor Sunday had arrived, and that families would be notified by the Navy Department as soon as possible.

Tonight the State Department called newspaper offices to announce that the Hungarian Government had broken off diplomatic relations with the United States. Notice was given to the United States Minister to Budapest at 8 P. M., Budapest time [2 P. M., Eastern standard time], by the Hungarian Prime Minister. The State Department's announcement said:

"The Hungarian Prime Minister at 8 P. M. informed the American Minister that in view of the solidarity of the Central European States, which he compared with the solidarity of the States of the Western Hemisphere, Hungary was obliged to break diplomatic relations with the United States. He said this was not with the intention of declaring war on this country."

The declarations against Germany and Italy pledged all the resources of United States, manpower, material and production "to bring the conflict to a successful termination." After signing that against Germany at 3:05 P. M., and that against Italy at 3:06 P. M., before the same group of congressional leaders who on Monday saw him sign the declaration against Japan, President Roosevelt remarked:

"I've always heard things came in threes. Here they are."

Senator Glass of Virginia, who was Secretary of the Treasury in the last World War, told Mr. Roosevelt that "some men in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wanted to soften the resolutions so as not to hurt the feelings of civilians in the Axis countries.

"I said, 'Hell, we not only want to hurt their feelings but we want to kill them,'" the Virginian remarked.

As a result of the sending of peace by Germany and the United States which has existed, at least formally, for twenty-three years, the United States is at war with Germany, Italy, Japan and Manchukuo and Hungary has suspended diplomatic relations.

Among the countries at war with one or all of the Axis powers are Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Soviet Union, China, the Netherlands Government and its East Indies possessions; the refugee governments of France, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Norway; and these others in the Western Hemisphere: Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Guatemala.

Announcement was made early in the day that the President would send a message to Congress. This was soon after Hans Thomsen, German charge d'affaires, delivered the Nazi dictator's declaration of war to the State Department at 8:15 A. M. and after the Italian declaration was delivered to George Wadsworth, American charge d'affaires in Rome.

Stephen Early, Presidential secretary, told reporters that "as expected," Germany had declared war and "Italy had goose-stepped along, apparently following orders."

After the declaration against Germany was voted the commotion in the House gallery was so great that Speaker Rayburn suspended proceedings until all the visitors who wished to depart had done so. About three-quarters of those in the galleries then left.

Viscount Halifax, the British Ambassador, sat in the front row of the Senate diplomatic gallery with Lady Halifax, Dr. A. Loudon, the Netherlands Minister, and Henrik de Kaufmann, the Danish Minister.

They saw the Senate vote the resolution for war against Germany in five minutes after the start of the President's message, time taken up largely with recording the vote. The House, with a larger roll-call, took twelve minutes to record its unanimous vote. Both houses acted in more leisurely fashion with regard to Italy. The Senate took another thirteen minutes, and the House completed action in another twenty minutes.

The signing ceremony was equally simple and rapid. Congressional leaders did not reach the White House until a minute after 3 P. M. Those present were Vice President Wallace, Senate Majority Leader Barkley, Chairman Connally of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Minority Leader McNary and Senators Austin and Glass. From the House came Speaker Rayburn, Majority Leader McCormick, Chairman Bloom of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Minority Leader Martin and Representatives Eaton of New Jersey and Luther Johnson of Texas.

Earlier in the day the President sent telegrams to Representative Martin, as chairman of the Republican National Committee, and to Edward J. Flynn, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, thanking them for the patriotic action of both major parties in eschewing partisan politics and thus promoting unity.

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