"Yesterday." The rich voice, the nuanced tones that captivated even through the tinny filter of a million radio sets. The voice a generation of Americans had grown to associate with authority, and compassion, and leadership.
"Yesterday, September 1, 1939- a date which will live in infamy- our brave allies in the Republic of Poland were suddenly and deliberately attacked by land and air forces of the German Reich.
"The United States and our allies were at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Germany, were still in consultation with the government and its Fuhrer looking towards a peaceful resolution of the Danzig issue and the maintenance of peace in Europe.
"Indeed, one hour after German infantry crossed the border, the German ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
"It will be recorded that the number of troops moving into Poland makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the German government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States and the Alliance by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"The attack yesterday on Poland has caused severe damage to Allied military forces. The lives of over a hundred American military advisors have already been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between London and the North Sea coast.
"Yesterday, the German government also launched an air raid against Strasbourg.
"Last night, German artillery attacked Colmar.
"Last night, German artillery attacked Mulhouse.
"Last night, the German navy attacked Allied shipping throughout the North Sea.
"Germany has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout Europe. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
"As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
"Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
"No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated attack, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
"I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
"Hostilities exist. Our brave Allies in France, Britain, and the Commonwealth have already declared war. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
"With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
"I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Germany on Friday, September 1, a state of war has existed between the United States and the German Reich."