Life During Wartime

Lessons of F.D.R.: Don't blame the wrong people and don't give up the routine

When we remember President Franklin D. Roosevelt's leadership after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we tend to think of the famous response that he carefully dictated to his secretary, punctuation included: "Yesterday comma December 7th comma 1941 dash a date which will live in infamy..." Yet the President's leadership was most sorely tested not on the Sunday of the surprise attack or the Monday he delivered his address but in the long, difficult days that followed. Then as now, America's sense of territorial invulnerability had been shattered. Rumors swirled: the Japanese were planning to bomb Los Angeles, were already bombing...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!