December 7th 1941: Attack on Pearl Harbor

On this day in 1941, just before 8 am, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After decades of escalating tensions, primarily over Japanese aggression against China, and Japanese anger over American trade sanctions, the Japanese strike on America’s Pacific Fleet still came as a surprise. In a two hour assault, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes dropped bombs and torpedoes which killed around 2,400 American soldiers and sailors, while 20 naval vessels and 200 planes were destroyed. In contrast, the Japanese suffered just 64 fatalities. The Pearl Harbor attacks were part of a larger, co-ordinated assault against American territories in Guam and the Philippines, and parts of the British Empire. While the strike certainly damaged the Pacific Fleet, vitally important aircraft carriers were spared as they were away from the base, and shipyards remained intact, allowing for swift rebuilding. The next day, following a powerful speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan. The legislature passed the war measure with only one dissenting vote, cast by pacifist Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana. America’s declaration of war was immediately followed by further declarations by Japan’s Axis allies Germany and Italy against the United States. Two years in, despite initial isolationist neutrality, America was now involved in the Second World War. The entrance of the United States into the war marked a pivotal turning point in one of the bloodiest wars in human history, as the full might of the American military joined the Allied cause against the forces of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and imperial Japan.

“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Congress


Before 1939 no reigning British Monarch had ever set foot on American soil since America’s Independence in 1776. But that all changed when King George VI (the one that stutterer and has that movie kings speech made about him) was invited by FDR to visit. In hopes to win over the sympathy and support of the American people towards the UK for the inevitable war ahead. And it work Americans welcomed the royal couple heartily and came from all over to just get a glimpse of them. 

So I just wanted to draw the reserved slightly shy royal couple being unconformable and overwhelmed with the the american presidential overly friendly family’s big personalities.

So President Teddy Roosevelt gave away Eleanor at her wedding but he also stole all her attention (not intentionally I don’t think). It was so bad that the only attention the couple could seem to get was when they gave Teddy a slice of their wedding cake or when he finally left the party all together. Which miffed FDR, while Eleanor didn't mind because she was use to being pushed in the background at that point in her life.

In all honestly I just wanted to try drawing young  Roosevelts 


“Your Dad has told me that you are a stamp collector and I thought you might like to have these stamps to add to your collection.”

Letter from President Franklin Roosevelt to nine year old Bobby Kennedy on July 12, 1935

“I am going to frame your letter and I am going to keep it always in my room.”

Reply to President Roosevelt from Bobby Kennedy on July 19, 1935

[via Zinn Education Project]:

On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Korematsu v. United States that the denial of civil liberties based on race and national origin was legal. Fred Korematsu (Jan. 30, 1919 – Mar. 30, 2005), a U.S. citizen and the son of Japanese immigrants, had refused to evacuate when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Korematsu was arrested, convicted, and sent to the Topaz Internment Camp in Utah. Korematsu unsuccessfully sued the U.S. government for violating his constitutional rights.

Learn more from: (1) Tracked in America website: (2) Unsung Heroes lesson for middle and high school: (3) Of Civil Rights and Wrongs: The Fred Korematsu Story: (4) More stories of protest of the internment in the film Conscience and the Constitution:

Image courtesy of Karen Korematsu and the Korematsu Institute


February 19th 1942: Japanese internment

On this day in 1942 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Japanese-Americans were considered a national threat due the attack on Pearl Harbour which prompted the US to join World War Two. Other groups were also detained, but it was Japanese-Americans who were mostly targeted, with 120,000 being held in camps. In Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the executive order. Those interned suffered great material and personal losses, with most losing a lot of property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of sentries. The victims and their families eventually received an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the 1990s.


Today is the Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans Interned During WWII

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 granting the War Department broad powers to create military exclusion areas. Although the order did not identify any particular group, in practice it was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent.

Although there were no reliable reports that Japanese-Americans on the United States West Coast presented a subversive threat, on March 2, 1942 the military declared California, Oregon and Washington State strategic areas from which Americans of Japanese decent were to be excluded.

More than 110,000 Japanese-Americans (64% of whom were American-born citizens) were required to abandon their homes and jobs and to live in 10 relocation camps.

The United States Supreme Court finally ruled that continued detention without cause was unconstitutional, and the military relocation order was rescinded in December 1944.


Japanese Americans near trains during Relocation. Circa 1942.

Baggage check during Japanese Relocation. Circa 1942.

Exclusion order posted at First and Front Streets in San Francisco directing removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the first section of the city to be affected by evacuation. Evacuees will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration., ca. 07/1942.

Photograph of Dust Storm at Manzanar War Relocation Authority Center, 07/03/1942.

-from the FDR Library