Pearl Harbor and 9/11

A comparison of two significant attacks against Americans in recent history and the way the two presidents – Franklin Delano Roosevelt and George W. Bush – handled the situation.

This paper discusses how Roosevelt was President during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and Bush was President on September 11, 2001, when the terrorist organization al-Qaeda attacked New York City and Washington, D.C. It examines the historical events surrounding each attack and compares the policies used by each president to combat further attacks.
“There’s no doubt that both attacks came as a complete surprise to most people. Roosevelt called the attack on Pearl Harbor a day that would live in infamy, and the immediate circumstances surrounding the attack certainly supported that view. The attack made it impossible to not declare war on Japan, and since Japan had signed an agreement with the Axis Powers, this meant we were also at war with Germany and Italy. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the great majority of American realized we had experienced a terrorist attack, which made it unclear at first just whom we should declare war on. In some ways the 2001 attack was even more outrageous to Americans than the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. In 1941, Japan had chosen military targets. In 2001, al-Queda hit only one military target which resulted in a small minority of the casualties compared to the thousands of people who died in New York City when they attacked civilian targets. By September 15th, formal opinion in the government had formed that the terrorist group al-Queda was behind the attacks as they had claimed.”