Posted on December 3, 2020 · Posted in Roosevelt House General News

We invite you to attend – virtually

The Best of Roosevelt House

An online encore of public programs presented at
The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Hunter College

Roosevelt House Marks 79th Anniversary
of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

We are pleased to continue our series of encore online presentations of Roosevelt House public programming—to inform and inspire us during these challenging days.


In recent years, Roosevelt House has presented dozens of extraordinary, in-person talks and conversations with public policy and human rights experts, historians, writers, and leaders in business, culture, and government.

Now, recognizing that many of our members and supporters yearn to maintain their close connection to our agenda of civic engagement, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to re-examine programs you may have attended in the past, or to see such events for the first time.


To mark the anniversary of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, we present a pair of Roosevelt House programs from the archive that explore the legacy and lessons of the first attack in modern history by a foreign power on American soil—as well as its impact on the Roosevelt presidency.

One of FDR’s most iconic speeches—often referred to as the “Day of Infamy” speech—was delivered to Congress the following day, December 8, calling for a declaration of war. He was accompanied by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and their son James, whose job it was to support FDR on his way to the rostrum. The speech, broadcast at 12:30PM, reached a radio audience of tens of millions.

Afterwards, in her daily newspaper column, “My Day,” Eleanor Roosevelt compared attending the speech to the time Mrs. Woodrow Wilson accompanied her husband to the speech at which President Wilson called for a declaration of war against Germany and its allies in April 1917—when Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy:

At noon today, at the Capitol, I had a curious sense of repetition, for I remembered very vividly the description of the same gallery, when Mrs. Woodrow Wilson listened to President Wilson speak to the assembled members of Congress. Today she sat beside me, as the President spoke the words which branded a nation as having departed from the code of civilized people.


The first program we highlight, from November 2016 features Steve Twomey on Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack. He is joined in conversation by preeminent naval historian Craig Symonds, Professor Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy and author of The U.S. Navy: A Concise History.  The two explore the warnings, clues, missteps, and errors in judgment of the dramatic days immediately preceding the Japanese raid as well as the key figures on both sides of the conflict.

The second, from December 2014, just a few days from the 73rd anniversary, features journalist Nicholas Wapshott talking with the Ruth and Harold Newman Dean of Hunter’s School of Arts & Sciences Andrew Polsky about The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, The Isolationists, And The Road To World War II. Careful consideration is given to how FDR devised and doggedly pursued a strategy to sway the American people to abandon isolationism and take up the mantle of the world’s most powerful nation in battling fascism.

Please tune in below:

Watch Steve Twomey —
Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack

Watch Nicholas Wapshott —
The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, The Isolationists, And The Road To World War II

Dear Friend of Roosevelt House:

Thank you for attending our public programs in such great numbers during these fraught eight months of lockdown and social distancing. Since March, when the pandemic first struck New York and the house closed its doors, we have welcomed more than 10,000 attendees to Roosevelt House Zoom events. Our priority has been, and remains, assembling the best thinkers and authors we can bring before you, in both new and encore programming, to help us both to remember past crises and challenges, and navigate the challenges of the current crisis. Even though we very much miss welcoming you to Roosevelt House in person, we pledge to you that, as long as we must, we will continue featuring opportunities for civic engagement online.

To fulfill these goals we look to you, more than ever, for your crucially needed financial support. December 1 is “Giving Tuesday,” and we ask that you help us navigate these unprecedented times—and opportunities—by contributing to Roosevelt House so that our programming can continue robustly.


Many thanks—and thank you, as always, for your loyalty and generosity.

For information on all upcoming Hunter@Home events and to watch past events, visit