from Real Clear Politics:
In late December of 1941, there was no way Americans could look into the future and foresee the blood, toll, tears, and sweat that would be required of them—nor the ultimate outcome of what few were then calling World War II. Yet in time, American children would be writing to Santa Claus and asking for war bonds.
On December 26, 1941, the United States was losing the new great world war. Nearly 3,000 Americans had died in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 19 days earlier, most of them servicemen in the Army and Navy. In the sunken USS Arizona, faint tapping through the hull had been heard for days, but there was no way to get to the doomed men.
One luckier sailor aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was also capsized, found himself trapped for nearly two days, hanging by a pipe in the blackness and cold water, the sounds of dying men all around him. Finally, he heard an acetylene torch cutting through the hull, all the time wondering if it was Americans there to save him — or Japanese to kill him.
Hundreds more were in military hospitals, many with limbs gone, all badly wounded.
Even more Americans were dying at Wake Island and in the Philippines and on the high seas of the North Atlantic, being hunted on the orders of Hitler. Japan was killing Americans and Germany was killing Americans, but the United States was still just getting off the mat.
Congress would later expand its draft of able-bodied young men. Most cities, especially Washington, D.C., had adopted a war footing. Curfews and air raid drills were instituted.
Back during World War I, an island of munitions in New Jersey known as “Black Tom” had been blown up by German espionage agents. President Franklin Roosevelt vowed to not let this happen again, much to the detriment of Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans who would be rounded up and incarcerated on the West Coast. Roosevelt was heard muttering, “Remember Black Tom.”